Will Spry Fishing Report for Reel Life September 2018
Mackenzie Country Report
The High Country opening is now around a month away, with most rivers opening in the Mackenzie Country on November 3rd. So that begs the question, where to fish until then? The good news is there's plenty of good options around at this time of the season, without breaking the fishing regulations and fishing illegally. The larger High Country lakes are all open and are in great shape for spring. The nor-west winds have been quite kind thus far, so just about any shore of the lake (or way out in the middle if that's your preference!) is a good option. Fish are moving well and feeding with vigour after a mild winter. Lake levels are great for this time of the year and clarity is mostly great. The river mouths are a logical place to search, but so are the weed beds and drop offs around the lakes.
Hydro canals are also looking good, with a lot of people having fished through the winter with some good results for some and less so for others. However, time on the water equals fish to the shore usually, so the only way to get onto them is to get after them and with the glorious sunny days we've been enjoying, just the feel of the sun on your shoulders and the chance of bagging a great fish is more than enough.
On the river front, take note that the Upper Ohau river above Lake Ruataniwha and below Lake Ohau outlet is opening this season, from October 1st . This is an opportunity to river fish to some extra large trout, which are growing to great size in the hydro canal, as they complete their spawning run on the only river connected to the hydro canals and a salmon farm. If you are fishing the river this season, do take care not to disturb the spawning beds as the roe can be quite fragile after spawning and I'm sure, like me, you'd like the young trout to get a great opportunity to thrive for the future.
The only other section of river open before November 3 in the Mackenzie Basin, is the lower Tekapo River. Mayflies have been hatching through the afternoon on the river and with a few trout rising, it gives an early opportunity to get your dry fly fishing eye back in! Mine needed some adjusting having missed my first dry fly take of the season, however my fishing buddy managed to nail his on the first cast. Remember the need to pause after the dry fly has been taken so as to ensure you're not pulling the fly from the trout before they've had a chance to turn down with the fly. Nymph strikes however, are the opposite. Hit fast but not too hard, as trout reject the nymph very quickly at times.
However, October 1 brings the opening of the lower country rivers in the Mackenzie District, with the rivers and streams to the east of Burke's Pass opening then, together with the Waitaki River below Waitaki Dam. I know where I'll be heading on October 1 and i'm keen to explore some extra access locations on one of my favourite rivers.
Finally, a quick once over on your gear is very important before your first foray onto the rivers. Don't trust old knots - retie them all and double check daily at least. Fly lines will benefit from a clean and dressing with mucelin or other material. Check your hooks for sharpness and add a dab of reel grease to your reel if it requires it. Better to land the first trout of the new season than be swearing at it.