Southland Reel Life August 2018
Last winter fishing – get adventurous
Now's the time to venture out of your armchair and over to the lower reaches of our rivers to catch a winter trout.
Take your pick, the lower Aparima, Mataura, Waiau, Oreti and Waimatuku are all starting to fish well.
Above right: A lower Oreti winter brown trout caught near West Plains.
My personal experience is that the fishing really starts to pick up in the lower Aparima River and Waimatuku Stream by the beginning of August.
The lower Oreti and Waiau fishing starts to really become worthwhile from August 15 onwards.
In these lower reaches, trout can be found in active pursuit of baitfish as they seek to regain condition after spawning.
Numerous methods work well at this time of year, but my preferred method is bait fishing with a worm.
Sitting back and relaxing while drowning a worm can be a great way to spend an afternoon and gather some fresh fish for the table.
However, calm conditions at this time of year also make spinning and fly fishing with a streamer very pleasant.
For those Southland anglers who are fortunate enough to live close to our lakes, Te Anau, Manapouri, Mavora (south and north), Thomas, Gunn and Fergus are all lakes worth a try.
Pre-spawn rainbows will be hanging out at creek mouths and brown trout will be back in their lakes.
Waituna Lagoon – well worth an Opening day visit
Over the winter, Southland Fish & Game staff and volunteers assessed spawning in creeks draining into Waituna Lagoon.
There has been some excellent spawning activity and fish size has been impressive.
This year fish are slightly larger than the historical average, and are averaging about 551mm in length.
Our spawning counts suggest the peak spawning run was two to three weeks earlier this year.
This will give the bulk of the post-spawn brown trout an extra few weeks to regain condition in the lagoon before the start of the new season.
Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer.