Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 16 February 2023

  • Otago
  • 16/02/2023

All aboard

There’s every reason to get out fishing in Otago this weekend. The weather looks fine and with the right tactics, there’s every chance of success. Read on for great tips from around the region. No one ever caught a fish from the couch!

Pictured right: Fish & Game rangers met this fine crew having a ball as a group of families got together at Poolburn at the weekend. Photo: Steve Dixon.

Benedict Kyle

Benedict Kyle with a nice brown caught casting in the shallows of Lake Hāwea. Photo: Billy Ellwood


Hāwea Family Fishing Classic a success

Clear skies and variable winds along with a hot morning bite led to a many anglers tasting success in the Hāwea Family Fishing Classicwith well-conditioned fish crossing the weigh station last weekend. A few anglers even managed the Hāwea treble, weighing in one of each sportfish (brown, rainbow and salmon). Anglers reported success working the shallows with soft baits before heading out deeper with lead-lines and down-riggers as the day heated up. Many mentioned the lure of the day was the old faithful traffic light Tassie.

Classic sponsor Mark at Southern Wild says it was fantastic day and a good turnout with 208 fish weighed in.

Fish trio

A Hāwea treble ─ salmon, rainbow and brown trout from the Lake Hāwea Family Fishing Classic. Photo: Mason Court


Wanaka rivers settled

Rivers around Wanaka area have settled with lower flows and made for interesting fishing, Mark says. Reports from backcountry rivers have been mixed, with some anglers catching fish and others struggling. Cicadas are more active around Makarora compared with around the Clutha River.

Fishing the change of light early morning or late in the day is definitely producing better results, he says.


IMG 8043A high-tech echo sounder sends the data from Lake Wakatipu back to a laptop for analysis. Photo: Bruce Quirey.


Go low, acoustic survey shows

Otago Fish & Game and Niwa this week completed acoustic monitoring of fish populations in lakes Wakatipu, Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan.

Niwa will analyse a huge of amount data recorded by a high-tech echo sounder and report to Fish & Game in a few months.

What we can say already is that fish in lakes Hawea and Wakatipu were detected mostly at depths of 20m and 25m respectively. So go low!

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.


Back in the Paddock

Anglers reported hot fishing at Paddock Bay after the last weather system cleared with large number of browns cruising the freshly submerged edges. Fish & Game staff completing field work in the area also saw a large midge hatch with multiple fish eagerly rising.  If unable to match the hatch, a larger fly may tempt these wary fish. The promise of the extra protein of a cicada or blowfly is sometimes too hard for them to resist.

If spinning Paddock Bay, beware of the lagarosiphon control mats. These are an entanglement risk for outboards and can snag your lure if left too long before retrieving.

IMG 8132 Reid Lake presented challenging fishing to good numbers of selective brown trout feeding in the shallows last weekend. Photo: Bruce Quirey.


Drifting along

Soft baits have been working well drifted over weed beds at the top of the Clutha arm in Lake Dunstan, says Tim from Central Otago Hunting & Fishing.

Black-and-gold and olive soft baits have been effective.

Fishing in this arm is starting to fire up, Tim says. Fly anglers have been hooking into trout by drifting green or cream-coloured caddis nymphs through the current.

Anglers have also been getting perch near Pisa Moorings. Well worth taking home for the table, it’s easy to underestimate the delicious firm, white flesh of this species.


 IMG 8123

Jayde Couper casts to rising trout on Diamond Creek last weekend. A cicada dry fly drifted through a run earlier took a naïve wee trout. Photo: Bruce Quirey.


Lengthen that leader

Increasing the length of leaders and tippets is a good idea for the low water levels of the Wakatipu tributaries, says Santillan at Queenstown Hunting & Fishing.

Fish are looking up with cicadas on the wing. Cooler water in the mornings means the start of mayfly hatches, he says.

If spin fishing, remember bright lures on bright days, dull lures on dull days.


The lowdown on jigging

Jigging is a technique used with great success in the Taupo Region. With warm lake temperatures, why not add jigging to your repertoire in the Southern Lakes, Santillan says.

Jigging gets below thermoclines and is highly effective to target bigger trout that like cooler waters.

It’s easy to learn and little change is required for tackle, he says.

Use a drop-shot sinker, and legally up to three flies. Tie on a heavy point fly and use an unweighted mid fly.

Equally, jigging with soft baits can produce good results.


Trout, perch turn it on

Good-conditioned brown trout and perch have been caught in the lower Taieri River between Outram and Momona, says Ryan at Dunedin Hunting & Fishing.

Anglers have been targeting them successfully on olive Berkley T-Tail soft baits, catching small to medium browns up to 1kg.

Bait anglers at Lake Mahinerangi have been doing well with large worms dug out from under tussocks, he says.


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.


Here's the outlook for the weekend:


230216 Dunedin weather 

After showers today and maybe Friday morning, the weather for fishing looks fine around Dunedin. Keep searching deeper holes, shaded areas, and riffles around Dunedin waters. The air temperature is expected to rise into the high 20s on Sunday. The Taieri River at Outram was under 2 cumecs at the time of writing ─ still below minimum flow. The water temperature was 19degC, a touch higher than last week.

Click here for live weather updates. 


230216 Wanaka weather
Warm, dry northerlies will influence the weekend fishing conditions in Wanaka. Rivers revived last week are starting to drop again. The area recorded no rainfall since early last week. Showers could arrive on Monday. Check the latest forecasts before heading out on the water.

Click here for live weather updates.



230216 Alexandra weather 
Fish early or late in the day to increase odds in your favour. Overnight lows have cooled below 10degC, helping to counter daytime highs. River levels are feeling the pinch. Less than 10mm of rain fell here in the past 30 days. 

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

230216 Clutha weather 

Tributaries are running low in the Clutha. The Pomahaka River flow dropped below 3 cumecs at Burkes Ford over the past week. The lower Clutha River at Balclutha was about 550 cumecs at the time of writing. Weather conditions for fishing look mild with a few clouds and north-westerlies before showers on Sunday.

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.

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