Graeme Marshall Report for Reel Life November 2017

  • 23/11/2017

Graeme Marshall Report for Reel Life November 2017

South Canterbury Report

What a difference a month can make. Lowland rivers and streams in this region have gone from a tad over full for optimum fishing, in the case of the Opihi at least, to verging on worryingly low. However, there’s a silver lining to every cloud and this one is the ease of negotiating the river along with fish being concentrated where they are more accessible to anglers.

Top right: summer fishing on the Temuka River.

November and December are my two favourite months of the year – certainly for fly fishing. More settled weather is the norm, stream invertebrate life abundant and sight fishing easier than at any other time as mid-summer approaches. As no big fan of cold water, it is even comfortable dispensing with the waders some days and donning shorts and long johns. Summer fishing is great!

My informal stream insect surveys indicate that mayflies, trout bread and butter, are very prolific this season. After a few years when I expressed concerns about the abundance of mayflies especially it is heartening to turn over rocks and discover lots of nymphs scurrying for cover. Perhaps the July flood was a blessing in disguise.

Last month I reported that fish concentrations were ‘patchy’ and I’m still finding this to be the case. A considerable amount of in-stream river work has been undertaken since the July event, and in some cases the trout have not taken up permanent residence in areas that have been heavily modified by diggers. I have no doubt that they will do so though once that ‘rawness’ smooths out.

Some stretches of the Opihi are notable for good numbers of smaller fish in the 1kg class, while all the smaller streams I have visited recently are harbouring plenty of larger specimens. I’ve been finding that getting out in the morning before the cool sea breeze gets up is the time for some really good hatches. I observed trout rising freely before 9am one morning recently.

The high country opening appears to have been a bit disappointing for many with weather conditions not particularly conducive to ideal fishing. Since then though much better weather has improved the situation greatly. I have had reports of some superb fishing in the Mackenzie Country. One informant and a companion landed around 20 rainbows each on the second weekend of the season on a stream which he quite inexplicably seems to have forgotten the name of! With the current settled weather looking likely to continue for a while yet the high country could well be the place to be. Keep an eye out for terns and swallows as they signal a hatch in progress. On some rivers there can be a frantic rise on one stretch while another nearby seems quite lifeless. Similarly, if large numbers of mayfly nymphs are seen scuttling around on the top-side of submerged rocks it’s almost a guarantee that fish will be active too. Observation is an essential angling skill.

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