Reel Life November 2022

  • Southland
  • 16/11/2022

Reel Life November 2022


In last month’s edition of Reel Life, I wrote about soft baits and how they have become increasingly popular amongst trout anglers and have revolutionised spinning fishing for trout.

There is no doubt that softies are great, but it is important to note that they are not always the key to trout fishing success, and it pays to have a few of the old, tried and tested lures in your tackle box.

Some of the classic old-school metal lures have been around for over 50 years, and for good reason, they catch fish!

Take the Veltic spinner, for example; these lures often perform well in the shallower run and riffle sections of the river.

Above Right: the Veltic spinner is a top-performing trout lure.

For the best results, cast upstream or across the current and retrieve rapidly downstream, so the spinner spins nicely.

The small (size 1) Veltics are great for our smaller rivers and streams, with the larger sizes (size 2 and 3) being well suited to our medium-sized and large rivers.

Trout Dandy

Success with a Dandy lure on the Makarewa River.

Then, we have the seven-gram Dandy lure.

The Dandy has an erratic action, comes in a range of colours and is a nice small lure making it the perfect mouthful for a trout.

The Dandy lure often works well in the mid and lower reaches of our major rivers and is one of the most affordable lures on the sports store shelf.

Then, of course, there is the Toby lure.

The Toby may well be responsible for the capture of more trout than any other lure.

Go for the seven and ten-gram options.

Some great colour combos include black and gold, green and gold and silver (for use in the lower reaches of our rivers).

Grab a few of these lures next time you are in the sports store so you have a few of these old classics available if you need them.


In the leadup to Labour Weekend, 300 pan-sized salmon were released into McGregor Pond for the annual Take a Kid fishing event.

During the event, approximately 70 salmon were caught and weighed in.

Rawiri Wilson Tahuri cropped 01 2022

Rawiri Wilson-Tahuri with a McGregor Pond rainbow trout

If my maths is correct, that leaves 230 salmon still ready and waiting to be caught by a child or junior angler.

During the fishing competition, F&G staff got to chat with many young anglers who were more than happy to spill the beans and tell us exactly what they caught their salmon on.

It appears that quite a few different lures worked well, with silver slices (wedges), tassie devils and bladed spinners often mentioned as successful lures.

Those using baits caught salmon on cooked shrimp, squid, worms, and the Berkley trout nuggets.

The common variable for success with bait was making sure the bait was suspended slightly off the bottom of the pond.

As a bonus to the salmon that were caught, some young anglers caught some nice fat rainbow trout.

The techniques that worked on the salmon also worked on the rainbows.

If you haven’t taken the kids or grandkids to McGregor Pond, consider visiting this month, as there are still plenty of hungry salmon waiting to be caught.

Five access spots handy to Invercargill

Sometimes, due to work or family commitments, we anglers only have a few hours spare to head out for a quick fishing trip, and in such cases, we need a spot that is handy to home.

For Invercargill based anglers, we have several handy access points which are close to home and offer some great fishing opportunities. Here are some options to check out next time you have a few hours spare:

1. Oreti River – West Plains Road

Most Invercargill anglers will be familiar with this spot, but if you are not, it is worth a visit for a quick fish after you finish work. The West Plains Road runs alongside the river and provides lots of easy access. Keep an

Kaden List Oreti trout 2

Kaden List with a fat six-pound brown trout he caught on a soft bait near Branxholme.

eye out for the access stiles. Below the Makarewa River confluence, try bait fishing with a worm or mussel, and above the Makarewa confluence, try Toby lures and soft baits.

2. Oreti River – Wilson Road

The end of Wilson Road (off Taramoa Road) provides some great river access. At this time of year, a smelt imitation streamer can be super effective. There are also some nice riffles, and drifting a small bead head pheasant tail nymph through these areas can often result in success.

3. Oreti River – Turkey Bush Road

Further up the Oreti near Branxholme is Turkey Bush Road. Park at the end of the road near the rail bridge and make your way to the river. There is a footbridge over the river, which provides great upstream access. Soft baits are a great choice in this stretch of river.

4. Makarewa River – Branxholme-Makarewa Bridge

To fish upstream, it is best if you have a set of waders so you can cross the river to access the best side of the riverbank.

Lindsay Withington fishing Makarewa2

Some evening fishing on the Makarewa River near Settlers Road.

5. Makarewa River – Settlers Road

The end of Settlers Road (off Counsel Road) provides easy access to the Makarewa River. The deep holes in the Makarewa are ideal for worm fishing, but bright bladed spinners in the riffles and runs also work well.

Tight Lines

Cohen Stewart, Southland Fish & Game

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