Graeme Marshall Report for Reel Life March 2109
South Canterbury Report
Right: Terry Marshall spin fishing the Rangitata River.
It would be nice to report that the region had received some significant rain since the last report. Sadly, this is not the case with just a few tantalising ‘dribbles’ to provide anglers with some hope. Fortunately, the mainstay trout stream of the region, the Opihi River, is benefitting from a healthy Lake Opuha. Without the lake the Opihi would be a very sad case indeed.
The salmon season ends in this region at the end of the month and while far from a bumper season, a handful of really dedicated anglers have actually done quite well. I know one regular who had landed eight for the season by the middle of the month.
My forays have been few and far between this season and can easily be counted on the fingers of two hands. I’ve had a couple of close encounters but have not had a salmon to the bank as I write with just one week to go.
Instead I’ve been concentrating on some pretty good trout fishing in the Opihi and have also enjoyed one successful morning at the Tekapo canal when I landed a lovely six kilo or so rainbow (pictured left). I was actually going to release this fish but it was so spent after a strong fight that I could not revive it. A heap of fillets ended up in my deep freeze. We enjoyed a superb meal of trout dipped in flour, egg and Panko crumbs. With deep fried chips and a Greek salad, and washed down with a chilled sauvignon blanc, it took some beating. And some people sneer at trout!
April is mayfly time on our lowland streams. In recent seasons I have found that as soon as the nights begin to cool down the tiny, common deleatidiumvernale is stirred to procreate. On some days hatches last all day until suddenly switching off shortly before dark. Those cool April days have sometimes provided the most memorable fly fishing of the season for me. Angling pressure is normally lighter and there is no need to be on the water early. Small dry flies and emergers will do it. Fish the fast water with small nymph patterns.
During February and March I also enjoyed some spin fishing in the middle reaches of the Rangitata River and found plenty of eager browns. Any dark-hued spinning lure seemed to do the trick. The good old black and gold toby accounted for a few fish and so too did Tasmanian devils. Some big fish were taken in really ‘skinny’ water with substantial pockets between boulders being the most productive locations. I continue to get reports of the Waitaki fishing really well too for both browns and rainbows, so if the smaller streams are a bit lacking in water check out the big rivers.
We are just over a month away from the start of the game bird season so don’t forget to tidy up the maimai and make sure the dog is fit.