Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 23 November 2023

  • Otago
  • 23/11/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 23 November 2023

Angus Borrell showing off the hard-earned results of a pack rafting trip deep into the backcountry. Credit: Henry Schikker.

Extra effort extra reward

With absolutely stunning weather forecast for across the region this weekend, it is the perfect time for anglers to push that little bit further into the backcountry and explore some new water before the summer season fully kicks off.

The light winds and sunny conditions should make spotting trout far easier for those anglers sight fishing. Never underestimate how well trout can camouflage into the bottom of a pool, even in gin clear water don’t be afraid to cast at a smudge sitting hard on the bottom.

With all river now having been open for over three weeks expect most fish to have received some fishing pressure in one form or another. Expect the larger trout to become more wary as the season progresses. Anglers can combat this by lenghting their leader, dropping down a tippet size, decreasing nymph and dry fly sizes and most importantly making that first cast count.  

Morning Midge

A selection of midge intimidation flies, larvae imitations along the bottom, adults and emergers along the top. Credit: Tim Johnson.

Midge hatches have been providing some excellent angling opportunities around the edges of Lake Dunstan. These midge hatches have been occurring early morning and late afternoon particularly on those on calm still days.

Tim from Central Otago Hunting & Fishing recommends that anglers seeking to target these cruising trout start the morning by slowly retrieving/crawling midge larvae patterns near the bottom, before switching to a midge emerger or adult pattern with a nymph as a dropper as the day progresses.

Anglers are encouraged to seek out nice shallow lake margins with good visibility in order to have the best chance of spotting and successfully leading a cast ahead of these cruising fish. Tim recommends using flies size 16-18 paired with a light long leader to avoid spooking these fish in shallow water.

Hard bodies at Henly

Perch often find it hard to resist a large prey item such as a small bully imitation or in this case a hard bodied trout pattern lure. Credit: Ryan Dunbar.

Following on from last week’s report regarding the soft bait clinic held at Henly, Ryan from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin ventured down to test his luck.

In one evening, Ryan managed to catch a trifecta of species including kahawai, yellow eye mullet and perch. Ryan found that the most successful lure of the evening was the Rapala Countdown Elite CD-5 in the brown trout colour, with fish reacting aggressively to the larger hard bodied lure.

Hāwea Rising

Ngaio Emson spinning from one of the many rocky outcrops at the Neck, Lake Hāwea. Credit: Mason Court.

The slowly rising water level of Lake Hāwea is providing some excellent fishing for shore-based anglers.

Anglers fishing up around the Neck are reporting good catches of both rainbow and brown trout whilst spinning off the many rocky outcrops that are common around the Neck. These rocky outcrops also have the advantage of increasing angler visibility into the lake allowing lures to be pitched well in front of cruising trout.   

Mark from Southern Wild Wānaka reports that both tobys and soft baits in black and gold have been effective up the Neck with pink being the pick for anglers chasing salmon near the Hāwea boat ramp/campground.

Click the link for up-to-date information regarding Lake Hāwea’s water level.


Southern Reservoir Beetles

Trout up at the Southern Reservoir have been gorging themselves on brown beetles during the warm evenings hatches reports Hadlee from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin.

Anglers unfamiliar with a fly rod, should not be discouraged as a brown beetle imitation can be fished with spin tackle alongside a small clear float, allowing you to still present the fly in a natural manner. Hadlee recommends running a long leader from your mainline to the float and then between 30-60cm of 6lb fluorocarbon from the float to the fly. It helps to treat the fly with floatant to ensure it doesn’t sink.


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:



Fresh southerlies and rain are forecast to ease Friday before a shift to the northeast. Saturday and Sunday are both forecast to be stunning spring days with light to variable northeast winds and clear skies. Stunning weather paired with the refresh of Friday’s rain should line up for some ideal angling conditions on many of the local rivers.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 12.3 cumecs. Expect it to rise with showers on Friday. The water temperature was 17.7℃

Click here for live weather updates.



Another stunning spring weekend forecast for Wānaka with southeasterlies easing Friday night, before turning to the northeast Saturday morning. Saturday and Sunday morning are the pick of the days with variable winds and clear skies. If heading out don’t forget to pack enough water are the temperatures are starting to push into the high 20’s. Sunday does have some light showers forecast to develop in the evening.

 Click here for live weather updates.



Like most the region a stunning weekend is forecast for Alexandra. The light winds on Saturday and Sunday morning are perfect for anglers wishing to target the large reservoirs such as Poolburn and Manorburn. Southerlies are forecast to develop Sunday evening bringing rain showers on Monday.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

Pleasant fishing conditions are forecast for the Clutha region this weekend with Saturday forecast to have clear skies and light easterly winds. Sunday is similar to Saturday however cloud and southeasterlies are forecast to develop in the evening.  

The Pomahaka River flow is currently sitting at 7.5 cumecs. This is below its average flow, allowing for most of the river to be easily wadeable, providing excellent fishing opportunities. However expect it to rise slightly with the rain on Thursday and Friday.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is at 655 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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