Reel Life December 2020

All I want for Christmas is…

Some time off work to go fishing, along with a few weeks of warm, settled weather.

According to the boffins at the Metservice, we are currently in a La Niña summer weather pattern.

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Rock covering algae in the Manuherikia River last summer

For us in the south of New Zealand, we are likely to experience a warmer and drier summer than normal.

This bodes well for the summer camping trip or fishing the central, coastal or tussock lakes.

If you are thinking of heading to a small stream or even a medium one, be prepared for it to be low, warm and possibly full of algae throughout December, January and February.

Trout Fishing Made Easy

There's no better way to enjoy New Zealand's outdoors than with a rod in your hand.

New Zealand has the best trout fishing spots in the world and you don't have to go far to find them.

Fish and Game have published a very useful guide to help beginner and novice trout anglers with their “Get started in 5 easy steps”.  

Click here to learn about:

  1. Buying your licence
  2. Picking your spot
  3. Getting your gear sorted
  4. Tweaking your technique
  5. Get Fishing!

Above: Look out for the Park & Cast logo 

Places to take the family

One of the most difficult things to wrap your head around when you start trout fishing is “where do I go?”

If you are by yourself, options abound, but when the family or just the kids are tagging along then a little more thought is needed.

The region offers plenty of choices for the kids.

Butchers and Conroys dams near Alexandra are easy to access, and Lake Johnston near Queenstown is regularly stocked with rainbow trout.

Pinders Pond near Roxburgh is a great place to catch perch. 

Around Dunedin, the Southern Reservoir, Tomahawk Lagoon and Sullivans Dam are always well stocked with rainbow trout.

The lowland estuaries such as the Catlins, Clutha, Taieri, Waikoauiti and Shag provide great opportunities for those large predatory brown trout with the chance of catching a kahawai.

Fishing licence information can be found here 

A full range of angling information and brochures can be found here

Wide-ranging rangers

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Fish & Game Officer Steve Dixon chats to an angler on Lake Onslow

Over the summer holiday period, all our rangers will be out and about chatting to anglers and providing advice where they can.

If you see a ranger on your travels, try to get some tips and tricks for the area you are fishing. Often our rangers have a wealth of local knowledge.

They will also be checking licences and ensuring all anglers comply with the rules. If you want a current regulation booklet, click here.

Holiday water safety

Whether you're boating, fishing from the shore, or having fun with the kids on the water, make sound decisions over the holiday period. 

It’s simply about ensuring that all family members return home safely.

“Remember to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.”

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Louie Macandrew on a cool morning on Lake Hawea – lifejacket is on, it fits and it’s fastened!

This especially applies to backcountry rivers where there's often only one access point and water that requires sharing. Good communication with other anglers that you encounter is most important. 

Respect the environment, don’t leave rubbish or discarded nylon behind and if you harvest fish, kill them humanely and store them on ice to protect their quality.

Always respect the wishes of landowners and remember it is not a right to access private land. Permission must be obtained.

Keep safe around waterways, wear life jackets when boating and always be aware of the changing circumstances when children are involved. 

Remember the Golden Rule – let someone know where you're going and what time you intend to return!

Useful links:

  • Otago Fish & Game Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Otagofishandgame
  • ORC water monitoring website provides a wealth of information regarding flows, levels and rainfall around the region. The map allows quick access to flow information regarding your favourite spot.

https://www.orc.govt.nz/managing-our-environment/water/water-monitoring-and-alerts

  • Walking Access Commission Maps (WAMS) – showing public accessible areas in NZ

https://maps.walkingaccess.govt.nz/OurMaps/

  • ORC pollution hotline: 0800 800 033

From the Otago Fish & Game team, thank you for all your support over the past year and we wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Nigel Pacey, Otago Fish & Game Officer