Reel Life January 2021

  • Otago
  • 20/01/2021
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life January 2021

Compliance on the lakes

Our ranging team has been busy over the holiday period, checking over 250 anglers on our local waterways.

Most people have been fishing legally, but the occasional offence has occurred.

The most common has been failure to produce a licence.

Under the regulations, you must have a licence available to show a ranger when requested.

A great way to have a copy of your licence is to either screenshot the receipt emailed to you, or to take a photo of your licence with your phone.

As many of our fishing areas lack cell phone reception, it can be difficult to find the receipt on your emails, so having a saved copy in your photos is an easy way of staying compliant.

Other issues are rangers have encountered is people fishing a family licence without the primary licence holder present.

The Family licence allows the primary licence holder, that person's partner (the secondary licence holder), and their children or grandchildren (who are under 18 years of age on October 1) to fish together.

The secondary licence holder may take the children named on the licence fishing, and fish themselves with the children, without the primary holder taking part.

But only the primary licence holder may use this licence to fish on their own.

If family participants, including the secondary licence holder, want to fish independently, they will need a separate licence.

Above: A family enjoying success on lake Wānaka, while being checked by our rangers

Summer is perch season

Summer is Perch Season

Bernard Morrison with a great perch caught recently.

Summer has had a jolty start, but the weather, and waterways are slowly heating up.

The warmer water temperatures can make trout fishing difficult at times, but one locally abundant sports fish relishes the warmer temperatures: the perch.

Many waterways around our larger centres hold perch.

The lower Taieri and the Waipori and Waihola wetlands near Dunedin. Near Balclutha there’s Lake Tuakitoto and the Clutha River.

Butchers dam near Alexandra, Lake Dunstan, and lakes Hayes and Johnson near Queenstown.

Perch are suckers for soft plastic lures, or any lure with red.

Try a very slow retrieve, especially near underwater structure.

Perch ambush prey from weed beds, logs, undercut banks and rocky outcrops.

Go deep in the lakes

Go Deep in the Lakes

Lead lines and Tasmanian Devils were the recipe for producing this rainbow trout.

Our bigger lakes have been fishing exceptionally well over the Christmas and New Year’s period.

Excellent numbers of rainbow and brown trout have been caught in lakes Wānaka, Hāwea, Wakatipu and Dunstan, and some good numbers of landlocked salmon as well from Hāwea.

Most have been caught by deep trolling.

The top performing lures have been Tasmanian Devils, in traffic light or fluorescent pink, or the classic: black and gold toby.

As summer progresses, the surface waters on the likes will warm, causing the trout to move to deeper, and cooler, water.

Anglers trolling with lead lines and downriggers will be catching the bulk of the fish over summer, as their lures will be in the deeper water where the fish are living.

If using a lead line, using at least seven ‘colours’ of line will put you deeper into the strike zone.

Slowing the speed of trolling will also allow the lures to sink deeper and therefore increase the catch rate.

Useful links:

  • Otago Fish & Game Facebook Page:
  • ORC water monitoring website provides a wealth of information regarding flows, levels and rainfall around the region. The map allows quick access to flow information regarding your favourite spot.

  • Walking Access Commission Maps (WAMS) – showing public accessible areas in NZ

  • ORC pollution hotline: 0800 800 033

Tight Lines

Ben Sowry, Otago Fish & Game Officer.

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