Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 22 February 2024

  • Otago
  • 22/02/2024

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 22 February 2024

Last days of summer

Heading towards autumn, cooler nights will lower water temperatures and stir up daytime fish activity. This summer has had enough rain to keep most rivers refreshed, while high temperatures slowed the bite in some waterways.

Anglers have grumbled about strong wind often playing havoc with casting and boating these past three months. The good news is autumn generally brings more settled, fishy conditions.

Only a few opportunities for cicada fishing may remain this season. If you strike a warm day, don’t delay getting to our tussock-lined reservoirs or rivers.

Last weekend trout were taking cicada imitations at Logan Burn Dam. While many cicadas were being blown onto water, fish rises were few and far between. Yet an inspection of stomach contents showed cicadas featuring highly in the diet. Not to be outdone by fly anglers, spin anglers were having success trolling lures such as traffic-light Tasmanian Devils.

Pictured above: Maddox Lemmens (8) with a trout caught trolling a traffic-light Tasmanian Devil lure at Logan Burn Dam at the weekend. Photo: Bruce Quirey.


Carry your licence

Rangers checked more than 40 anglers at Logan Burn Dam last weekend and were pleased to say they were all licensed. But a few anglers were not carrying their licence while fishing.

Technically this is an offence and you should always carry your licence when fishing. If you have recently purchased one and have yet to receive it, print your receipt or take a screenshot on your cellphone and be prepared to be asked by a ranger to present ID.


Clutha clear

The Clutha River/Mata-Au downstream of the Millers Flat bridge on Wednesday. Photo: Mason Court.

The Clutha River/Mata-au is finally running clear after a decent gap in rainfall in the headwaters, predominantly the Shotover catchment. The wide shallow gravel bars of the lower river below Roxburgh Dam often harbour the greatest number of fish. Larger fish including sea-runners tend to favour the deeper water or in and around structure.

For the fly anglers, having a box of cicada, mayfly and caddis patterns should put them in good stead. For spin anglers, Tobys, Tasmanian Devils and soft baits are popular lures, particularly when targeting deeper sections.  Small silver Veltics retrieved through riffles can also be effective.

River levels on the Clutha/Mata-au may fluctuate without warning due to hydroelectric dam management, so take care when fishing, especially with children. You can check the Clutha River/Mata-au flow at the Roxburgh Dam here.

For more information on fishing the Lower Clutha/Mata-au click here.


Ida Burn Dam

Ida Burn Dam, near Oturehua, is unfortunately closed to fishing after it was drained for emergency maintenance by an irrigation company. See our online access map for other nearby fishing locations.


Mapping spawning habitat

Fish and Game officer Ben Sowry electric-fishing one of Lake Hāwea’s smaller tributaries. Photo: Mason Court.

Staff have been out across the region, surveying many of the small creeks and streams to find trout and salmon spawning areas.

The process starts in the office. A computer model runs through all the waterways in the region, and takes into account the size of the waterway, downstream migration access for fish, elevation, and a multitude of other variables. At the end, the program lists a bunch of rivers that might have trout or salmon spawning.

Next, out comes the electric fishing machine. This machine stuns fish, and allows us to get an excellent idea of what species are present. Staff go to each of the identified streams, electric fish a section, record what species they find, their lengths, then on to the next site.

Not only are juvenile trout being caught, but lots of interesting native fish species have been found to!

All this information is then stored, so that we can better use our resources to protect these valuable spawning areas in the future.


Across the Border: On the Fly Mataura River Festival

Look out for Fish & Game at the On The Fly Mataura River Festival in East Gore on Sunday, February 25. Live rainbow trout will be on display, supplied by Otago Fish & Game from Macraes Hatchery and will be later released into Lake Thomas, near The Key, in Southland.

There will be a competition to guess how many fish are in the tank, a casting game for kids, plus information and brochures on local fisheries and advice on access points.

The event hosted by Gore District Council will celebrate fly fishing, brown trout, the Mataura River and Gore’s title as the World Capital of Brown Trout Fishing. The festival is from 11am to 3.30pm at River Terrace. Click here for more info.


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 water sports facility.


Here’s the weekend outlook:



A damp weekend is forecast for most of the Otago region and Dunedin is no exception. Rain showers are forecast to develop Saturday morning with north-easterly winds, turning south-westerly in the afternoon. Sunday is forecast for occasional rain showers with brisk southerlies developing later in the day. Hopefully the rain will top up and refresh the Taieri River.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 1.5 cumecs, and the water temperature was 18.7 degrees.

Click here for live weather updates.



Showers are forecast to develop early morning around Wānaka with strong gusty northerlies also building in the afternoon. A wet start to Sunday is forecast with the rain forecast to clear in the afternoon with northerlies also rising in the evening. Seek out sheltered areas on the larger lakes or rivers.

Click here for live weather updates.



Pack your raincoat if looking to take advantage of the favourable weather around Alexandra on Saturday morning as rain is forecast to develop around midday.  Sunday is forecast to be more pleasant with clear skies and light winds. Take care on access roads up to the larger reservoirs and lakes as the previous day’s rain could causes them to become greasy.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

Showers are forecast to become widespread across the lower Clutha region on Saturday, with heavy showers forecast and severe gales possible throughout the day. A westerly shift in the evening will offer some relief from the strong northerly winds. Scattered showers and cool air temperatures are forecast for Sunday with the wind shifting to the south-west.  

The Pomahaka River was flowing at 4.6 cumecs at the time of writing, but expect it to rise after the rain.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is flowing at 457 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. 


Tight lines, 

Otago Fish & Game

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