Reel Life December 2023

  • Southland
  • 21/12/2023

Reel Life December 2023

Family Fishing Success

Early this season, first-time angler Gareth Oliver reached out to us seeking some guidance as he had no trout fishing experience and was eager to introduce his young sons to trout fishing.

We offered Gareth some tips and over the last few months he has been putting those tips into practice.

We recently conducted a short interview with Gareth, regarding his trout fishing journey thus far, and it's evident that the learning process has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience for him and his family.

What made you want to get into trout fishing?

I’ve always enjoyed hunting and gathering activities, whether foraging for a supply of blackberries or wild apples, shooting a hare or catching some blue cod.

I guess trout fishing taps into the primal urge to provide for my family.

It also aligns with my passion for the outdoors, having a gratitude for nature and sharing this with my sons.

How have you found the learning process?

Catching a trout was a bit of a mystery to begin with.

However, I got in touch with the staff at Fish & Game and they shared a few tips about bait fishing using garden worms.

 I've been amazed at the success.

As a family, we are eating a lot more fish.

How did your children react to catching their first trout?

My eldest son caught his first trout on the Aparima River and was over the moon, even though it was a bit too small to harvest.

My next son was absolutely chuffed to provide dinner for the family when he caught a healthy brown trout from the lower Oreti River near West Plains Road.

Above right: Gareth and his son Fern with a nice trout from the lower Oreti River.

How has trout fishing positively impacted your family?

As a family, we love to eat healthily and with the price of fish in the supermarket, rarely eat it. However, by regularly catching trout it has helped improve our diet.

Also, in an age of instant gratification, trout fishing has taught my children that good things come to those who wait. They've learnt to persevere.   

We've also just enjoyed being by the river and seeing nature in action.

How do you plan to integrate trout fishing into your summer holiday plans?

We're heading on a summer road trip so will have the trout fishing gear handy. Considering we can't go 30 minutes without one of our boys getting fidgety, there will be ample chance to stop and fish by a river. We will also take a kayak or two for some lake fishing adventures. 

What tips do you have for taking kids trout fishing?

Bait fishing with worms is a great option as it reduces the risk of tangles and is cheaper considering the number of lures they tend to lose.

Also, make sure you take plenty of worms (or other bait) with you. 

If you need some advice, I suggest you get in touch with the team at Fish and Game as the staff are very helpful.  

Mataura Mayflies

Jordan Lane with a cracker brown trout from the middle reaches of the Mataura River.

The middle and lower reaches of the Mataura River have been fishing well over the last month and we have heard reports of some mayfly hatches, particularly in the evening (after 6.30 pm).

When the trout are rising, size 16 and 18 mayfly patterns have been doing the business and when trout are not feeding on the surface, size 16 black bead head hares ear variants have been doing the trick.

Our Lower River Reaches are Firing

In last month’s Reel Life article, we highlighted the excellent fishing conditions in the lower reaches of our rivers.

And guess what?

They're still offering fantastic fishing opportunities, and we highly recommend exploring them.

During the extended summer evenings, the Southland Fish and Game staff have been catching up with anglers along the lower Oreti River near West Plains.

Hamish Robinson, Kaden List, and Brinen List with a fine brown trout from the lower Oreti River.

We recently encountered three young anglers who had some great success using soft baits.

While conversing with them, they caught two impressive trout within the space of five minutes.

They also shared snapshots of their recent catches from the Oreti and Makarewa rivers, showcasing some notably large specimens they had landed.

Fishing on the Aparima River near Gummies Bush.

Additionally, there has been some excellent fishing on offer in the lower Aparima near Gummies Bush.

Fishing A lightly weighted (1/16th of an ounce) natural-coloured soft bait has been the go-to option.

With both the lower Oreti and Aparima being close to home for many anglers, these would be great spots to check out over the summer holiday period.

Tight Lines 

The team at Southland Fish & Game

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