Otago weekly fishing report - 14 March 2024

  • Otago
  • 14/03/2024

Otago weekly fishing report - 14 March 2024

Pack away the shorts and break out the waders


A forecast cold snap and a sprinkle of rain will continue to keep many of the low flowing rivers cool over the weekend. With overnight temperatures forecast to drop well into single digits, and southerly winds for most of the region, it's shaping up to be a chilly weekend.

Reports are flowing in that the top of the large lakes and the lower sections of the larger tributaries are fishing well as fish start to congregate before their spawning run.

Pictured above: Daniel Muir with a lovely rainbow trout caught using a green soft bait near the Hunter River mouth, Lake Hāwea. Credit: Stan Wilson.

Spinners, streamers and soft baits are all proving to be effective when fished slowly near the river mouths' steep drop-offs. Ensure your lure is close to the bottom in order to maximise success.

Mixing it up

Troy Richardson with a brown trout from one of Otago’s Designated Waters. Credit: Wesley McMyn.

Wānaka angler Angus Borrell has been treating his friends Wesley and Troy from British Columbia to an array of fishing experiences in Otago. Over the past week, they've dived into various adventures, exploring the diverse fishing opportunities this region has to offer.

One day was spent on a Designated Water with mixed results, another day chasing cruising fish around the lake edges.  They also explored a few of Lake Wānaka tributaries’ headwaters to river mouth, with some excellent fishing in the lower sections.

Angus and friends found that early in the day trout were heavily tuned into nymphs and as the day warmed, they would begin to look up, taking a range of cicada and blowfly imitations.

Angus Borrell with a brown trout that was unable to resist the temptation of a small home-tied cicada. Credit: Troy Richardson.


Brigade on angling mission

Boys Brigade member David Horrell adds fishing to his new skills at Southern Reservoir this week. Inset: The boys with Fish & Game officer Steve Dixon (right). Credit: Bruce Quirey.

A group of 12 to 15-year-old youths from Boys Brigade 1st Mosgiel tried their hand at fishing at Southern Reservoir with Otago Fish & Game on Wednesday evening.
For several of them, it was their first try at spin fishing for trout, says BB 1st Mosgiel leader David McMillan.

The fishing adds to a range of new skills and character-developing activities the boys are undertaking to earn their various badges.

Despite their excitement, the fishing was relatively quiet as the boys cast Toby lures to a dam stocked with rainbow trout that are well-educated this late into the season. However, a fly angler reports catching and releasing three brown trout at the reservoir this week.


River research is a net gain for students and urban fishery

Otago University student Owen Dabkowski (left) and Fish & Game ecologist Jayde Couper electric-fish in Lindsay Creek at Bethunes Gully last Friday. Credit: Bruce Quirey.

Zoology Department students researching the brown trout population in the Water of Leith and its tributary Lindsay Creek are surprised at the number of trout they’ve found in the urban Dunedin catchment.
The Otago University project is in its seventh year and the data will help Otago Fish & Game with its management of the fishery.

Read more


Low river reveals explosives

Anglers in the upper Clutha River should be on the watch for any dangerous-looking objects after the bomb squad detonated two explosives found on the riverbank at Clyde this week.
The ODT reports a member of the public found two 15-inch tubes on the riverbank, exposed by the low river levels. The explosive was identified as PowerGel, a commercial product used in construction.

Police said there could possibly be more than two sticks and some had gone down the river.

To read the full ODT article click here.


#REWILD Photo Competition

January Photo Competition winner: "Pretty brown from Ngongotaha". Credit: Dave Williams.

When you are out fishing, don’t forget to take some photos. Enter your images in our monthly fishing licence photo competition, and go in the draw to win a $250 Kilwell voucher.
Plus if you are the monthly winner, have a one in four chance of winning the overall competition and winning an additional $1000 Kilwell voucher.

You can also enter our Wild Kai Photo Competition. Click here to learn more and be ready to enter your Wild Kai photos in the draw.


Across the border - Waitaki River Salmon

The Waitaki River is the southernmost river with a sizeable salmon run. As such, Otago anglers often make the journey north to have a crack at sea-run salmon fishing in March and April – the peak period of the Waitaki River salmon run.
The Waitaki is in the Central South Island Fish & Game Region (not Otago). Sea-run salmon fishing in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions requires you to purchase a sea-run salmon licence and carry a sea-run salmon season bag limit card.

To purchase a sea-run salmon licence you must first hold an eligible whole season sports fishing licence. An Otago local area licence or day licence does not qualify. Click here for more information on the sea-run salmon licence. To read Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly fishing reports, click here.


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 Watersports Facility.


Here’s the weekend outlook:



Friday and Saturday are the more favourable days for angling around Dunedin late this week with showers and fresh south-westerlies forecast to clear Friday morning. Saturday is forecast for low cloud and a light westerly, ideal spinning conditions. The weather turns on Sunday with showers and chilly south-westerlies forecast.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 2.2 cumecs, and the water temperature was 13.8
degrees C.

Click here for live weather updates.


Showers and south-westerlies are forecast for Wānaka on Friday. The weekend looks favourable for angling with light winds, however, significant cloud cover may affect sight-fishing. Cool air temperatures should offer relief to low-flowing rivers.

Click here for live weather updates.



Alexandra is forecast for cool air temperatures and showers on Friday before clearing on Saturday. Anglers should make the most of Saturday morning before cloudy cover and strong north-westerlies develop in the afternoon. Sunday is forecast to be partly cloudy with light winds.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

A cool and damp weekend forecast is for the Lower Clutha this week, with air temperatures not expected above 13 deg C.  Rain is forecast to develop Friday afternoon along with westerly winds. Saturday is forecast for showers, some heavy. Sunday could be the pick of the weekend days with rain and westerly winds easing mid-morning.

The Pomahaka River was flowing at 8.11 cumecs at the time of writing,

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is flowing at 347 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.

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