Southland Reel Life December 2019

Mouse fishing action 

As many anglers will now be aware, the ‘mouse fishing’ is really starting to heat up around Southland.

Right: Southland Fish and Game Ranger and Check, Clean, Dry Advocate Josh Tabak with a solid brown trout caught on a mouse lure.  

Trout have been feasting on mice over the last few months and mouse numbers are now starting to taper back.

Now is the perfect time to head out mouse fishing because large brown trout are actively looking for mice.

To effectively catch trout that are feeding on mice, head out fishing at night with a rubber mouse lure.

Cast out your lure and retrieve it along the surface of the water so it makes a small v-shaped wake.

If you prefer to go fishing during the day, these large ‘mouse eating’ trout can still be targeted with a lure.

Try fishing deep water with a softbait – just make sure you get your softie down deep and fish it close to the bottom.

Big trout will often chill out at the bottom of deep pools and digest their mousy meal from the night before.

Top mouse fishing spots to try over the Christmas/New Year period: Lake Monowai, Lake Hauroko, Lake Te Anau, Lake Manapouri, the Waiau River, the Mararoa River and the Mavora Lakes. 

Fishing closer to home over the holidays

Gary trout bait fishing Makarewa

The lower Makarewa River is only 10 minutes drive from Invercargill and has been fishing very well.

Unfortunately, some of us don’t get much time off over the holiday period because of work commitments.

However, don’t let that stop you from fishing as short, local fishing trips after work can be very productive.

Handy fisheries that are close to the main centres include the Oreti River near Invercargill and Winton, the Aparima River near Riverton and Otautau and of course the Mataura River near Gore.

These three rivers hold high densities of trout and are currently fishing very well.

A quick cast after work in any of these rivers will often result in a trout or two for the table.  

Fishing in discoloured water

Darren Vic bait trout2

A fantastic brown trout caught bait fishing

As many of you will be well aware, this season our lowland river levels have at times been high due to heavy rainfall.

High river levels can make the fishing challenging but can also create great fishing opportunities where trout are easier to catch than they would usually be.  

For example, when the river is elevated, bait fishing can be super productive because in calm eddies on the river edges, trout will be feeding on worms that have been dislodged from the riverbank during high flows.

Try fishing a static worm in calm backwaters, eddies or river edges.  

As river flows start to recede, spin angling is at its most effective.

Use brightly coloured lures and soft baits.

As a general rule, I recommend that that if a river’s level is 20cm above normal flows, the conditions are ideal for spin fishing. If a rivers flow is 30cm above normal, bait fishing is your best bet. Check the river levels here: http://envdata.es.govt.nz/

Tight Lines

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer.