Graeme Marshall Report for Reel Life January 2018

  • 29/01/2018

Graeme Marshall Report for Reel Life January 2018

South Canterbury Report

“It ain’t half hot Mum!” South Canterbury continues to swelter in temperatures in the low 30’s some days which are not exactly conducive to ideal fishing conditions. Despite some 50mm of very useful rain earlier in the month, which literally saved some smaller streams from becoming disconnected in places, we are once more approaching a situation that will need to be watched as flows diminishing by the day.

Les Hill with a Lake Opuha brown.

The rain was a real game changer for the Opihi. As the Opuha dam was not too far off full the dam company was able to effect a flushing flow in tandem with a fresh. This removed much of the didymo in the Opuha River and also had the effect of getting rid of much of the phormidium build-up lower down.

The effect on the fishery was immediate. All the streams I’ve checked out recently have been fishing well until late morning, before temperatures get too extreme. So the message is to get out there early and enjoy a siesta in the middle part of the day.

There are still plenty of options with good numbers of sea-run browns near the river mouths. But these fish become increasingly difficult to get as light levels and temperatures increase. Softbaits have been accounting for some very nicely conditioned fish in the lower Opihi and Rangitata rivers.

I had a couple of sessions at Lake Opuha recently with my old mate from the West Coast, Les Hill. We had a huge amount of fun targeting browns cruising the edges. Small green beetle dries and unweighted pheasant tail nymphs were sometimes successful. But these fish are educated and on far too many occasions simply passed up on everything we offered.

With water temperatures so high it is no secret that the best options are the larger waters. While I haven’t had a chance to check it out myself, the word out there is that the Waitaki trout fishing is exceptional this season. I imagine that the Rangitata could be worth exploring too, especially as it gets lower and clearer.

The salmon season promised much but has yet to really fire. The Rangitata pre-Christmas was looking really promising and a small number of anglers really cashed in. Apparently things have slowed down a bit but this is not unusual even in a really good season. Expect a bit more activity in February and March.

The Opihi has been very slow for salmon. I’ve been down there early on quite a few days but have witnessed the capture of just one salmon of fairly modest proportions so far. As I write, the tally overall is not even close to double figures. Perhaps things will improve soon. In the meantime we would welcome another inch or so of rain.

Trolling Lake Tekapo for small salmon and some very nice trout is becoming more and more popular, but right now it is essential to get the lure down deep due to the warm conditions. Shoreline fishing was very productive but has slowed a bit due to the water temperature. Change of light is definitely the time to be there.

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