Reel Life October 2023
Above: Getting out after work or in the evening is not only productive but adds a sense of adventure to your week and is a good chance to unwind.The Quick After-Work Fishing Trip
Let’s face it, life gets hectic, and finding a full day to set aside for trout fishing can be a real challenge.
Luckily, there's a solution that strikes the right balance between angling opportunity and our daily responsibilities: the quick after-work fishing trip.
In Southland, we're fortunate to have numerous productive fisheries conveniently located near main centres, making it easy to squeeze in a few hours of fishing after work.
For example, the lower Oreti River at West Plains is just a short 10-minute drive from Invercargill.
The Aparima River, located near both Riverton and Otautau, is another highly productive fishery right on our doorstep.
If you're in Te Anau, the nearby Mararoa River offers a great opportunity to catch both brown and rainbow trout.
And let's not forget the Mataura River, a stone's throw away from the townships of Wyndham, Mataura, and Gore.
These super handy fisheries are known for their healthy trout populations and are ideal if you only have a few spare hours up your sleeve.
One of the fantastic aspects of after-work fishing trips is that they allow anglers to fish during the late afternoon and evening—the prime times for trout fishing.
As daylight fades, small baitfish emerge from cover, and invertebrates will more readily enter the drift, and consequently, trout activity tends to peak.
As a result, you'll often find that these quick after-work fishing trips can be even more productive than full-day excursions, especially for spin anglers.
So, as the days grow longer, remember that paying a visit to your local Southland river or lake after work is an excellent way to sneak in a few hours of fishing amidst life's other commitments.
Fishing the lake edges
Stillwater fisheries often slide under the radar here in NZ.
They can be very productive and fished as simply or as technically, as you want.
All of Southland’s lakes have a healthy population of trout and the saying ‘fish your feet first’ applies.
Some boaties travel a long way and motor past some great fishing water to get to their chosen trolling areas.
Meanwhile, a nimble shore-based angler could already have been fishing for an hour.
When choosing a location, look for inflowing tributaries, macrophyte beds and ledges/drop offs.
These areas provide trout with food and a sense of security which makes them hot-spots.
We all like the feeling of having the wind on our back but the best fishing in this situation is with it on your face.
Choose a bank with an on-shore breeze.
This creates wave lap that lifts food from the lake-bed and margins suspending it in the water column.
On top of this, the decreased visibility means trout have less time to carefully consider your offering and might be more inclined to instinctively take it.
Spin fishing and soft-baiting are the best options when it’s breezy.
They have the ability to punch into the wind - giving you a longer casting distance and more fishable water.
On those calm, still days sight fishing the edges with a fly-rod in hand can be exciting.
It’s best to work in pairs and have the spotter try and gain some elevation where possible.
The hot-tip here is to avoid casting at 90˚ to the fish as your line will be more easily seen.
Try and work the angle so that your cast is quartering towards the fish, you’ll be more likely to get the take this way, however, setting the hook is less guaranteed.
Bait fishing has its own rewards.
These floats can be easily adjusted along your line, allowing you to quickly change the depth of your bait.
Not only is it very effective but it allows an angler the option of multitasking - fishing while also reading a book or socialising nearby.
Bait can be set on a sinking rig with a sinker or suspended below a bubble.
The relatively new A-Just-A-Bubble type floats provide plenty of versatility.
Many of our local anglers will be fishing in the Stabicraft Te Anau Manapouri Fishing Classic and/or taking the kids to the Cruise Milford Take a Kid Fishing competition.
Hopefully, these lake edge tips will come in useful for shore-based anglers or encourage boaties to park up when the trolling goes quiet.
Tips for the long weekend
Fishing a large body of water from the shore may seem daunting but don’t be put off as the edges provide greater habitat value.
The long weekend provides a great opportunity to hit our rivers and lakes and catch some trout.
If you are a beginner angler, you might like to check out our short instructional videos:
Haven’t got your licence yet?
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