Reel Life October 2020

  • Otago
  • 20/10/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life October 2020

Opening and Beyond

If you managed to find some fishable water around opening, you probably had some success.

Heavy rain in Southland made it difficult for those that headed that way, but if you stayed in Otago, the weather was much more forgiving.

Reports are beginning to trickle in, of a bumper start to the 2020/21 fishing season, from all around the region.

East Coast rivers and streams stayed pretty clear with several fish being caught in the Waikouaiti and Shag rivers.

Both remain well below their median levels for this time of the year and without any significant rain could become warm and weedy before too long.

The lower Clutha has had its usual ups and downs with the vagaries of power generation but has continued to fish well.

Trout are still actively targeting smelt in the tidal reaches and will take most light coloured lures.

The Central Lakes are beginning to produce some nice fish as the weather warms and it won't be long before trout start cruising the shallows looking for food.

The tussock lakes of Central Otago and the Maniototo irrigation dams are always worth a go if the spring weather doesn’t play ball.

You will have to wait till the hotter months of December, January and February before you see any cicadas on the water.

Try a damsel nymph, water boatman or dark lures such as a black & Gold Toby or softbait.

Junior Anglers – Catch a tagged trout – win a new rod and reel!

Steve Dixon, Fish and Game Officer and Oceana Macraes Trout Hatchery manager, has released six large tagged trout into Dunedin's three stocked dams; the Southern Reservoir, Sullivan’s Dam and Tomahawk Lagoon.

The fish have an orange tag located at the base of their dorsal fins.

If a junior angler (aged under 18) catches one of the fish, a wonderful new rod and reel await – courtesy of Mike Teasdale Motors in Kaikorai Valley Rd, Dunedin.

All you need to do is to take a photo of the fish – remove the tag (you can keep or return the fish) then bring the tag down to the Dunedin Office to collect your prize.

We will take your photo to post on Facebook also.

So far, three of the tagged fish have been caught.

One from each of the dams so there is still one left in each.

Above Right: Brothers Ted, five, and Zac Johnston, eight, from Dunedin with their large tagged trout caught in Sullivan’s Dam. It was a team effort by the boys and they are going to share the new rod and reel.

Softbait clinics

Once again, we are holding a series of riverside, soft bait (soft plastic) fishing clinics.

The clinics are designed for spin anglers that wish to give soft plastic lures a go or if you want to pick up some fresh tips and tricks to improve your chance of success.

We will be covering the gear needed, types of soft baits and jig heads, how to rig your line and tie knots, threading the bait on the jighead and most importantly, how to fish the soft plastic lure successfully (not the same as a hard-bodied lure!).

Then you get a chance to have a go and get some feedback on your technique.

Locations of Softbait Clinics:

  • Lower Taieri River at Outram Glen on Nov 11th at 6:30 pm
  • Manuherikia River in Alexandra on 22nd Nov at 11 am
  • Lake Wanaka Outlet - Wanaka on 24th Jan 2021 at 11 am

Please click here to register.

Backcountry opening

8435 FG Backcountry Stamp Aug15 BIG2The word around the office is “It's never been a better time” to have a go at a backcountry fishery.

Otago has nine designated Backcountry (BC) fisheries and they all require a Backcountry licence endorsement in addition to a whole season licence. Get yourBackcountry endorsement here.

All these BC waters will open on the 1st of November except the Pomahaka and Nevis which have already opened (on the 1st of October).

Anglers who apply for the Backcountry Endorsement will be issued with an updated copy of their licence showing the backcountry endorsement stamp.

Anglers must carry this copy of their licence with them when fishing backcountry rivers.

Holders of a backcountry licence endorsement are required to cooperate with Fish & Game requests for angling information, usually via an online survey.

Notethat a one day, short break or long break licence does not qualify for the backcountry endorsement that's needed to fish the backcountry.

Useful links:

  • Otago Fish & Game Facebook Page:
  • ORC water monitoring website provides a wealth of information regarding flows, levels and rainfall around the region. The map allows quick access to flow information regarding your favourite spot.

  • Walking Access Commission Maps (WAMS) – showing public accessible areas in NZ

  • ORC pollution hotline: 0800 800 033

Tight lines

Nigel Pacey, Otago Fish & Game Officer.

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