Reel Life November 2020

  • Southland
  • 17/11/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life November 2020

Explore the Mid-Oreti this month

The mid-reaches of the Oreti River between Benmore and Castle Rock is a fantastic stretch of river and one of my personal favourites.

This river section is often overlooked by anglers which is a shame because there is a healthy trout population and terrific access.

The Mid-Oreti river is braided in nature which makes it very interesting to fish.

The deep pools and runs tend to hold the fish, especially if they are willow lined.

For optimum angling efficiency, take a set of waders (or wet-wade) and be prepared to cross the river at times so you can fish all the best fish-holding water.

Also, make sure you have a cast or two in any backwaters you come across because they will almost always hold a few solid trout of about three pounds (1.5kg).

Above: A fat brown trout taken from a backwater at the Saleyard Road access on the mid-Oreti.

I find that a natural coloured soft bait with lightly weighted (1/16th oz) jig head works particularly well.

Go for brighter coloured lures and soft baits when the river is slightly discoloured.

Top mid-Oreti access spots:

- Next to the Benmore Hotel – you can drive to the river

- Dipton Bridge – access at David Milligan Park (a great spot for a picnic)

- End of Josephville Glenure Road – a short walk to the river

- Pluto Road West (just inside the Lumsden township) – you can drive to the river

- The Lumsden Bridge – you can drive to the river

- End of Saleyard Road – My favourite spot (a little bit of bush-bashing to get through the willows, but fantastic fishing).

Targeting tidal trout

Smelt lures2

A good selection of smelt imitation lures and a real smelt for comparison.

If you have a chat to a whitebaiter recently, they have probably told you they have not been catching much whitebait but they have been catching lots of smelt.

When whitebaiters tell me they have been catching lots of smelt, it is music to my ears because I know that smelt are an important food source for trout and they are great fun to catch when they are feeding on smelt.

If you can get your hands on some smelt they make great bait and I’ve found the bigger the smelt bait the better.

Check out this link learn how to tie up a bait fishing rig – just pop a smelt on the end of this rig.

If you prefer lure fishing, try to use lures that imitate smelt: silver/white Tobys, silver wedges, silver dandy lures etc.

Good spots to target tidal trout are the lower Oreti near West Plains Road, the lower Aparima near Gummies Bush, the lower Mataura near Railway Bridge Road and the Waiau River estuary.

Clinton & Worsley River ballot

As many anglers will now be aware, fishing on the Clinton and Worsley River is managed via a ballot

Clinton Valley

The scenery on offer in the Clinton Valley.


So far, we have received some great feedback from anglers who have won ballots.

Anglers have appreciated the great fishing, fantastic scenery and knowing that their fishing in these remote rivers was not going to be disturbed by other angling parties.

If you want to enter the ballot to fish the Clinton and Worsley, check out this link for more info:

Good luck and Tight lines!

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game Officer.

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