Southland Reel Life August 2019

Time to dust off the fishing rod

Over the last few weeks I have certainly noticed that things are starting to warm up (albeit slightly) and day length is increasing.

This makes it far more motivating to head out to do a spot of late-winter trout fishing.

Above Right: Southland Fish and Game Councillor Corey Carston with a stunning Waituna Trout.

Those anglers that are prepared to dust off their rods and brave the still cool temperatures, can be rewarded with some great fishing. 

With out a doubt, the place to target trout at this time of year is the tidal reaches and estuaries of Southland’s major rivers.

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The gut contents of an estuarine trout from the Aparima Estuary: sardines, mantis shrimp, juvenile star gazer and several triplefin.

Post-spawn trout will often migrate to these areas to feed as there is an abundance of food available to help them regain condition.  

There are also estuarine/sea-run type trout that have for whatever reason, decided not to spawn.

These fish have been feeding up on the bounty of prey items that inhabit our estuaries and are in perfect condition for the table. 

Top spots to try in the few weeks leading up to the new season are: the lower Aparima around Gummies Bush, the lower Waimatuku (below the Rance Road Bridge), the lower Mataura (below the Gorge Road Bridge) and the lower Oreti near West Plains Road.

Try soft baits in bright colours or fish a big blob of worms or a mussel bait on the bottom.

Smoke box trout

Estuarine winter trout in the smoke box – delicious.

Fly anglers should use feathered lures, particularly on the Aparima River near Gummies Bush.  

Waituna spawning surveys 

It has been another great spawning year for Waituna trout.

The average size was 559mm which is slightly larger than the long-term average.

Most of these fish will be back in the lagoon by now, waiting for the angler come opening day!  

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer.