Reel Life September 2022
Bring on the new season
Many anglers will be grabbing the chance for a weekend getaway on the opening of the 2022-23 fishing season.
This year the October 1 opening lands on a Saturday.
Fishing offers time to unwind, reconnect with friends and family, and get outdoors among nature.
Most rivers and streams look in good shape as the snow starts to melt in the headwaters.
Spring can be fickle, so be prepared to adapt fishing methods if some waters are full or coloured.
Spin- or soft bait-fishing, you might want a heavier lure or jig head. Fly anglers should consider indicators and blind fishing.
Above RIght:Fishing offers time to unwind, reconnect with friends and family, and get outdoors among nature. Photo: Bruce Quirey
Trout are more likely to be active on lower reaches where the water temperatures are warmer.
Most high-country rivers flowing into Otago’s big southern lakes open on November 1, a month later.
Remember to carry your 2022-23 sports fishing licence. Buying a whole season licence early means better value for your 12-month licence. And you’ll probably go fishing more often.
Spring is an ideal season to fish for trout chasing bait fish in estuaries.
The best time to fish for trout in estuaries is near the top of the tide as they move onto the flats. Match your lure, soft bait or fly to these baitfish.
The shortened whitebait season runs from September to October.
Whitebait are managed by the Department of Conservation, not Fish & Game.
If targeting trout, you will need a current season’s sports fishing licence.
Although trout feed on baitfish, the real threat to native species is by far the loss of spawning habitat.
Fish & Game’s work to advocate strongly for better habitat protection benefits both introduced sports fish and threatened native species.
“Put and take” fisheries
Look out for Otago Fish & Game’s recently purchased fish transporter on the road.
More than a dozen “put-and-take” fisheries around Otago are restocked with rainbow trout from Macraes hatchery during spring.
Between 5000 and 8000 fish are reared each year for “put-and-take” fisheries.
The large transporter can carry twice the number of fish than previously, halving the 4000km road trip we take each year to release fish.
So far this spring, trout have been stocked at Sullivans Dam, Tomahawk Upper Lagoon and Southern Reservoir (closed September).
We will stock more rainbows in the following other “put-and-take” fisheries:
* Blakelys Dam
* Butchers Dam
* Coal Pit Dam
* Hamiltons Dam
* Lower Manorburn Dam
* McAtamney’s Head Pond
* Mathias Dam
* Moke Lake
* Perkins Pond
* Rutherfords Dam
* Tomahawk Upper Lagoon
Check the relevant sport fishing regulations for each location.
We encourage licence holders to keep some of the fish they catch from these locations.
Otago Fish & Game does not release trout into the wild. Trout in Otago rivers and lakes have self-sustaining populations. Hatchery-reared trout only get released into selected dams and reservoirs which have no natural spawning.
Weekly Fishing Report
Want the latest Otago freshwater fishing info at your fingertips each week?
Otago Fish & Game will start weekly fishing reports during the fishing peak from December to February.
Sign up, and every Thursday, we’ll email you the latest fishing conditions, weather and river flow info, and tips for your next fishing mission.
If you’d like to subscribe, click here to contact theOtago office using the subject line “Weekly Fishing Report”.
Sharpen your skills
Otago Fish & Game will run free soft bait-fishing clinics with expert angler Lance Gill in November.
These evening mid-week sessions will be held at Henley on November 9 and the Wanaka Outlet on November 16.
Follow our Facebook page for details on how to register soon.
This month we ran spin-fishing classes for adults in Dunedin and Cromwell.
Attendance at our Dunedin classes was good, giving new freshwater anglers skills for success in the season ahead.
Take A Kid Fishing
More than 500 children are registered for our annual Take A Kid Fishing event at Southern Reservoir.
The event began on Saturday September 17 and is being held over four days during the last two weekends of the month.
Thanks to our volunteers and supporters, including Otago Community Trust and OceanaGold, who make this event possible.
Land and Water Regional Plan consultation round 2
Otago Regional Council has set dates and venues for round 2 of consultation on its new Land and Water Regional Plan.
ORC is developing a new Land and Water Regional Plan in partnership with Kāi Tahu iwi.
This plan will include rules and limits on water and land use to keep fresh waterways healthy.
The health of Otago’s waterways matters to anglers and game bird hunters. They need to improve.
Get involved and mark these dates.
Owaka | Owaka Memorial Community Centre | Tues 25 Oct 2pm and 7pm
Queenstown | Sherwood Hotel | Mon 31 Oct 7pm
Wanaka | Wanaka Lakes Centre | Tues 1 Nov 2pm and 7pm
Hawea | Lake Hawea Community Centre | Mon 7 Nov 7pm
Tarras | Tarras War Memorial Community Centre | Tues 8 Nov 7pm
Cromwell | Cromwell & Districts Presbyterian Church | Wed 9 Nov 7pm
Clyde | Clyde Memorial Hall | Tues 15 Nov 7pm
Roxburgh | Roxburgh Service Centre | Wed 16 Nov 7pm
Millers Flat | Millers Flat Hall | Thur 17 Nov 7pm
Balclutha | Cross Recreation Centre | Mon 21 Nov 2pm and 7pm
Tapanui | West Otago Community Centre | Tues 22 Nov 7pm
Mosgiel | Coronation Hall | Mon 28 Nov 7pm
Middlemarch | Strath Taieri Community Centre | Tues 29 Nov 7pm
Ranfurly | Maniototo Golf Club | Wed 30 Nov 2pm and 7pm
Oamaru | Oamaru Opera House | Thur 1 Dec 2pm and 7pm
Palmerston | Palmerston Community Centre | Mon 5 Dec 7pm
Milton | Coronation Hall | Tues 6 Dec 7pm
Karitane | Puketeraki Marae | Wed 7 Dec 7pm
Dunedin | Dunedin Public Art Gallery | Thur 8 Dec 12pm
Dunedin | Arai Te Uru Marae | Thur 8 Dec 7pm
You can find out more on the ORC website.
Lake Hawea angler survey
Anglers fishing on Lake Hawea can expect to be quizzed by rangers during a three-year research project starting this month.
Otago Fish & Game will survey anglers to discover more about the health of the lake fishery.
The surveys will provide crucial monitoring data to understand long-term trends and manage the fishery.
Staff and volunteers will conduct brief interviews by boat and onshore.
Anglers will be asked how long they have been fishing that day, how many seasons they fished Lake Hawea, how many days a season they fish the lake, and what they caught.
Any fish caught will be weighed and measured to get an idea of the average size and condition of rainbow and brown trout and salmon in the lake.
Please have your licence ready and feel free to ask us for some fishing tips.
More access signs
Anglers will have more access to fishing spots along the Taieri River this new fishing season.
This winter, Otago Fish & Game has been checking and renewing access signs on the Taieri River from Taieri Mouth to the upper Maniototo,
Six new access points have been secured in the Strath Taieri area, bringing the number on this river to about 35.
Fish & Game is grateful to landowners and farmers for their support.
Please respect landowners and be courteous towards other anglers.
Bruce Quirey, Otago Fish & Game Officer/Communications Officer
Phone (03) 4779076