Otago Weekly Fishing Report 16 November 2023

  • Otago
  • 16/11/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report 16 November 2023

Land-locked salmon on the run

The annual spring salmon run in Lake Hāwea has begun. Boat and land-based anglers are reporting red-hot fishing around the Hāwea Dam wall and boat ramp.

Hāwea’s land-locked salmon aren't the largest fish, at about 1.5- 2lb (0.68-0.9kg), but put up a great fight and make excellent table fare. These salmon are often not fussy and can be targeted with a range of small spinners. Spinners in the 7-14-gram size range in pink and silver colours are popular and soft baits in similar colours also prove effective.

For more tips and tricks on fishing for Southern Lakes salmon, please see our new video.
Southern Lakes salmon fishing - YouTube

It is important to get your lure deep enough to reach the school of salmon.

Mark, from Southern Wild Wanaka, has been out on Hāwea getting among the salmon action. Traffic light-coloured Tasmanian Devil lures paired with a downrigger have accounted for more than 80% of his catches.
Mark encourages anglers to search for the salmon school either by using your sounder in a boat or methodically working areas and depths from shore.

This typical-sized Lake Hāwea salmon fell victim to the lead line and traffic-light coloured Tasmanian Devil combo this week. Photo: David Priest

Please note that anglers fishing from a boat propelled by a motor must stay at least 100m from any anglers fishing from the shore.


Henley soft bait clinic

Anita van Niekerk caught her first perch at the Henley soft bait clinic. Credit: Bruce Quirey

The fish were biting when more than 70 anglers turned up at Henley on Wednesday evening for Otago Fish & Game’s second soft bait clinic of the year with Lance Gill from Okuma.

Anglers learned handy tips on rods, reels, lines, soft baits, jig heads, casting and retrieving.

After Lance caught a feisty kahawai during the demonstration, participants put their skills to the test in the Taieri River, hooking two kahawai, two perch and three brown trout. It just goes to prove what an exciting fishery the lower Taieri can be with a little bit of knowledge and some simple gear. But these tactics will work just about anywhere spin fishing is permitted.

Here’s a Fish & Game YouTube video on Soft Baiting Tips with Ian Hadland.

Honorary ranger Dan Natta nets a kahawai caught by Lance Gill during a fishing demonstration at the Henley soft bait clinic. Credit: Bruce Quirey.

Fishing for kahawai

It is lawful for anglers to target kahawai without a licence, however, they must release any sports fish (trout, salmon or perch) caught.

All anglers should be prepared to be politely interrogated by a ranger if they have gear which could also reasonably take sports fish. This is to make sure they are aware of the need for a licence to take any sports fish, and to confirm that it is only kahawai that they are after.

Change it up

Noel Sabu, from Kingston, caught this rainbow trout off the Kingston jetty on a pink soft bait. Credit: Cohen Stewart.

If your chosen river for the day is not providing the fishing you hoped for, whether it be that pesky northwester or it’s running high and dirty, don't be afraid to drop out and fish the river mouth, says Dylan from Hunting & Fishing Queenstown.

Recent rain has ensured these river mouths and lower sections are fishing well. Fresh fish are still running up and post-spawn fish are dropping out into the lake. Keep an eye on river levels and fish them on the way back down as trout will be sitting in the softer edges of the flow. Fishing these clearing waters with an orange tungsten-beaded nymph, large streamer or small dark soft bait can often entice a take.

Sheltered arms of the larger lakes can provide options if the river isn’t suitable. Many of the large lakes have wharfs or jetties that allow access to deeper water. Two such popular locations are Kingston and Glenorchy.

Catch rates high at Mahinerangi

Tyson Hayes (8), from Waihola, caught this perch on a soft bait with his grandparents Maurice and Jacqui Hayes at Mahinerangi last weekend. Credit: Jayde Couper.

Otago Fish & Game staff attended the 2023 Mahinerangi Gold Fishing Competition at the weekend. Staff checked licences and took otolith samples from some of the brown trout that were entered.

Despite the low lake levels, catch rates were high, and most anglers we spoke to caught a couple of brown trout and plenty of perch. The largest fish and winner of the prestigious (and allegedly real gold) Mahinerangi Gold Cup went to Bodie Hanrahan, of Dunedin, with his brown trout tipping the scales at just over 2kg gutted and gilled. Many organisations sponsored the event, including Otago Fish & Game. The primary sponsor of this successful event was Manawa Energy.

Urban wetland protected forever

Celebrating the covenanting of Bullock Creek Hatchery Springs wetland are (from left) Otago Fish & Game chief executive Ian Hadland, Department of Corrections senior community work supervisor Dave Madden, Friends of Bullock Creek president Ben Irving, and QEII National Trust regional representative for Central Otago Rob Wardle. 

A celebration was held in Wānaka last weekend to mark the covenanting of the Bullock Creek Hatchery Springs wetland.

A QEII National Trust open space covenant will forever protect the urban wetland, which is owned by Otago Fish & Game, in the heart of the resort town.

The covenanting of this wetland by Fish & Game would not have been possible without the dedication of the Friends of Bullock Creek, the Department of Corrections and Fish & Game staff.

ORC’s old water monitoring sites to shut

Next Monday, November 20, the Otago Regional Council is switching over the display of data from its water and land monitoring sites around Otago to its new Environmental Data Portal. More than 350 sites are now operational under the new system.

The new system has the latest environmental data, such as water levels, rainfall, flow, temperature, and water quality and in some cases access to up to 70 years of data, the ORC says. The new portal offers much more information to the public than the current website. With more quality data, people will be able to make better decisions on their activities, be it short-term recreational river use, boating, fishing, or tramping, or during low-flow events, and for medium- to long-term planning, such as the rural sector needs for its operations, the ORC says.

Go to the portal.

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 water sports facility.

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 weekend outlook:


Occasional rain and southwesterlies are forecast to develop throughout Friday morning before clearing Saturday morning. Saturday is the pick of the days this weekend and is forecast to be mainly fine with northeasterlies developing in the evening. Isolated showers and stiff southeasterlies are forecast to develop Sunday morning.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 10 cumecs. Expect it to rise with showers on Friday. The water temperature was 15.2℃

Click here for live weather updates.


Don’t forget your sunblock this weekend in Wānaka. Warm temperatures, clear skies and light winds are forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Expect some change in river conditions as rain is forecast to fall most of Friday.

 Click here for live weather updates.


Southerlies and rain are forecast to clear late Friday night. Saturday is the pick of the days with light winds and clear skies. Sunday is forecast to have stiff southerlies developing early morning which might affect fishing plans.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

Mixed forecast for the Clutha region this weekend with Friday predicted to have rain showers and chilly southwesterlies. Snow may fall to 800 metres in the afternoon. Saturday is forecast to be mostly fine with westerlies easing late. Isolated showers and a southerly are forecast for Sunday morning.

The Pomahaka River flow was 10.26 cumecs. This is below its average flow, allowing for most of the river to be wadeable, providing excellent fishing opportunities.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha was 689.8 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.


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