Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 12 January 2023

  • 12/01/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 12 January 2023

­­Heat is on for 2023

Image right: A streamer pattern imitating adult whitebait brought this brown trout to the boat in the lower Clutha River. Photo: Ian Hadland

Freshwater fishing is off to a hot start for 2023 in Otago. The weather looks promising this weekend.

Summer heat creates challenges and opportunities.

Trout and salmon don’t love warm water and, in these circumstances, can be harder to locate or less active. Improve your odds of success on the lakes by fishing in the early mornings or evenings, fishing deeper, or at glacially fed river mouths.

High volumes of power boats, biscuits and jet skis can be a turn-off for fishing. Set the alarm early, go fishing before it gets busy, then feel the warm glow of satisfaction as you stroll back into camp with your Omega-3-rich salmonid for breakfast.

Salmon are being caught on traffic light and pink-coloured Tasmanian devil lures in lakes Hawea and Dunstan.

With water temperatures rising at Poolburn Dam, fortune has swung back in favour of bait anglers fishing deep.

Hot days have prompted cicadas to emerge in the Central Otago high-country. Cicada hatches peak when air temperatures reach mid to high 20s. Tussock cicadas are tiny compared with their lowland cousins, so use small imitations.

Drop it on their nose. Targeting feeders on willow grubs in South Otago. Photo: Bruce Quirey

Trout are also locking onto willow grubs falling from trees onto rivers and lake edges. Catching them with grub imitations takes persistence and pin-point accuracy. If all else fails, try something completely different, such as a large dry fly.

Caddis flies swarm at Logan Burn Dam this week. Photo: Bruce Quirey

In the high-country lakes, fish have been feeding under evening clouds of midges and caddis this week. It’s been bedlam and excitement with trout porpoising for emergers and leaping for swarming adults. As the light fades, a deer-hair caddis pattern skated across the surface can induce a strike.

Some call them caddis. Others call them sedge. Trout just find them delicious. Photo: Bruce Quirey

Damsel fly nymphs have been productive at the silty top end of lakes. Small pheasant tail nymphs and blowfly imitations have been working in the tributaries on the Southern Lakes.


Pomahaka slip

Silt ruined plans to fish the Pomahaka last weekend, but the river was clearing this week – until the next rain. Photo: Bruce Quirey

The Pomahaka River has been discoloured since a slip which is understood to have occurred in an upper tributary before Christmas. An isolated thunderstorm, which took out farm roads, sent more silt down the Pomahaka a week ago and wiped any hope of fishing last weekend. While we’re advised by a local farmer the river was clear mid-week, it will take time to gradually resolve after each next downpour.


Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Click here for live weather updates.

Dunedin is expected to be partly cloudy with northeasterlies and isolated showers inland. The Taieri River at Outram was low and 18 deg C at the time of writing. It is looking much improved after the river rose and became discoloured last weekend following heavy rain.



Wanaka can expect higher temperatures heading towards the high 20s with isolated showers on Saturday. Always check the latest reports before heading out on the water.

Click here for live weather updates.




A chance of an afternoon shower on Saturday but those high temperatures on Sunday should have cicadas singing from the tussocks.


Clutha Regional Forecast

The lower Clutha River is running at a reasonable level for a decent crack at trout and perch. A bit of cloud and breeze will make the fish less spooky.

Click here for live weather updates.


For more ORC water monitoring and alerts information click here.

Grab your licence online and let the angling adventures begin.


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