Southland Reel Life March 2018

'Great fishing' easy to find 

Southland river levels have been variable this month with high flows occurring earlier in March.  

But great fishing has still been easy enough to find throughout the region.

I can say from personal experience that the middle reaches of the Aparima and Oreti have been really humming.

Above right: A stunning Aparima brown trout caught near Otautau as the river was receding from high flows.

On several occasions I have headed out as the river has been receding from high flows and the fishing has been exceptional.

I have been using brightly coloured soft baits as they stand out in the slightly discoloured water.

I fish these soft baits in areas of slack water, off the main current, as well as the edges of the river.  

When the river is slightly elevated, trout tend to hold up in these areas of slower flowing water where they can continue to feed but don’t expend too much energy battling against the current.

I find that when river levels are slightly up, trout are easier to catch on spinning gear, for two main reasons.

Firstly, the trout have less time to think about biting your lure.

They are forced to make a split-second decision on whether to bite because if they hesitate the bait fish (your lure) will be out in the swift current and swept away.

Secondly, the discoloured water provides cover for the angler.

The angler, their fishing line and the lure’s splash is harder for the trout to detect, tipping the odds in the angler’s favour.

Fly anglers hook up

SOU 2 March 2018

A superb Mataura brown trout caught on a small nymph.

I was recently chatting to the Southland Fish and Game Chairman, Graeme Watson, and he mentioned that there's been great fly fishing around the region.

Graeme’s fly combination of choice has been a cicada imitation fished in tandem with a small nymph underneath.

Graeme also mentioned that he's been surprised that on fine days, trout are still targeting willow grubs and will take a willow grub imitation.   

Hatches have apparently been a bit on the lean side due to high flows flushing out a few of the stream bugs.

But with time, populations will re-establish and there should be some hatches as things start to cool down.

Finally, I will finish by encouraging anglers to take a trout or two for tea in the next few months.

Trout have had all season to ‘fatten up’ and should be in prime eating condition.

Good luck!

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer.

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