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The big positive for the fishing at the weekend is the warm weather that is forecast. Water temperatures have been on the low side since the season started and a rise in temperatures will increase trout activity and that of the creatures they prey on. River levels rose earlier in the week and with some snow still on the hills, the water will fall slowly but most waters should be fishable for the weekend.
Mayflies should put in an appearance in greater numbers and trout do not turn up the opportunity to feed on them. The most likely time of day for this to happen is from noon to midafternoon although the Mataura can be the exception to this rule with some flies hatching from midmorning.
I crossed several small streams during the week and all of them were close to being fishable. It is the larger rivers that will take time to fall.
However, the biggest river, the Clutha, is rarely unfishable due to coloured water and that is especially true in its upper reaches. Coincidentally, it is usually warmer than smaller streams. Its main drawbacks from the fishing point of view are the rapid rises and falls in level due to power generation. Trout will stop rising if the river rises rapidly and when it is high it is difficult to access places that otherwise would provide good fishing. I have had good fishing to sedge hatches on the upper river over Labour Weekend in years past, regardless of river height. The good thing about sedge fishing is that it is at its best from dusk and on into darkness so it is easier to fit in with family activities.
If I had to pick somewhere to fish this weekend, it would be between the Pomahaka and the Mataura, as they offer good mayfly activity and have a good head of trout.
My river fishing has been restricted so far this season due to river conditions, with only half a day on the Taieri until this week. I have fished more often but it has been on still waters although I prefer rivers in the spring.
Murray and I set out to catch some river trout this week trying three different rivers. The first was a small tributary of the Pomahaka. Things did not look good from the start. A gale was blowing straight downstream and it was very cold. Even though the water was clear, I only saw two fish, one of which I caught blind in a deep hole after two hours of battling the wind.
We decided to move to the main river where the wind was not quite so bad. I saw more fish there, three, and again only caught one. There were quite a few mayflies hatching but I saw no rises but the river is not far from good fishing order.
We made another move to the Waipahi where it was still windy and I only saw one fish in about a kilometre of river. Visibility was not good, due to the wind, so my fishing was blind. I fished some good water from which I have caught lots of fish over the years but touched nothing. On a positive note the fish that I did see took my hare's ear nymph first cast. Roll on the weekend.