Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 15 February 2024

  • Otago
  • 15/02/2024

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 15 February 2024

Making the most of the wind

Wind has often plagued weekend fishing plans in Otago this season, disrupting casting, disturbing the water and otherwise being downright frustrating.

But on a positive note, the wind blows a smorgasbord of prey items onto the river, and fish often key into these. Make sure to match your fly as close as possible to the insects trapped on the surface.

When searching for fish on a windy day, take extra time to watch likely holding waters, such as pools or steady runs. Seeing a set of jaws snapping a fly from the surface is sometimes the one opportunity to pinpoint fish when the surface is distorted.

When casting in the wind, limit the number of false casts and keep your line low to avoid too much exposure. Try to position yourself so the wind works to your benefit, for example, coming over your dominant shoulder.

Don’t forget to wear sunglasses or other eye protection from any wayward casts.

Above: A large number of cicadas blown onto the water from a strong north-westerly ensured this brown trout didn’t hesitate to rise when Jayde nailed his cast and presented an imitation. Photo: Mason Court.


Lake Hāwea Family Fishing Classic

Despite some less-than-ideal weather on Saturday, the Lake Hāwea Family Fishing Classic was a success with many families braving the conditions and being rewarded with some excellent fish.

Almost all fish this year were in good condition and should make for good eating. Competition rules stipulated that all fish at the weighed-in must be chilled and this ensured they were in the best state for eating later.

One young angler’s dreams of landing a double-digit trout during the competition were dashed when the large trout he was fighting turned out to be a 5.5kg longfin eel. This was gently weighed then released back into the lake.

Many larger trout were caught up the top end of the lake by anglers who braved the strong winds and waves. Good catches of salmon were reported around The Neck.


Coastal success

Caroline Quirey spin-fishes with soft bait on the lower Taieri River. Photo: Bruce Quirey.

Perch are providing plenty of entertainment for anglers in the coastal reaches, such as the lower Taieri and Clutha/Mata-au rivers and Lake Waihola. Soft baiting or fishing with a worm have been the most common methods of targeting these tasty fish.

Meanwhile, kahawai have been prolific in our coastal waters this season. They are good fun on light gear and present a real challenge for anglers.

Remember, anglers don’t need a fishing licence to target kahawai but anyone without a licence must release any sports fish (trout, salmon or perch) caught. All anglers should be prepared to be questioned by a ranger if they have gear which could also reasonably take sports fish within 500 metres of a river mouth. This is to make sure they are aware of the need for a licence for sports fish, and to confirm they are only targeting kahawai.


Summer’s ending

Above: A large mayfly sitting on the lake surface of lake Wānaka. Photo: Ben Sowry

Cooler evenings and mayfly hatches signal the end of summer isn’t too far away, says Santillan from Patagonia Queenstown.

Late afternoon and evening hatches can offer some dynamic fishing. Focusing on small size 16-18 imitations, popular mayfly patterns include Parachute Adams and Dad’s Favourites while Pheasant tail and Flashback nymphs can be used to imitate the hatching nymphs.

CDC feathers are your friend for anglers tying mayfly patterns, Santillan says. Leave the wings long and trim to length riverside to best match the hatch.

Mayfly hatches commonly occur on the Taieri, Clutha-Mata-au and Manuherikia rivers.


Fly-fishing courses

Esteemed angler and fishing columnist Mike Weddell is running a four-part fly-fishing course in Dunedin. Classes will be held every Monday night during March (4th, 11th, 18th, 25th).

The course will be held at the Otago Fish & Game office, corner of Hanover and Harrow Streets, Dunedin, from 7pm-9pm.

The course covers all aspects of fly fishing, tackle selection, casting, trout behaviour, what they feed on, which flies to use and how to fish them.

The total cost is $70. Phone Mike on 027 577 2439 or email mike@mikeweddellflyfishing.co.nz


Fish sitting deep, acoustic survey shows

A display of the high-tech echo sounder sending the data back to a laptop for analysis. Note the fish at 20m displayed by the red arch. Photo: Mason Court.

Otago Fish & Game are this week completing acoustic monitoring of fish populations in lakes Wakatipu, Wānaka and Hāwea.

Staff will analyse a huge of amount data recorded by a high-tech echo sounder and report to the council in a few months.

What we can say already is that fish in Lake Wānaka were detected mostly at depths of 20m.

So go low, with leadlines, bibbed lures and downriggers. There have been recent reports of lake snow in Wānaka fouling fishing line, so check your gear and clear it if necessary.

Remember to always check, clean, dry your gear before heading to different lakes and waterways.

The council has made it a strategic priority to determine drivers for changes in the trout and salmon populations and to establish long-term monitoring in the Southern Lakes fisheries.


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 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:


An excellent fishing weather forecast for Friday and Saturday in Dunedin. Clear skies and light winds are forecast until Sunday afternoon. Isolated showers and stiff north-westerlies are forecast to develop on Sunday afternoon with heavy rain and strong south-westerlies for Monday.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 2.25 cumecs, and the water temperature was 19.7 degrees.

Click here for live weather updates.




Finally a weekend without rain forecast for Wānaka. Slap on the sunblock and get among the excellent angling conditions with light winds forecast from Friday to Sunday afternoon. Showers are forecast for Monday, hopefully cooling and topping up rivers.

Click here for live weather updates.



Friday and Saturday are forecast to be stunning days around Alexandra with a light winds and mostly clear skies. With cicadas in full swing, Saturday could provide some excellent fishing at the larger reservoirs. North-westerlies and showers are forecast to develop on Sunday evening, with more showers to develop on Monday.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

Mixed forecast this weekend for the lower Clutha. Isolated showers are expected throughout Saturday and westerlies developing from morning. Sunday is forecast for isolated showers, clearing to partly cloudy in the afternoon with north-westerlies in the morning. Monday is forecast for rainfall and westerlies, which may cause the Pomahaka River to rise.

The Pomahaka River was flowing at 5.9 cumecs at the time of writing.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is flowing at 520 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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