Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 12 October 2023

  • Otago
  • 12/10/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 12 October 2023

Above right: Hadley McElrea (9) with a cracker rainbow trout caught trolling near the Lake Wānaka outlet. Photo: Geoff McElrea.

Windy weekend ahead

Calm weather has allowed many of the rivers and lakes to clear the last of suspended sediment from recent flooding. Rivers such as the Pomahaka, Taieri and the Clutha have returned to median flows and water clarity has improved. Wind is likely to be the main adversary for anglers this weekend as strong westerlies batter the region. Finding a sheltered location will be the key element. If you can adapt to the wind, then reports suggest the fish you find will likely be on the chew.

Lake fishing warming up

With the warm weather settling now is an excellent time to dust the cobwebs off the boat and go for a spin around one of Otago’s wonderful lakes.

Mark from Southern Wild in Wānaka says customers are experiencing good catches around the Wānaka outlet, Matukituki mouth and up Stevenson arm. Mark had an excellent day on Lake Wānaka using green-and-gold Tasmanian Devils combined with downriggers and lead lines, catching some excellent-conditioned fish.

Lake Dunstan is mostly cleared of debris and water clarity has improved from the flooding a few weeks ago. Tim from Central Otago Hunting & Fishing says this has allowed anglers to sight-fish the lake edge and the top of the lake for cruising fish.

Mike Weddell with a 2kg brown trout caught on a hare’s ear nymph in the Shag River/Waihemo. Photo: Bruce Quirey 

Spooky browns put skills to the test

It’s been said just looking at a brown trout in the wrong way in the Shag River/Waihemo will cause them to slip away into the shadows. These well-dispersed and spooky fish live up to their reputation for challenging sport. A morning’s fishing revealed only one trout in the lower reaches. Upriver in the afternoon, some good fish were spotted cruising in long, deep pools, requiring quick and accurate casts. The streambed rocks held mayfly and stone caddis nymphs.

Access is mostly from side roads along SH85. It should be noted the Shag/Waihemo has no Queen’s Chain, however, most landowners will allow access if anglers show the courtesy of seeking permission, leave gates as found and do not disturb stock.

The Cardrona River at the Ballantyne Road bridge on Wednesday afternoon. The river is running clear and at a suitable flow for many types of fishing methods. Photo: Mason Court

World Jetboat Marathon event

The Cameron Moore Memorial World Jetboat event is being held from October 14-22. However, the event is only within the Otago region from October 15-17.

Otago rivers this will affect are:

  • Kawarau River: Sunday, October 15, 9am-5pm
  • Dart River: Monday, October 16, 9am-4.30pm
  • Matukituki River: Tuesday,  October 17, 9am-5pm

Anglers are encouraged to avoid these rivers during these dates in order to have an uninterrupted day’s fishing. All rivers and times are subject to change at the organising committee’s discretion. We will aim to keep you updated via our Facebook page.

Nevis Road update

Due to extensive road damage, only four beats of the Nevis River are currently accessible by vehicle. They are The Preservation, Settlement, Robertson Road and Commissioners beats. The Nevis Gorge and Top Flat beats are unreachable by vehicle at this stage.  

Central Otago District Council advises the Nevis Road will remain closed to vehicular traffic until Friday November 10, from Commissioners Creek to the Southland District Council boundary. Multiple land slips and washouts caused by severe rainfall and snow melt have made the road impassable.  Council maintenance contractors are working to reopen the road to the public as soon as possible. For CODC updates on temporary road closures, click here.

For more info on Designated Waters and the Nevis voluntary beat system, click here.

The water level at Lake Mahinerangi is below the concrete boat ramp at Edgar Stark Bridge and falling. Boaties need to take care. Photo: David Young

Lake level lowering

Boaties heading to Lake Mahinerangi will need to take care to avoid getting vehicles stuck when launching.

The lake level has dropped below the concrete boat ramp at the Edgar Stark Bridge and the gravel edge is soft.

Manawa Energy says it is lowering the lake to facilitate the upcoming Waipori scheme outage.

The lake will be lowered to about 382m above sea level, almost a metre below its current level of 382.94m.

Manawa will cease generation at the start of November 1 to carry out annual maintenance and repairs. The energy company anticipates the lake level will return to a more normal level mid to late January 2024.

The lake level can be monitored here.


2023 Soft bait clinics

Want to learn how to catch more trout, salmon and perch using soft baits? Join Otago Fish & Game and Lance Gill from Okuma for our FREE evening clinics.

  • Manuherekia River mouth, corner of Rivers and Tarbert Streets, Alexandra, 6.30pm, November 8.
  • Taieri River, Taieri Ferry Rd, next to the red bridge, Henley, 6.30pm, November 15.

Go to Otago Fish & Game events to register.

Lake Wānaka live webcam

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

Here’s the weekend outlook:


Friday afternoon and Saturday morning are the pick of the conditions for Dunedin this week, with light variable winds and clear skies forecast. Stiff southwesterlies and showers develop on Saturday afternoon. Showers and strong westerly winds continue throughout Sunday and Monday.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 21 cumecs

The water temperature was 10 degrees C.

Click here for live weather updates.


Wānaka is forecast for a wet weekend, with heavy showers expected to develop on Saturday before easing to intermittent showers on Sunday and Monday. Strong westerlies are forecast on Saturday morning. Click here for live weather updates.



Alexandra is the pick of Otago this forecast, with intermittent showers over the weekend. Showers are forecast to develop on Saturday afternoon before clearing Sunday morning. Forecast light winds and pleasant temperatures should make for good fishing conditions.

Click here for live weather updates.

Clutha Regional Forecast

Make the most of Friday afternoon and Saturday morning for favourable angling conditions around the Lower Clutha, in particular the Pomahaka River, which has returned to its median flow and should make excellent fishing. Fresh westerlies develop on Saturday afternoon bringing rain showers turning heavy on Sunday, before slightly easing on Monday.

The Pomahaka River flow was 15.8 cumecs.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha was 654 cumecs.  

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.

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.

More Posts