Otago Reel Life December 2019

  • Otago
  • 18/12/2019

Otago Reel Life December 2019

Wet and Windy December

I can’t recall a wetter or windier December than we have just received.

Torrential rain in the western ranges rose lake levels to within centimetres of flooding Queenstown and Wanaka but fortunately a lot of effort to manage the situation and a fair amount of luck kept water from entering lakefront businesses and retail outlets.

Right:Young anglers try their luck at the Southern Reservoir Take a Kid Fishing day.

On the fishing front anglers would have been put off by swollen and discoloured waters but there has to be a change on the make and hopefully anglers will be able to enjoy some fishing over the holiday period.

High Water Fishing Tips

Fish love freshly flooded areas.

An abundance of insects and worms get displaced making easy pickings for trout that move in to feed.

Fish will commonly feed over these inundated areas early morning and into the evening.

Floating fly lines and small streamers will be successful, and commonly fish will feed off the surface.

Spin anglers should try small veltic type lures with the spinning wing or opt for soft baits which will be highly effective.


A spin angler on a glorious day at the Matukituki Mouth , Lake Wanaka.

Bait anglers have good opportunities to ambush fish with floating baits.

Boaties on the large lakes could fly or spin fish over flooded areas.

If trolling in close to shore be aware of surface reaching structures and fence lines that would normally be clearly visible.

Poolburn reservoir has been fishing well with anglers reporting plenty of fish in good condition.

A friendly reminder to always carry your fishing licence.

Rangers will be active over the holiday period.

Otago Angling Events

On December 14 Fish and Game held a fishing event Take a Kid Fishing at Dunedin's Southern Reservoir.

On a warm sunny day 140 kids caught approximately 12 trout which was less than expected but there was lots of excitement and plenty of enthusiasm.

With 500 rainbow trout liberated there are heaps left for the general public to get stuck into.

Two Soft Bait Clinics were held in the region, 85 attended the Alexandra event (on the banks of the Manuherikia River) in sunshine.

45 attended Lower Taieri event in the pouring rain.

Participants learnt about the gear required, types and colours of soft plastic lures, knot tying practice, threading soft bait onto jig head and most importantly – how to fish a soft bait effectively (different to hard-bodied lures).

Both events were well received and thanks to Fish and Game officer Nigel Pacey of Dunedin for his organising effort.

Upcoming Events

December 29 – Glenorchy Boat ramp area. Boat fishing seminar presented by Fish and Game. Free admittance and giveaways. 2pm - 3pm

December 30 – Wanaka Outlet boat ramp area. Boat fishing seminar presented by Fish and Game. Free admittance and giveaways 2pm - 3pm

January 2nd – Cromwell Town and Country Club fishing competition

February 8 – Lake Hawea Family Fishing Classic competition

February 9 – Alexandra Districts Club TAKF event

For complaints about pollution or damage to rivers contact the Otago Regional Council (ORC) 24-hour pollution hotline on 0800 800 033

Up to date river flow information can be found on the ORC site here

Land and public access information can be located on the NZ Walking Access Commission site here

From the Otago Fish and Game team - Wishing you all a very pleasant and safe Xmas, and New year.


Cliff Halford, Otago Fish & Game Officer.

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