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Above Right: Field Officer Ben Febrey with a 750mm long brown trout from the Waituna catchment.
Get ready for some trout fishing!
The clock is ticking, with only nine days until the start of the 2023/24 fishing season.
It's high time to buy your new fishing licence, give your rod a once-over, restock your lure or fly box, and begin planning some adventures because everything points to yet another fantastic season ahead.
Trout spawning surveys
Over the trout spawning period, Southland Fish & Game staff conducted spawning surveys on some of our important trout spawning streams.
Because of the settled winter weather, we are pleased to report that the spawning activity has been excellent.
In the Waituna catchment, for example, the trout were in fantastic condition and averaged 540mm in length.
We also caught our largest spawning trout on record; a 750mm jack that would have cracked the ten-pound mark.
The rainbow trout in our lakes have also fared well.
For example, we counted very good numbers of spawning rainbows in the Lake Monowai catchment.
Our Lake Monowai rainbows averaged 455mm in length, which will make for some promising angling this season.
Honorary ranger Pat Dawson and Southland Fish and Game Field Officer Cohen Stewart with a pre-spawn rainbow trout.
Fishing access made easy with updated signage and online access maps
In the months leading up to the new fishing season, Southland Fish & Game staff have been busy erecting new angler access signs and stiles and, developing a new angler access website.
In total, we have put up over 100 new access signs across the region.
These signs will make it easy to locate fishing spots as you are driving around the region.
Our new mapping website will also make exploring new fishing spots simple.
Our fishing access map has over 500 access points and each access point is accompanied with a detailed access description, so you know exactly what to expect when you get there.
Check out our new angler access maps here.
Three new fishing spots to try this season
Picture: Southland Fish & Game Field Officer Dwight Grieve with the new access sign on Clyde Street behind Wallacetown.
Want to try some of our new, formalised access spots?
Check out the options below.
Lion Park – Oreti River
Access off Southend-Dipton Road
This access spot provides access to both the Oreti River and the Dipton Stream.
If you are a fly angler, the Dipton Stream will be well worth visiting, particularly early in the season.
To access the Oreti River, there is a short (900m) walk across some paddocks, but there is some very productive water on offer.
Makarewa River – Clyde Street
This access spot is super handy for Invercargill and Wallacetown based anglers.
At this location, the river is deep, tidal, and perfect for soft bait and worm fishing.
Hamilton Burn – Felton Road
The landowner and manager on Felton Road have kindly agreed to allow angler access to the Hamilton Burn across private land.
This will provide some excellent fly fishing opportunities.
Keep an eye out for the F&G access sign and please adhere to the access instructions on the sign.
New upper Mataura Beat system
The beat system on the upper Mataura will help disperse angling pressure and reduce overcrowding.
To help enhance the angling experience and address overcrowding concerns on the upper Mataura River, Southland Fish & Game has developed a new ‘beat system’.
The beat system will function much like the upper Oreti beat system, which many anglers will be familiar with.
The Mataura beat system comprises 44 distinct fishing beats, ranging from 0.7km to 4.2km in length.
The beats are positioned between the Ardlussa Bridge and the confluence of Roberts Creek, which spans an 87km river stretch.
Upon reaching the river, anglers will park their vehicles next to beat signs.
Parking next to a beat sign will indicate to other anglers that a certain river section (beat) is occupied.
This user-friendly beat system will help disperse angling pressure and reduce overcrowding.
More information about the Mataura fishing beats can be found here.
Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game