Reel Life January 2024

  • Otago
  • 19/01/2024

Reel Life January 2024

Above: Lucas Rae (right) reeled in this land-locked salmon while fishing with the family (Justine, Amelia, Kieran and Steve) on Lake Hāwea over the Christmas holidays. Photo: Ian Hadland

Summertime hits keep coming

The Southern Lakes have been busy with angling and other boating activities over the Christmas and New Year period. With the silly season passing, it’s time to plan your next outing.

Many holiday-goers will enjoy an extra-long weekend, with Waitangi Day being a Tuesday this year.

This summer has often been windy, so timing your trip and finding shelter is the key.

Fishing their lures deep, boat anglers have been getting good results, such as the Rae family, who wound in a salmon while rangers were conducting compliance checks at The Neck in Lake Hāwea.

Shore-based lure anglers have been hooking up by allowing lures to sink to the thermocline or fishing the edges in the evenings or mornings.

The next inland hot spell should bring on cicadas, especially around tussocks and bush-lined waterways.

These can be targeted with dry imitations on fly gear or with a bubble float on spinning gear.

Remember, if you’re planning to bring home some wild kai, then keep your catch cool with ice.

Taieri on top

Bruce Quirey releases a brown trout which took an adult damsel imitation in the Taieri River last weekend. Photo: David Dodd

This week’s rain will recharge the region’s rivers, cooling water temperatures and raising levels.

The Taieri River level has been low recently, but it still fished well last weekend.

Surface-feeding brown trout were hooked in both the lower and upper reaches of the river.

They were taking dry fly imitations such as adult damsels and beetles, nymphs, and (near willows) willow grubs.

Perch are also on the bite in the lower Taieri. 

Good start to new river rules

Otago Fish & Game rangers monitoring the newly categorised Designated Waters this season have found more than 90 per cent of anglers complying with the rules.

Otago’s Designated Waters include the Greenstone, Caples, Nevis, upper Pomahaka, upper Lochy, Hunter, Dingle Burn, Young and Wilkin Rivers.

If you want to fish these waters, you require a valid Designated Waters Licence in addition to your whole season fishing licence.

Take a screenshot of your Designated Waters licence on your mobile phone, or print out your licence and carry it in a ziplock bag.

Don’t be one of those people whose fishing trip was ruined by having their gear seized and receiving an offence notice.

Click here for more info on Otago Designated Waters.

Greenstone Controlled Fishery

A controlled fishery system will apply to the upper Greenstone River from February 1 to March 31.

Anglers wanting to fish the Greenstone Controlled Fishery must first obtain a valid whole-season licence and a Designated Waters licence for the days they intend to book.

Bookings for one of three beats on the upper Greenstone may be made via the Fish & Game website up to five days in advance, including the day the angler intends to fish.

Click here for more info on the Greenstone Controlled Fishery.

Phoenix Dam

Anglers are advised to stay away from Phoenix Dam. Photo: Steve Dixon

The public are being advised by Clutha District Council to avoid Phoenix Dam, which is being dewatered due to safety concerns.

Phoenix is a small dam near Lawrence and is not specifically listed in the Fish & Game regulation guide.

CDC says the water is being siphoned to reduce the impact of risk of any potential failure of the dam.

The dam edges are muddy and hazardous.

Grass carp alert

Please contact Fish & Game if you see a grass carp in Otago waterways. Photo: Supplied.

Anglers are being asked to be on the lookout for a grass carp after one was caught recently in Lake Dunstan. 

Fish & Game suspects the carp came from authorised releases into contained ponds near Queenstown.

The carp had possibly escaped during spring floods into Lake Hayes and swum down the Kawarau River into Lake Dunstan.

Grass carp cannot readily breed in New Zealand outside of captivity.

However, they do pose a risk of disease entering our highly valued fisheries.

Grass carp are a herbivorous fish native to Asia and have been used in parts of New Zealand to control aquatic weed growth.

They commonly grow over half a metre in length and weigh 10kg.

If you see one of these fish in our waterways, please contact Fish & Game. 

Takitakitoa Wetland Walking Tour

Helping with planting at Takitakitoa Wetlands last year were Te Nukuroa O Matamata members (from left) Will Dawson, Teige Sherwood-O’Regan, Rory Luxton, Karen Mayhew, Zac Shepherd and Robyn Ashton with Otago Fish & Game officer Steve Dixon. Photo: Bruce Quirey

Join Fish & Game staff for a walking tour at Takitakitoa Wetland to mark World Wetlands Day.

The event starts at 6 pm on Friday, February 2.

Takitakitoa is one of the largest wetland restoration projects in the country.

This is a chance to explore the flora and fauna that have recolonised and learn more about this wetland since it was restored by Fish & Game in 2016.

The wetland is at the end of Takitakitoa Rd, about 40 40-minute drive south of Dunedin, on the lower Taieri.

Click here for more details, including directions on how to get there.

Taiari Wai River Festival

The Backyard Bass casting game was a hit with the kids at Patearoa last weekend. Photo: Bruce Quirey

Kids showed some cool casting skills playing Backyard Bass with Otago Fish & Game at the Taiari Wai River Festival at Patearoa on Saturday.

This inaugural community event was staged by Tiaki Maniototo, celebrating the local waterways and habitat with live music, food, native plants and some fun bioscience. 

Win with #ReWild

Fish & Game NZ is continuing its ReWild Snap’n’Share photo competition until March 31, with $2000 worth in prizes from Kilwell Sports up for grabs. Submit your best NZ sports fishing photo on the ReWild campaign website. Share it on socials and tag us #ReWildSnap.

Each month, the best photo will win a $250 Kilwell Sports voucher, and the monthly winners will become finalists for the ultimate prize.

Finalists will go to a public vote on Facebook and the winner will receive an additional $1000 from Kilwell Sports.

Be a part of the #ReWild campaign.

The winning photo will be featured on the front of the 2024-2025 fishing licence.  

Select here to enter.

Otago Weekly Fishing Reports

If you haven’t already subscribed, you can get the latest Otago freshwater fishing info emailed directly to you each week.

We’ll send the latest fishing conditions, weather and river flow info, and tips for your next fishing trip.  

Click here to subscribe.

Earlier reports can be read in the Fishing News on our website.

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

Have a safe and happy Christmas.

Tight lines,

The team at Otago Fish & Game

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