Otago Reel Life August 2017

Move over winter, spring is here!

The weather during July and August was pretty miserable across the region with regular rain and the flooding in late July, which had a significant impact on lowland and coastal streams.

Flooding and siltation has had a detrimental effect on brown trout spawning but the species is very resilient and populations will bounce back as always.

Above Right: Successful anglers at Manorburn Reservoir.

Spring brings warmer temperatures and fish become more active, providing good opportunities for those wanting to make the most of the current fishing licence which  expires at the end of September.

The whitebait season is well underway with some reasonable catches reported. These tasty morsels are not just targeted by the human kind, trout and salmon also enjoy their fair share.

Coastal estuaries and river systems are great places to target and trout should be in reasonable condition.

Targeting the rainbow run

 Whilet the early run of rainbow trout have entered streams for spawning, the main run will occur over the next two months.

This is an ideal time to fish small stream mouths of the main lakes. The change of light - particularly the evening is a good fishing time. 

Streamer flies such as red setters and orange rabbits will work well. Change to darker patterns as the light fades. Soft baits and small bibbed lures will also be productive.

A dropping barometer before a front is a good time to explore as fish get active in preparation for their spawning migration. 

The main lakes have gradually been filling but Lake Hawea remains very low. Target the river mouths but be mindful of the soft  conditions underfoot, particularly at the Timaru River mouth.

Care should be taken when launching boats at the Neck due to the muddy and sticky conditions. 

The Upper Clutha River has been producing some very large rainbows from Lake Dunstan spawning runs, with anglers commenting that fish are schooled up and catching several in an outing is possible.

On the resource front Fish & Game staff have been very busy communicating with stakeholders over the setting of minimum and residual flows on several rivers. 

This is a very important process to ensuring rivers and streams remain flowing after water is abstracted for irrigation and domestic takes. 

The New Season

 DSCN1770The start of the 2017/18 fishing season requiring a new season’s licence on October 1st isn’t far away. 

Licences are available on this website Click here or visit your local agent.

Left: Fly fishing Lake Wanaka on a picturesque day.

There are plenty of new products on the market so think about shouting yourself to a new rod or other equipment, otherwise dust the cobwebs from the old and prepare well. 

It’s always difficult to gauge how the new season will shape up but let’s hope for some warm weather and enjoyable fishing conditions. 

Regulation changes

 This region has begun a full review of the fishing regulations which will come into force in October 2018. 

Anglers will have a good opportunity to comment on a range of options soon so keep an eye on this website and local media for further information and submission deadlines. 

Public meetings will be held at selected venues across the region.

'Take a kid fishing' events

Southern Reservoir - September 24 and 30.

Registrations can be made online in the Otago section of this site under Events.

Lake Tewa Jacks Point, Queenstown – November 26.

Fishing competitions

Annual fishing competitions will again be run across the region

Lake Hawea Hotel – November 10 & 11.

Lake Dunstan, Cromwell Rotary – November 19.

Cromwell Town and Country Club – January 2018.

Lake Hawea Classic – February 2018.

That’s all for now here’s hoping the spring brings warmer weather and the summer turns up to be a real beauty. 

Cliff Halford Fish & Game Officer, Cromwell

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