Reel Life March 2024 - Southland

  • Southland
  • 21/03/2024

Reel Life March 2024 - Southland

Success at McGregor Pond

Catlins Area School got in touch as they were keen to do some fishing during a school camp in the Te Anau basin. Field Officer, Bill Jarvie was able to point them in the right direction and provide some tuition.

Above: Catlins Area School

Prawn bait took the win on the day.

It was a great group of staff and students, who eagerly took on advice and applied it to their fishing.

For many, this was their first time fishing, however hopefully, not their last.

This summer’s drift counts

Every summer Fish & Game staff carry out drift dive surveys on selected rivers as part of our annual trout monitoring program.

This is our main monitoring tool which provides trends on trout abundance and enables us to detect trends in the trout population over time.

Any significant changes can then be identified, and we’ll be able to investigate potential causes.

This year we had some solid counts on the upper Mataura and Oreti rivers and we can report that the trout were saw were in excellent condition.

The low count on the Monowai River is disappointing and has appeared to suffer badly from the presence of didymo over the last few years.

Trout swimming up from the Waiau River don’t seem to reside for long in the Monowai River, preferring to enter Lake Monowai as soon as flows permit.

Fish & Game staff will follow up with a spawning survey this winter to ensure adequate spawning is happening in the lower Monowai River.

The lower Waiau River

It has been a frustrating season for those who like to fish the lower Waiau River.

To give an idea of how un-fishable it has been this summer, here are its flow levels since the start of the year.

Anything over 100 or so cumecs can make fishing more difficult and we have had flows of 250-450 cumecs.  

However, there is a silver lining.

These floods have sloughed off a lot of the didymo build-up up and the higher flows will have caused fish to move up the system (and also, into the Mararoa River).

With river flows now at around 20 cumecs, the river is currently in the best condition it has been all season and will be well worth a trip over the Easter break.

Explore a new waterway

Continuing the idea of exploration from last month, why not aim to explore a river you may never have fished, or at least in a long time.

Spin fishing on the Waikawa River.

The Waikawa River (pictured above) likely fits that bill as it doesn’t register on many anglers’ radar.

There is ready access, and manageable banks and you’re unlikely to see another angler.

The upcoming Easter break and Southland anniversary will provide a five-day break to explore Southland’s rivers and lakes, so make sure you make the most of it. 

Introduce someone to fishing & grow it

This is the stage of the season when an angler is likely have had somewhat(!) of their fill and might like to focus on introducing others to our favoured hobby. 

We often focus on introducing young people to the things we enjoy, which is great, however, it can be to the oversight of other keen adults.

So, think about that person who made a passing comment about coming fishing and try to make that introductory experience happen this season.

It might be a relative, a friend, someone from a club, another parent you see at school pick-ups, a colleague or heck, even an in-law.

Things grow through participation and with more anglers, advocacy for our freshwater resources has more weight.

He/she might just become a fishing addict, however, don’t worry, there are plenty of fish and fishing spots to go around.

Tight Lines,

The team at Southland Fish & Game


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