Reel Life January 2023

  • Otago
  • 24/01/2023

Reel Life January 2023

Summer sizzling

The Christmas-New Year holiday period did not disappoint many anglers looking to relax and reel in a catch.

Start making your next fishing plans.

The February long weekend is fast approaching.

Our rangers are finding anglers having good success on lakes Hawea and Dunstan.

Hawea is delivering salmon and trout for spin anglers and trollers fishing deep with bright-coloured lures.

Above Right:Raymond Ophuis (left) and James Whelan with salmon and trout caught at Lake Hawea.

The Clutha arm of Lake Dunstan is holding good numbers of brown trout, typically around 1.5kg – and some much larger than that.

Fish will respond to a red-black Tasmanian Devil lure fished carefully through the deeper channels.

Fly anglers could do well exploring the shaded edges or open sand patches using damsel fly imitations.

Cicadas are singing during hot days on high-country tributaries and tussock lakes.

This is an exciting time of year for many anglers. Try deer hair or foam imitations, around size 12.

Too many hot days can be hard on trout, so be smart about where and when you fish. On hot days, focus on cooler water:


- ripples,

- shaded edges.

- deeper pools.

  • LAKES:

- deeper water

- river mouths (read on for warning below)

- early mornings

If you plan to keep fish for the table, take a chilly bin with ice.

Otago weekly fishing report

Want the latest Otago freshwater fishing info at your fingertips each week?

Otago Fish & Game has started weekly fishing reports.

Sign up, and every Thursday, we’ll email you the latest fishing conditions, weather and river flow info, and tips for your next fishing mission.

Click hereto subscribe.

Greenstone booking system

IMG 6453

A booking system operates for fishing on the upper Greenstone River in February and March

A controlled fishery period on the Upper Greenstone manages angling pressure in February and March to maintain a wilderness experience during the peak season.

The booking system on the upper Greenstone applies from February 1-March 31.

Bookings can only be made up to five days before your fishing trip, including on the intended day of fishing.

You can select up to a maximum of three consecutive days per booking.

You will need a whole-season fishing licence and a backcountry endorsement.

Click here for more details and to book.

Compliance update

Ranging Dunstan Rangers Daniel Natta and Steve Dixon

Honorary ranger Daniel Natta (left) and field officer Steve Dixon out ranging on Lake Dunstan this summer.

Rangers have been pleased with the high compliance rate of most anglers over the holiday period.

Remember to carry a valid fishing licence whenever you go fishing.

During the summer holiday period:

  • At least 10 offence notices have been issued, mostly for fishing without a licence.
  • One angler faces a more serious charge of obstruction.
  • More than 150 anglers have been checked on lakes Hawea, Dunstan, Wanaka and Wakatipu.
  • More than 200 licences have been checked on Poolburn Dam.
  • Rangers are patrolling many other areas throughout the region.

Family licences

Paddy Anne Pemberton and Blake Harper Hawea Boat ramp 2023

Paddy-Ann Pemberton shows Fish & Game ranger Blake Harper her catch at Lake Hawea.

Rangers have found some anglers confused about their family licence.

The family licence is geared to encourage families to fish together.

Here is a quick guide:

  • It includes a couple and up to four children or grandchildren under the age of 18 at the start of the fishing season on October 1.
  • The licence allows one person (the primary licence holder) or one person and that person's spouse or partner (the secondary licence holder) and their children or grandchildren to fish together.
  • Only the primary licence holder may fish on their own.
  • A secondary licence holder or child wanting to fish alone will need a separate licence.
  • The secondary licence holder may take the children fishing without the primary holder.

Water safety

Drownings this month of two men who had gone to the rescue of children in separate incidents at Glenorchy are heart-wrenching reminders to please take extra care around water.

Both incidents occurred near the mouth of the Rees River.

River mouths where soft sand and gravel drop steeply into the lake are notoriously unstable.

Wearing waders can create further risks.

Previously, anglers have drowned at Glenorchy and other river mouths in the Southern Lakes.

Five safety tips:

  • Fish with a partner.
  • Wear a PFD/lifejacket.
  • Carry a rescue throw rope.
  • Wear a belt around waders.
  • Stay back from the edge of drop-offs.
  • Check conditions before heading out.

Want more info? Check out these links or contact our helpful Otago team.

Tight lines,

Bruce Quirey, Otago Fish & Game

More Posts