Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 11 January 2024

  • Otago
  • 11/01/2024

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 11 January 2024

Pictured above: Lucy Mitchell, of Dunedin, with a rainbow trout caught trolling on Lake Dunstan last weekend. Credit: Bruce Quirey. 

Holiday anglers make a splash

Happy New Year from the team at Otago Fish & Game. Hopefully everyone has had a good summer break as well as managing to get out for a fish or two.

The central lakes have been busy over the holiday season with sheltered lake arms and bays providing relief for anglers from the pesky wind that has plagued Central Otago this summer.

The Neck on Lake Hāwea and Stevensons Arm and Paddock Bay on Lake Wānaka have been the hotspots for both shelter and strikes, says Connor from Southern Wild Wānaka.

As the temperatures continue to warm, anglers are recommended to increase the depth of their lure to target the thermocline layer where the fish are feeding. This can be done using a paravane, downrigger or leadline.

Traffic light Tasmanian devils and Tobys have been hot favorites this summer with pink also accounting for a number of fish, including many tasty salmon.


Boxing Day special

Susan Knowles with her personal best trout caught at Poolburn Reservoir on Boxing Day. Credit: Susan Knowles.

Susan Knowles from the Mataura Angling Club had an excellent week at Poolburn Reservoir, catching her biggest ever trout.

Susan encountered Fish & Game rangers conducting compliance checks on the dam and impressed them with photos of her catch.

Susan and her partner had a friendly competition during their stay at the reservoir to see who could catch the first fish, biggest fish and the most fish. Well, this year Susan swept the competition winning all three categories with her largest fish coming on Boxing Day shortly after they arrived. Most fish, including the largest, were caught on a worm fished in front of the hut with a small weight. Susan says she was meant to be the learner on the trip, however, with seven fish to the bank over the course of the week we aren’t convinced.


Perch fishing heating up

Breyden Aranas, from Australia, landed this Waipori River perch, which ended up in a tasty fish burger. Credit: Bruce Quirey.

Perch have been highly active in recent weeks. Perch are more active in warm water and easier to catch than trout or salmon, so they are a great family fishing option over the summer.

Perch are easy to catch and their firm white flesh is good eating. Brightly coloured soft plastics are effective. They also take spinners, natural baits such as worms and maggots, and feathered lures or nymphs. Many anglers say red lures work the best. Small blade spinners, such as Mepps and Jensen, Rapalas and Zeds, are popular. Lake Waihola holds large numbers of perch. The lower Taieri and Clutha rivers also hold good populations. They are also in Tomahawk Lagoon.

In Central Otago, perch can be caught in Butchers and Conroys dams near Alexandra, the Manuherekia River, and Fraser Dam near Clyde. They’re also found in Lakes Hayes and Lake Johnson near Queenstown. Target perch near underwater structures or snags. They tend to swim in small schools, so if they start biting, stay there.

Take care handling perch, which have several sharp spines, including one on each gill cover. There is no bag limit for perch, however, you do require a current sportfishing licence to fish for them.

West Coast Fish & Game has put together this helpful video on how to target perch


Kaikorai Estuary

Excellent-conditioned sea-run brown trout are being caught at the Kaikorai Estuary, says Hadlee from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin. These fish are best targeted on incoming tide as baitfish push in with the tide.

Small baitfish imitation lures and streamers can be effective. Hadlee’s favourite way to target these fish is using a small soft bait paired with an ultra-light jig head to match the baitfish as close as possible.

For tips and advice for getting your best out of your soft bait click here.


Pomahaka River

Above: Sharon Milne with a stunning Pomahaka brown trout caught on a black hex wobbler. Credit: Callum Kyle.

Good numbers of brown trout are being reported throughout the Pomahaka River. Otago Fish & Game staff member Sharon Milne caught an excellent conditioned fish from the lower section of the river just before Christmas.

Sharon says its beautiful orange fillets were almost as pretty as the fish itself. One fillet was enjoyed for Christmas lunch while the other half was smoked and sent away as a parting gift for the in-laws.

Rangers conducting Designated Waters monitoring on the upper Pomahaka saw many fish sitting high in the water column feeding on terrestrial prey. With the chirruping of cicadas, the next few weeks may be an excellent time to target these wary larger specimens.


 Grass carp detected

Anglers should report any sightings of grass carp, such as this fish caught by an angler in Lake Dunstan over the holiday period. Credit: Supplied.

Anglers are being asked to be on the lookout for an undesirable fish species after a grass carp was caught recently in Lake Dunstan.

It was suspected that the carp came from authorised releases into contained ponds near Queenstown. The carp had possibly escaped during spring floods into Lake Hayes and swum down the Kawarau River into Lake Dunstan.

Grass carp cannot readily breed in New Zealand outside of captivity so there is no real risk of establishing a self-sustaining population in the wild. However, they pose a potential disease risk to our highly valued fishery.

Any further sightings of grass carp in Otago waterways should be reported to Fish & Game.


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:



There’s a mixed forecast for Dunedin this weekend with rain expected to develop on Saturday afternoon and continue to Monday. Pack a raincoat and take advantage of the rivers receiving a well-needed top-up.

The Taieri River at Outram is flowing at 3.5 cumecs. Expect the flow to increase with the forecasted rain.

Click here for live weather updates. 



Forecast rain will provide a much-needed top-up for many of the streams and rivers around Wānaka this weekend. Showers are forecast to become more persistent and heavier on Saturday evening before clearing late Sunday evening. Monday is the pick of the forecast with clear skies and light wind forecast for most of the day, providing an excellent opportunity to target those refreshed rivers.

Click here for live weather updates.



Like most of the region another variable forecast for Alexandra this weekend. Friday and Saturday morning look to be the pick of the forecast with light winds and clear skies perfect for stalking the edges of the reservoirs or lakes. The weather is forecast to deteriorate Saturday afternoon with heavy showers across the region not forecast to clear until late Sunday evening.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

The wind is forecast to shift from the northwest to the southwest on Saturday afternoon bringing rain showers. Rain and cool air temperatures are forecast for Sunday with westerlies wind developing in the evening.  This rain should provide a welcome refresh for the Pomahaka River, increasing flow as well as decreasing the water temperature.

 The Pomahaka River is currently flowing at 5.1 cumecs.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is flowing at 416 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.

More Posts