Will Spry Fishing Report for Reel Life November 2018
Mackenzie Country Report
Soggy and cold weather has been the theme for spring and the opening weeks in the Mackenzie Country. A busy start to the season saw anglers out and about in a huge number of areas, with some excellent fishing to accompany their efforts. But the end of opening week saw the heavens open the freezer door, with plenty of rain and snow to dampen efforts and send most anglers scurrying home again.
Those who stuck it out have been rewarded with some excellent fishing. Dirty rivers have brought out the best of the fish and the colder days have proven a boon for mayfly hatches, with some great periods of hatch activity bringing a smile to the face of fly anglers. The dirty rivers are best fished safely – by avoiding them when they’re rising, but really attacking them when they are falling. Care also needs to be taken when fishing discoloured waters, as hidden holes and faster than normal water can be hazardous. The use of a wading staff can help here, by feeling your way around the river bed before you step out.
A careful selection of lure/fly or bait can also help. Trout will abandon their usual lies and take up a feeding position more readily as a huge amount of food hits the higher flows. Bait anglers might use a worm in preference during these high water days, with fish in the slower edges and deeper, slower pools. Fly and lure anglers should pick a large and colourful lure to attract the fish to their offerings in the lower visibility water.
The lakes are likewise very high and in some cases spilling, providing plenty of grassy areas to find fish moving around the edges and in the shallows. Short droppers for fly anglers will keep the flies in the strike zone, rather than in the grass. Again, plenty of worms and other "terrestrial" food sources are the best approach in the flooded lakes.
Speaking of terrestrials, summer is approaching (we hope!) and it is coming up to beetle time very quickly. Make sure you have a few of these in your kit for surface feeders. The warmer days and evenings will bring them out in numbers and make for some spectacular dry fly takes. Hopefully things will warm up and heat up on the fishing front as well!
The Kids Day Out on Loch Cameron (pictured below) was a raging success this year, if only in terms of numbers of anglers, if not the numbers of fish caught. Over 200 kids and their support teams (family!) showed up at the lake to enjoy an overcast but dry morning of fishing. Only a small number of the 400 released fish were caught, however most seemed to be pretty happy to be fishing and there were plenty of spot prizes handed out for those who didn't manage to snare a fish on the day. Special thanks to Mt Cook Alpine Salmon for the donation of salmon (around $5000 worth - a substantial contribution) as well as to the other sponsors on the day. And don't forget the hard work and dedication of the Central South Island Fish & Game staff who were out in force to make sure the day ran smoothly for all.
A number of rainbow trout were trapped, tagged and released on the Hakataramea River this winter. The author has seen a number caught and released and the information gained by the Fish & Game staff makes for interesting reading. The tagged fish caught were all around a kilogram lighter than when tagged (pre spawning) and they were caught up to 40km or so from the trap site. It goes to show just how much the spawning process takes out of the fish physically. Do remember, if you happen to catch a tagged trout, you can keep them or release them, but reporting your catch and the tag number to Fish & Game will help their research a lot. Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org including details of the weight and location of the catch (along with the tag number) if you do happen to catch one. Unfortunately there are no prizes for doing so, however, your efforts will be much appreciated.
Roll on Summer!