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Fish dives show 'healthy numbers'
Finally, in a clear patch of weather Southland staff were able to get out and undertake drift diving surveys as part of their annual trout monitoring program.
Top right: Southland Fish & Game staff drift diving down the Upper Oreti River.
The Mataura River (2km either side of the Garston Bridge) was a standout, with our second highest count in over 25 years.
Our Mataura dive has shown that on average, there are 65 medium-large trout per km.
The trout population in the upper Mataura has been steadily increasing over time which is great news for anglers.
When fishing the upper Mataura make sure to focus your attention on the edges.
When doing our drift dive, it was interesting to see many trout sitting very close to river’s the edge.
Left: A stunning Mataura brown.
Below: Results from drift diving the Mataura River since 1994.
Oreti River results
Our upper Oreti count was slightly lower this year compared to last year.
However, fish numbers are still good and counts are within the bounds of historical averages.
There are about 17 trout per km.
As would be expected, pool habitat tends to hold the majority of the fish.
However, the trout are widely distributed among many different habitat types.
We saw fish sitting at the bottom of pools, along bank edges, behind boulders in the runs and every now and then, in deep, turbulent water.
Have you ever fished the Monowai River?
If not you should, because our drivers saw some impressive fish on their recent drift dive.
The small mouse population increase we had earlier in the year has made for some chunky trout in the Monowai River.
To improve river access, Southland Fish & Game staff recently cut an 800m access track down the true left of the Monowai River, downstream of the dam.
Make sure you make the most of this track.
Mararoa River holds big rainbows
Want to chase some big rainbows? Consider heading to the Lower Mararoa (below the Whitestone).
During our dive of the Lower Mararoa, we saw plenty of large rainbows.
In one pool in particular, we counted 17 large rainbows.
These rainbows should rise to take a blowfly or cicada imitation (if things stay warm enough).
If that does not work, a nymph with a bit of colour or ‘bling’ should also get their attention.
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