Southland Reel Life August 2017

'Prospects galore' for new fishing season

In Southland, trout fishing options abound and the season ahead is shaping up to be a good one.

Spawning counts in the Waituna catchment have revealed plenty of well-conditioned brown trout and this year fish are slightly larger than average.

Above Right: Lower Aparima River brown trout caught by Southland Fish & Game honorary ranger Lindsay Withington.

The MLC fish pass has been working effectively and plenty of lower Waiau River trout have been observed using the fish pass to migrate into the Mararoa and upper Waiau (check out this video).

Upper Mataura drift diving counts earlier in the year were the second highest on record so consider a visit at some stage this season.

Lower (than normal) upper Waiau River flows have provided ideal conditions for rainbow trout spawning (check out this video).

Whitebait are starting to pour up Southland rivers and there have been reports of well-conditioned trout and perch being caught in the lower Oreti, Aparima and Makarewa rivers.

Have a 'plan B' for Opening Day...

As I was out checking fishing licences on last year's Opening Day, I spoke to numerous anglers who had their plans foiled by high river flows, brought about by heavy rain the night before.

This of course highlights the importance of having an Opening Day 'Plan B' up your sleeve should river flows be unfavourable.

Rivers and streams that tend to clear quickly after rain include the Aparima, Dunsdale, Waimatuku, Lora and the upper reaches of the Oreti and Mataura.

Then there are those water bodies less affected by rain: Waituna Lagoon, lakes Te Anau, Manapouri and Monowai, the Monowai River, the Waiau Arm, Lake Thomas (as long as it isn't blowing too hard), middle Mararoa River (especially good for spinning if there is some slight colour in the water).

To avoid a trip to a flooded river, keep a keen eye on river levels using data provided by Environment Southland, click here to check river flows.

Upper Oreti – back country 'beats'

Upper Oreti Fishing BeatsIn the last sports fishing regulation review, the Southland Fish and Game Council decided to make the Upper Oreti (upstream of Rocky Point) a back country fishery.

Anglers now require a Backcountry Licence to fish the Upper Oreti.

These are available online or at sports stores and other licence agents.

Left: Click here to download a map of the beats.

This season we have established a voluntary upper Oreti 'beat' system to help manage fishing pressure.

There are ten beats in total, with the lower-most beat starting at So Big Creek and upper-most beat being the section of river upstream of Mt Nicolas Bridge.

Please take note of instructions on the beat signs and park your vehicle next to the appropriate sign so fellow anglers know where you're fishing.

Good luck!

Southland Fish & Game staff wish all licenceholders the best of luck for the 2017/18 sports fishing season.

If you need advice, access information or have any other queries, please give us a call or pop into the Southland Fish & Game office.

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer

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