Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 23 February 2023

  • Otago
  • 23/02/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 23 February 2023

Welcome rain across the region!

Above: Angus Borrell of Wānaka stalking cruising brown trout in the shallows of Poolburn. Photo: Louella Donaldson.

Significant rainfall mid-week followed by clear calm weekend weather is setting up the ideal fishing opportunities within Otago this weekend. With rainfall topping up rivers, increasing flows and decreasing water temperatures creating the ideal conditions for trout to be out actively feeding. The weather looks ideal and with the right tactics there’s every chance of success.
Read on for great tips from around the region.


Ngaio Emson with a nice perch caught casting a pink softbait at Butchers Dam. Photo: Mason Court.


Perch providing

Butchers dam perch fishing has been red hot with many anglers reporting great sessions on the dam with a range of sizes being caught. Butchers dam provides a perfect fishery to take the family as the large population of perch can be readily caught throughout the day. The Lower Taieri particular around Henley have been producing some extra large perch and brown trout. Ryan from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin recommends targeting perch with bright coloured soft baits in particular pink and chartreuse.


Cold weather spells the end for cicadas

Whilst the latest cold spell may have spelt the end for tussock cicadas on our rivers and stillwaters, some fish will still readily rise to a well-presented cast. Rivers around the central area have risen with higher flows and this can make for some great fishing, Tim from Cromwell Hunting & Fishing says fishing the edges of the larger rivers and runs is producing good results.

Don’t be afraid to run a large terrestrial fly as well as a large nymph to replicate a mayfly as these begin to make up a large proportion of the trout diet as the temperature cools.


A Wānaka rainbow that couldn’t resist the extra protein of a cicada. Photo: Mason Court.


When in doubt go big

With many rivers still clearing after receiving signifcant rainfall a change of tactics is required for fly anglers. Worm patterns and streamers allow for successful angling in these conditions says Santillan from Queenstown Hunting & Fishing. Santillan recommends fishing the soft edges and undercut banks in particular fishing streamer across and down pools. Don’t be afraid to run a larger indicator ensuring that you can detect any takes in the faster, dirtier water. If spin fishing using large profile lures or black lures can provide success as these are highly visible to fish in the cloudy water.


Spawning runs provides opportunity

Brown trout will be congregating at river mouths in our lakes as well as near stream confluences to prepare for their annual spawning run. These are easily targeted with dark coloured soft baits, spinners, and streamers as they are extremely aggressive during this time. Salmon, too, will be commencing there spawning run in our larger lakes. Hotspots for these include the mouths of the Hunter, Makarora, Mātukituki, Dart and Rees. If anglers catch any salmon in any Wānaka tributaries please contact Fish & Game as staff are in the process of accurately monitoring all salmon spawning
locations within our Southern Lakes.


Southern Lakes still fishing deep

Despite the change in air temperature many fish will still be holding deep in our Southern Lakes. Nick from Southern Wild recommends running down-riggers to successfully target where fish sit in the cooler thermocline layer approximately 20m deep in most lakes. For angler that don’t have access to a down rigger it is recommend fishing the early morning as trout may be in an assessable depth for lead lines and bibbed lures prior to them descending deeper as the temperature rises. Nick says that silver, blue and pink are still proving the most effective colours for trolling our Southern Lakes.


Fussy fish in reservoirs

Poolburn fish have proven to be fussy with ultra-still weather providing fish ample time to reject large dry flies. Fly anglers have reported success with damselfly nymphs crawled along the weed edges. If not being successful on large dries, try running a small pheasant tail nymph suspended a foot under your dry. Often the large dry with attract the attention of the fish before it snuffles the smaller nymph. Bait fishing with large tussock worms or trolling is also producing the success on Poolburn.

Southern reservoir and Sullivans Dam have experienced good evening hatches with great condition on the rainbows making it to the bank. Often these fish are only rising activity 30 minutes before and after dark, so it is recommended to target them during that time. Black and gold soft baits also proving effective at enticing a bite from these feisty rainbows.


Louella Donaldson casting to a rising brown trout on the Teviot river. Photo: Angus Borrell.


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:



After showers throughout the week and Friday morning expect Dunedin’s rivers to be dirty. The weather for fishing looks excellent for the weekend with light northeasterlies dropping to variable
on Sunday and clear skies on Saturday. The Taieri River at Outram was over 13 cumecs at the time of writing a significant increase from last week’s 2 cumecs . The water temperature has also
dropped from 19degC to 16degC.

Click here for live weather updates.




Clear skies and clearing rivers o[er an excellent time to get out fishing around Wānaka. With Wānaka receiving significant rain during the week, the rivers will be up. However clear warms days
on Friday through to Sunday will be conducive to great fishing. Check the latest forecasts before heading out on the water.

Click here for live weather updates.



Fish early or late in the day to increase odds in your favour as daytime high are still reaching mid 20’s. River levels are freshly toped up with over 40mm falling in the last three days. Ideal time to get
out there and enjoy the light winds and clear skies.

Click here for live weather updates


Clutha Regional Forecast

Tributaries are still running low in the Clutha. The Pomahaka River Sow has increased up to 5.5 cumecs at Burkes Ford over the past day. The lower Clutha River at Balclutha was about 440 cumecs
at the time of writing. Weather conditions for fishing look ideal with limited wind and cloud cover over the weekend.

Click here for live weather updates

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