Reel Life November 2022

  • Otago
  • 16/11/2022

Reel Life November 2022

Here come the salmon

Otago Fish & Game staff have been interviewing anglers around Lake Hāwea, to get an overview of the fishery.

Catches on the lake have been good this season so far, with a perfect rate of regulation compliance from anglers, too.

During late spring and early summer, salmon will school at certain parts of our lakes.

Hot spots are The Neck and the dam wall in Lake Hāwea, the Clyde Dam in Lake Dunstan, and around the Devil’s Staircase in Lake Wakatipu.

Salmon numbers have been low in recent years in Lake Wānaka, so in this lake, they could turn up anywhere at any time.

Above Right: Landlocked salmon are suckers for shiny and brightly coloured lures. Photo: Ben Sowry

Anglers wishing to catch these tasty fish will do well with anything shiny or brightly coloured.

Zed spinners, Tobies, Rapalas, blade spinners and Tasmanian Devil/Cobra lures are all excellent catchers for these fish.

Colours to use are bright silver, hot pink or fluorescent green.

These fish are often in deeper water, so anglers trolling from boats should use downriggers, lead lines or paravanes to get their lures down.

If fishing from the shore, allow your lure to sink down in the water column before retrieving it.

Softly does it

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Cody Labes landed this rainbow during the soft bait clinic at the Wānaka Outlet this month. Photo: James Flett, ‘The Anglers Logbook’

A group of Otago anglers are charging into the 2022-23 fishing season with a deadly set of soft bait fishing skills.

About 80 people attended soft bait clinics at Henley and Wānaka run this month by Otago Fish & Game and presented by Lance Gill, of Okuma.

A school of kahawai gate-crashed the Henley session and about half of the 50 participants hooked up.

Though not the target species, it was a lesson in how effective soft-bait fishing is.

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Rangi Clark prepares to cast a soft bait under the watch of honorary ranger Mike Teasdale at Henley. Photo: Bruce Quirey

About 30 anglers attended the Wānaka clinic, where keen teen angler Cody Labes showed up the crowd by landing a rainbow.

Here are five soft bait tips:

  • Get your gear close to the bottom.
  • Cast and let it drift or sink, always staying in contact.
  • Use a nodding retrieve to imitate a wounded fish.
  • If you get a bite and don’t hook up, leave it out and let it drift.
  • Use light, strong line – braid is ideal.

Check the fishing regulations for your local waters about where you can use soft baits.

Non-scented soft baits fall into the category of spin fishing.

Scented soft baits are classed as bait which are not permitted in some waters, such as Dunedin’s water supply reservoirs.

Exploring backwaters

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The prize of a stealthy approach. Photo: Bruce Quirey

When fishing rivers, pay attention to the backwaters and eddies.

Fishing an Otago stream with good spring flow recently revealed brown trout in almost every backwater.

Browns were holding in slack water with their noses edged up to the current carrying food past like a sushi train.

Others swam backwater beats, casually slurping off

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A backwater brown that was feeding minutes earlier is on alert. Photo: Bruce Quirey

the top.

Another parked below a bubble line in the shallow edge of a pool.

Backwater fish can be easily spooked. Take your time. Be stealthy. Work out the fish’s beat, use cover to your advantage, and avoid line drag.

Otago Outstanding Waterbodies Study

Please take this important survey to help inform decision makers what Otago waterbodies mean to 2022 November Reel Life Outstanding Waterbodies Surveythose who use them for recreation.

The independent researchers will share their findings widely and hope to influence how recreation is considered in legal and regulatory processes in New Zealand.

The survey will be open until mid-December. There are 10 $100NZD store vouchers on offer. More details are available at

Land and Water Regional Plan meetings

What can you do to help our environment?

Check out these dates for community meetings as Otago Regional Council continues round two of consultation over the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan.

The consultation will present options for managing water and land in your area. Tell them what you value about waterways for angling and game bird hunting in your area.

If you see pollution, call the ORC Hotline immediately: 0800 800 033

Beat the holiday rush

Looked at a calendar lately and got a fright?

Summer holidays are rushing up. Don’t fret about buying a fishing licence as you load the car and tell Johnny to leave little brother alone.

Instead, beat the rush and do it online by clicking here.

Otago has hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams waiting for you.

Unwind, reconnect with friends and family, and get outdoors among nature.

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

Tight Lines

Bruce Quirey, Otago Fish & Game.

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