Reel Life January 2022

  • Southland
  • 8/12/2021

Reel Life January 2022


With the summer break fast approaching, we thought we would provide anglers with ten quick fishing tips to make their holiday fishing trips more successful.

Tip 1 – Target the tidal areas

The tidal areas of our main rivers are currently fishing very well. There are loads of smelt (small baitfish) about, and trout will be actively pursuing them. For the best results, use smelt imitation soft baits and lures and fish on the low and incoming tide.

Tip 2 – Give bait fishing a go

Bait fishing is an excellent 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!

Above Right: A mussel bait in the evening often works well on the lower Oreti near West Plains.

Top baits are garden worms, fresh green lip mussels or frozen squid (squid and mussel baits are only permitted in Southland).

To learn more about bait fishing, check out this link:

Tip 3 – Time of day matters

If you are a spin angler, catching trout in bright, sunny conditions is always more challenging.

For the 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

Mayfly 2

Coloburiscus mayfly

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.

Recently, there have been some nice coloburiscus mayfly hatches on the upper Waiau.

So make sure you have some large mayfly imitations in your fly box.

Tip 5 – Take a perch for tea

Perch on table

Perch for tea.

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 it home for tea.

You will not be disappointed.

Tip 6 – Cast from the boat

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 7 – Have a go on the lower Mataura

Smyth family lower Mataura

There are heaps of family-friendly access options on the lower Mataura

The lower Mataura is a great fishing option because there are lots of trout and heaps of great access options; there are more than thirty-five access points between Fortrose and Gore.

Check out this video link for a few lower Mataura fishing tips.

Tip 8 – Check out the middle reaches

The middle reaches of Southland’s major rivers often get overlooked.

These river stretches have great access options and good trout populations.

Check out the Oreti River between Centre Bush and Mossburn, the Aparima River near Wreys Bush and the Mataura River near Knapdale.

Natural coloured soft baits with a 1/12oz jig head will often work well in these areas.

Check out this video for some tips on how to fish the middle reaches.

Tip 9 – Lake Thomas

Lake Thomas Rainbow

A lake Thomas rainbow caught on blowfly imitation.

Lake Thomas is located near Te Anau and is a pleasant fishing destination.

All methods work well; however, targeting rising fish with dry flies is particularly productive.

Exploring the lake with a small boat or kayak would be a great option over the holiday break.

Take some waders or boots so you can wade around the lake edges easily.

Tip 10 – 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.

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.

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