Reel Life December 2020

  • Southland
  • 16/12/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life December 2020

10 Quickfire Summer Break Fishing Tips

Tip 1 – Target the tidal areas

The tidal areas of our main rivers are currently fishing very well. There are heaps of baitfish (smelt) about and trout will be actively pursuing them. For best results, use smelt imitation soft baits and lures.

Tip 2 – Give bait fishing a go

Bait fishing is a great option for beginner anglers, campers, and children. Find an area of deep water, cast out a bait and wait for the trout to come to you! Top baits are garden worms, fresh green lip mussel or frozen squid. To learn more about using squid for bait, watch this video.

Tip 3 – Consider time of day

If you are a spin angler, it’s always more challenging to catch trout in bright, sunny conditions. For best results, head out in the early morning, late afternoon, and evening. Overcast conditions will also increase your success rate.

Tip 4 – Have a go on the upper Waiau

The upper Waiau is located near Te Anau and is a fantastic fishing destination. The upper Waiau is large and deep. Appropriately weighted soft baits (1/8 – 1/6oz) are very effective and will enable you to get your lure down to where the fish are.

Above Right: Fish on! On the upper Waiau.

Tip 5 – Take a perch for tea

20201215 090634

Perch are a great table fish.

The lower reaches of our rivers have a good perch population. There are also perch in Lake Manapouri. Many anglers don’t appreciate the fantastic eating qualities of perch. When you catch one, take him home for tea. You will not be disappointed.

Tip 6 – Have a crack on the Makarewa

The Makarewa river is close to Invercargill, has good access and lots of trout. Try brightly coloured bladed spinners and 7g black and gold Toby lures. Top access points are the end of Collean Street (behind Wallacetown), the end of Settlers Road and near Channel Road.

Tip 7 – Go exploring

Try somewhere new. Get the maps out, jump online, check out old fishing books and find a river/lake you have not been to before. There is always great excitement and anticipation in trying a new fishing destination.

Tip 8 – Cast from the boat


Casting a lure from the boat, towards the lake edge, can be super effective.

Trolling a lure off the back of the boat is the most popular boat fishing technique. However, for a bit more excitement (and success), try putting around the lake edge and cast lures (Rapalas, Tassie devils etc.) in towards the shore, particularly at stream mouths. Spotting and casting to cruising fish using this method can be super effective.

Tip 9 – Lake Thomas

Lake Thomas is located near Te Anau and is a great family fishing destination. There is a good population of rainbow trout in the lake and they are not too difficult to catch. All methods work well. Exploring the lake with a small boat or kayak would be a great option.

Tip 10 – Try night fishing

Last year was a mouse year and some trout reached phenomenal sizes as they feed on a protein packed mouse diet. This season, several anglers have reported catching 8+ pound brownies on mouse lures. It’s great that the trout have been able to hold on to their condition. To find out how to make a mouse lure, check out this link.Try mouse fishing near Mavora, the Mararoa River, upper and lower Waiau and lakes Monowai, Te Anau and Manapouri.

If you need any more tips for fishing over the summer break, please get in touch with the Southland Fish and Game staff and we will be happy to help you out.

Tight Lines

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer.

More Posts