Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 11 April 2024

  • Otago
  • 11/04/2024

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 11 April 2024

Lakes calling as rain falling

With substantial rainfall expected across the region before the weekend, many rivers are likely to be less than ideal for fishing. However, lakes and reservoirs can be fished either soon after or even during the rain.

Be aware that heavy rain may bring logs and other debris into the lake.

Mark, from Southern Wild Wānaka, had an excellent autumn day fishing on Lake Wānaka with many fish in top condition and putting up a strong fight. He noted an absence of lake snow. On this day, the lead line outperformed the downrigger for fishing success.

Pictured above: Southern Wild Wānaka staff member Connor and his partner Courtney with a brown trout caught using a lead line on Lake Wānaka. Credit: Mark Sanders.


Shift in diet

Cate Lee with a large brown trout jack taken on a size-16 bead-headed nymph presented down his feed lane. Credit: Chris Dore.

Plenty of opportunities remain to fish in the backcountry.

While many waters close at the end of April, other backcountry areas are open until the end of May. Check your regulations for the season open dates. Prey items in these areas have shifted. Put away the cicada and blowfly imitations and concentrate on smaller mayfly dries, emergers and nymphs.

If necessary, lengthen your leader and ensure the nymphs are heavy enough to reach the fish's depth. Streamers may also provoke strikes, but make sure they have enough weight to sink in front of the fish.

As we approach spawning season, take extra care when handling the fish to protect their health and the sustainability of the fishery.


Reading the rain

Being able to access information about recent rainfall and flow rates can be incredibly helpful when choosing a river to fish for the weekend.

The ORC portal provides a convenient way to check rainfall and flow rates from the comfort of home before heading to the river. A key tip is to look for rivers that are coming back down towards or just above their median flow, as this indicates more stable conditions for fishing.

You can click here to access the ORC Environment data portal.


Staying local

With mixed weather forecast for most of the region this weekend, close local spots are a good option to make the most of any breaks in the weather.

Dunedin has three main reservoirs close to town (click on the links below to watch videos):

Ryan, from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin, says anglers are still having success when casting black-and-gold paddle tail soft baits into the deeper section of Southern Reservoir. Most fish are striking as the lure drops.


Salmon hot spots

Now the weather is cooler, salmon will be building up at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

After spending three years in the lake, mature salmon run up the rivers to spawn, and then die. Before their migration, these salmon are at their peak condition, and their flesh is filled with healthy omega-3 fats and oils, and perfect for the table.

Hot spots for boat anglers to try are trolling between the Rees and Dart river mouths with a lead line or downrigger. For anglers without downriggers or lead lines, try drifting with the motor off, and casting from the boat.

Shore anglers can catch salmon from the mouth of the Rees River, near Glenorchy. If fishing from shore, we urge all anglers to wear lifejackets, and fish with a companion. This area has tragically claimed some lives over the years, due to the soft sand and fierce undertow.

Salmon normally build numbers up at river mouths, waiting until the water recedes after a flood. With heavy rain forecast, the salmon will be waiting in the lake, ready for the conditions to stabilise.


Brighten up

Lure colours to use for these salmon are bright chartreuse, hot pink, or shining silver or gold. For casting, try spinner baits such as Veltics or spoons in smaller sizes like 7gm. For trolling, it’s hard to go past the classic Tasmanian Devils or Cobras.

The bag limit for Lake Wakatipu is four salmon.

There is a zero-bag limit for salmon in the rivers flowing into the lake, so any salmon accidently caught when trout fishing must be released.


Aquatic weed spraying

Boat-based aquatic weed spraying using diquat is scheduled for the Kawarau River this Friday, April 12, targeting areas from Kawarau Falls Bridge to the Shotover River confluence.

The operation is expected to last only one day and will not occur on weekends or public holidays. Diquat gel will be used, subject to suitable conditions, and a 24-hour precautionary period for swimming, fishing, and water usage is recommended post-treatment.

For more information, phone Boffa Miskell Ltd Biosecurity on 0800 638 943, email biosecurity@boffamiskell.co.nz, or go to the LINZ website.


Clyde Dam live webcam

A screengrab of the Clyde Dam webcam taken at the time of writing.

Want to know conditions at Clyde Dam? Check this live webcam sponsored by Contact Energy updated every 15 minutes.


Lake Wānaka live webcam

A screengrab of the Lake Wānaka webcam taken at the time of writing

Want to know conditions at Lake Wānaka? Check this live webcam from the Wānaka water sports facility.

Here’s the weekend outlook:



Rain is forecast to clear on Friday afternoon with southerlies easing later. Local rivers will be running high and dirty, but falling. Saturday and Sunday are looking fine. Cloud is expected to clear on Saturday afternoon and return on Sunday.  

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 3.36 cumecs at the time of writing but would rise. The water temperature was 13.5 degrees C.

Click here for live weather updates.



Heavy rain is expected to ease and then clear on Friday afternoon. Showers on Saturday should clear in the afternoon. Light wind is expected on Saturday and Sunday. Rivers will be up. Lakes will be the best options. Beware of floating debris.

Click here for live weather updates.



Rain should clear on Friday afternoon. Cloud is expected to clear on Saturday afternoon and Sunday is looking sunny. Light winds are tipped for the weekend. Rivers will be up and dirty. The reservoirs or Lake Dunstan will be worth a visit, but beware of floating debris.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

Rain is set to clear late morning on Friday, remaining cloudy. On Saturday cloud should clear early but expect some westerlies in the afternoon and evening. Sunday is looking cloudy with the odd shower clearing. If fishing high and dirty water, try heavier lures and target eddies behind rocks and permanent structures where fish may shelter from the strong current.

The Pomahaka River was flowing at 6.96 cumecs at the time of writing. Expect it to rise.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha was flowing at 429 cumecs.

Click here for live weather updates


Getting started

Need a fishing licence? Go online here, and let the angling adventures begin.


Got any Otago fishing news?

Send your fishing news and photos (with anglers’ names) to otago@fishandgame.org.nz for consideration in the weekly report.  If photographing a fish to be released, hold the fish over water and make it quick – the fish should not be out of the water for more than five seconds.


Tight lines, 

Otago Fish & Game

More Posts