Southland Reel Life October 2017

Great start to new fishing season

Southland anglers have been thrilled with the start of the new sports fishing season.

Conditions on Opening Day were perfect; fine and calm with rivers in good order. 

Fish & Game staff have heard numerous reports of good catches on the Waiau, Waikaia, upper and lower Oreti and everywhere in between. 

Right: Southland Fish and Game Council Chairman Graeme Watson with a beautiful early season brownie.

As things start to warm up insect life should proliferate, more bait fish will run into our rivers and the fishing will only get better.

Learn to fly fish this season?

Sou 2 Oct 17I am sure there are many Southland anglers who've decided to try their hand at fly fishing this season, or have decided to devote more time to improving their fly fishing skills.

Left: A Southland angler learning to fly fish on the Makarewa River.  

Being able to fly fish well adds an extra dimension to your fishing and opens up new, exciting and productive fishing opportunities.

But fly fishing can be challenging, especially for beginners.

Below are a few simple pointers to keep in mind that can help overcome frustrations and improve the odds of success.

Firstly, learning to fly fish on the upper Oreti or upper Mataura is probably not the best place to begin; these fish are crafty and see many anglers.

Instead, try a fishery that sees less angler pressure or affords numerous opportunities to cast at fish, the likes of the Makarewa, lower Mataura and middle reaches of the Oreti.

Secondly, you don’t need every fly in the tackle store to be a successful fly angler.

Many flies in the tackle store are designed to catch the angler rather than the trout!

There is a small selection of flies which are absolute must-haves.

These include: basic nymphs (pheasant tail, hare and copper - with and without bead heads), dry mayfly imitations (Adam’s, Adam’s parachute, dad’s favourite) and the humble blow fly. 

Such flies have been around for years and for good reason, they catch fish!

Thirdly, when learning to cast, keep your leader relatively short.  

A nine foot leader is fine for many Southland rivers and easy to manage. A fifteen foot leader is only going to result in tangles and frustrations.

Finally, if you can, find an experienced fly angler and pick their brains. Ask if you can join them on a trip and get them to critique you casting. 

An hour or so with and experienced fly angler can save many hours of frustration struggling along by yourself. 

Trout for tea

Sou 3 Oct 17No doubt, smoked trout is a great way to eat trout.

However, it is nice to mix things up a bit and try a few different recipes.

Right: Crispy skin trout!

Recently, I tried scaling my trout, filleting it and pan frying so the skin was crispy.

What a great way to eat trout.

To get your trout fillet to have super crispy skin, score the trout with shallow cuts, season with salt and pepper, put plenty of olive oil into a hot pan and place the fillet skin side down.

Flip the trout only once to avoid the skin coming away from the fillet.

Serve with some roast veges and watercress from the river.

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer.

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