Southland Reel Life September 2017

Small streams – perfect early season fishing

Southland is blessed with some great small stream fisheries, the likes of the Orauea, Mokoreta, Mimihau, Otamita, Waimea and Hedgehope to name a few, and early season is the perfect time to target these streams.

Early in the season flows are often optimal (not too low or warm) and resident trout have not seen a lure or fly in a while.

Above right: early season Waimea Stream brown trout.

If spin fishing, try using a light bladed spinner of soft bait with a light jig head.  

If fly fishing, a small size 16-18 nymph should do the trick and if there is a little bit of colour in the stream go for a nymph with a gold bead head.

Something to keep in mind when planning to fish these small streams is that they are immediately affected by rain.

However, small streams do tend to clear quickly after rain and are usually worth visiting 24-48 hours after the weather has improved.

Fiordland rainbows

Bill photographing trout Pamela BurnSpawning surveys conducted on Lake Monowai tributaries have shown that the fishery is thriving. 

Fish & Game staff were very impressed with the quantity and quality of the rainbow trout present.

Left:  Southland Fish & Game field officer Bill Jarvie snaps spawning rainbows in a Lake Monowai tributary.

In the coming months these fish will be frantically feeding as they seek to regain condition after spawning, making them a bit easier to catch.

Great spots to try on Lake Monowai include the mouth of Eel creek and the Pamela Burn as well as the Walker Creek delta.

Many of our Fiordland lake tributaries don’t open until November 1 so make sure you check your regulation booklet before heading out. 

Waituna Lagoon algal bloom update

Waituna Lagoon is the most popular Opening Day fishery in Southland so anglers were disappointed to hear about a potential toxic algal bloom in the lagoon earlier in the month.

But we have good news for anglers!

In Environment Southland’s recent tests no toxic algae were identified.

This of course is great news for both anglers and the Waituna Lagoon ecosystem.

Trout are yum!

Trout meatOften when I'm out checking fishing licences, I get chatting with anglers and they tell me that they only practice catch and release.

Practicing catch and release has its place, particularly if we catch a fish that's not suitable for eating ( in poor condition) or we are fishing in a particularly sensitive fishery.

But an important part of being an angler (and hunter gatherer) is harvesting a fish or two to enjoy with friends and family.

When choosing a fish to harvest, be selective.

It's not worth taking home a skinny post-spawn jack, instead it is best to take a smaller trout, one that has not yet spawned.

These smaller fish have not had to use up valuable fat stores (unlike post-spawn fish) so should be in prime eating condition.

When you do decide to take a fish, look after it.

Bleed and gut the trout as soon as possible and put it in a cool place, preferably on ice.

If you take the right trout and look after it, you can be assured of a tasty meal come dinner time.  

Good Luck!

Best of luck for the season ahead. I look forward to catching up with Southland anglers on our rivers and lakes this season.

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