Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 19 October 2023

  • Otago
  • 19/10/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 19 October 2023

Pictured above: Zaillie Harold-Evans with a monster Manuherikia rainbow that rose from the depths to smash a small dry fly. Photo: Dylan Craigie

Labour weekend opportunities

Many rivers are clearing and fishing conditions look excellent this long weekend thanks to calm weather for the past couple of days. Finally, it looks like we’ll get pleasant weather for weekend fishing across the region. If you’re heading out on a boat, Saturday could be windy but Sunday and Monday look to be excellent spring days on the lakes and reservoirs. As always, check the forecast before you go.

Don’t worry if rivers are still carrying slight colour as using a large or bright lure or fly will often entice a take. Dylan from Hunting & Fishing Queenstown says hot-head nymphs (bright orange or pink head) and stoneflies were his flies of choice when fly fishing the Manuherikia River early this week. Dylan suggests running a dry dropper rig as fish were rising to the indicator.

Explore the unseen

It’s a good idea to take the extra time to blind-fish likely holding water, so you don’t walk past catchable fish. During the day, large trout often hide under the bank or deep in pools, where it can be hard if not impossible to spot them.

A well-placed cast to deep pools or along an undercut bank can put your mind at ease that there are no fish present or, like Tim from Hunting & Fishing Central Otago discovered, a monster can erupt and snaffle your fly.

Land and Water Regional Plan submission guide

Now is the time for anglers and hunters to make your voice heard. The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is taking submissions on its soon-to-be-notified Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP). The LWRP will replace the old water plan and will set targets for water quality, water quantity and manage human activities to achieve them. The ORC has a survey open for feedback on the plan until November 6. This plan doesn't recognise anglers and hunters as much as it should.  Click here for 8 top tips from Fish & Game on making a submission.

Debris on Dunstan

Debris from last month’s flooding is still creating issues on Lake Dunstan, particularly at the southern end. Double-check the ramps the night before if planning to head out early morning as many are blocked with debris. Take extra care navigating the lake as weed bed and channels may have moved.

The boat ramp at the Clyde end of Lake Dunstan was unusable on Wednesday afternoon due to debris blocking the ramp. Photo: Mason Court 

Poolburn still providing

Poolburn is still providing excellent fishing with reports of double-digit fish being caught. Tom Dougherty of Hunting & Fishing Central Otago says one family caught and released more than 50 pounds of fish at the reservoir over one weekend.

Tom recommends small, dark-coloured soft baits if spinning from the shore and Tasmanian Devils and small Rapalas if trolling. A worm fished with a small sinker is also picking up fish. Fly anglers crawling damselfly imitations around the edges have been having success.

Conner Blanch with an excellent brown trout caught retrieving a soft bait along the edges of Poolburn Reservoir. Photo: Conner Blanch 

Taieri turns it on

Jesse Tough is stoked after landing “the fish of a lifetime” in the Taieri River yesterday after a 20-minute fight through logs, rocks and every snag imaginable. The brown was just shy of 8.5lb (3.8kg) taken on a Berkley bronze pearl attached to a 1/8-ounce Mustad jig head and 6lb Daiwa J thread fluorocarbon. Jesse says the Taieri is fishing well as the river has dropped. Eleven fish came to the net, including two perch, over a two-hour session.

Jesse Tough landed 11 fish on soft baits in the Taieri River, including an almost 8.5lb (3.8kg) brown trout. Photo: Jesse Tough.

Across the border  ̶  Twizel Canals

Anglers planning to fish the Twizel canals over Labour weekend are asked to be courteous as the area hosts the Hard Labour multisport event. Lake Ruataniwha will be closed to power craft from 7am-9am. On Saturday, kayakers will race from Lake Ruataniwha through Ohau B and Ohau C canals and into Lake Benmore via the Ohau C tailrace. Please do not fish while kayakers are passing by.

Lake Wānaka live webcam

A screengrab of the Lake Wānaka webcam taken at the time of writing.

Want to know conditions at Lake Wanaka? 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:


Saturday is forecast to be mostly cloudy with southwesterlies and scattered showers, easing late in the day. Sunday and Monday are the pick of the long weekend days with any remaining shower and cloud forecast to clear Sunday morning and light variable winds. The fine weather is forecast to carry all through Monday, providing excellent fishing conditions.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 19 cumecs. The water temperature was 11 degrees C.  Click here for live weather updates.


An excellent forecast for Wānaka this weekend, with light winds and clouds being the only hindrance to anglers. Cloud cover is forecast to clear each morning, offering some excellent sight-fishing conditions. Due to the lack of wind forecast for the weekend, it’s a good time to take the boat out for fishing on one of the Southern Lakes. North-westerlies are forecast develop on Monday but should not eventuate to anything to severe. Click here for live weather updates.


Southerlies forecast to develop on Saturday are the only blight on an excellent fishing forecast for Alexandra. Sunday and Monday should be clear with light variable winds. Southerlies on Saturday evening may develop into scattered showers but should have little effect on river clarity and flow. Click here for live weather updates.

Clutha Regional Forecast

Scattered rain is forecast to develop on Friday morning and carry through to Saturday afternoon. This rain will likely result in some rivers rising slightly, however, clear weather forecast for Saturday afternoon and Sunday should allow these rivers to clear. Isolated showers and clouds are also forecast to clear Monday morning with a light easterly developing.

The Pomahaka River flow was 16 cumecs.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha was 722 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.

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