Graeme Marshall Fishing Report for February 2019

  • 26/02/2019

Graeme Marshall Fishing Report for February 2019

South Canterbury Report

I’ve held off on this report for as long as possible hoping that I might have something positive to contribute. What a difference a month can make. Last month I reported on “adequate” stream flows and some pretty good fishing overall. Since then the hot, dry conditions that have created havoc in some other regions have begun to take hold in this region too.

Small stream fishing is a waste of time in the main with some running at less than one cumec and even threatening to become disconnected. Fish & Game staff will be watching the situation anxiously as the last thing they want to be doing right now is rescuing and re-locating fish. Given the high water levels right through the Christmas and New Year period, the rate of decline of some streams like the Tengawai, Pareora and Waihao is worrying. At the time of writing though, a significant weather event is being forecast so by the time you read this the crisis may be over. We can but hope.

Of course there is still room for optimism. A visit to the middle reaches of the Rangitata last weekend re-kindled my affection for the trout fishing in this river. When my efforts to connect with a salmon failed I switched to soft baits and the old dependable black and gold toby, the lure I caught my very first brown trout on close to 50 years ago! Both worked. In one boulder-studded run, I had hit after hit and one fish that had me gasping stayed on just long enough to see that it was probably in the 6 -8lb class. Yes, I will be back.

Meantime, lake fishers are experiencing a typically mixed bag with rainbows seeking the cooler depths. There are still browns prowling the edges and looking up for terrestrials like cicadas and damselflies.

Canal fishing has been tough with action early and late but not much in between. However, the canals are still a riddle to be solved by this writer despite some monumental catches last winter. No two days are ever the same and I never cease to be amazed when right out of ‘left field’ a complete novice pulls out a monster. Anything is possible it seems.

One hint I can provide is that fly fishers need to dig deep in their fly boxes for very small, natural patterns. This was brought home to me one day this week. My usual #14 beadheads were totally ignored until I tied a #18 unweighted hare and copper off the bend on a 40cm dropper. Bingo. Five hook-ups and three fish landed in quick succession – all on the tiny trailing nymph.

Back to Reel Life.


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