Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 24 April 2024

  • Otago
  • 24/04/2024

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 24 April 2024

ANZAC Edition/Final report for the season

It looks like this year's ANZAC Day will be characterised by wet and windy conditions, which will likely cause many rivers to rise and become discoloured due to heavy rain. However, there's a silver lining as calm weather is expected for the weekend, which should help rivers clear up and become fishable again.

With less than a week left in the season for many waterways, anglers are encouraged to take advantage of the fantastic fishing opportunities available. Brown trout and salmon are becoming more aggressive and can be found congregating at river mouths, providing plenty of opportunities for both shore and boat-based anglers.

Otago's high-country rivers, known for their prized brown and rainbow trout, will remain open to anglers until May 31. Additionally, many large rivers and lakes in the area are open year-round, offering fishing opportunities beyond the typical season closures. To keep up to date check your regulation booklet or go online to South Island 2023-24 regulations guide.

For where to fish, click here: Access Map Otago - Fish & Game

Pictured above: Tuesday marks the final day of the season for many waters, but most sections of the Clutha River/Mata-au, seen here at Horseshoe Bend, remain open. Credit: Bruce Quirey.


Streamers for success

Bob Schiesser with brown trout caught and released near Tarras on the upper Clutha. Credit: Jack Gauld. 

Large schools of brown trout have been observed in the Clutha River/Mata-au, upstream of Lake Dunstan.

These trout are undertaking their spawning run and will at times build up into huge numbers.
Schools will often congregate in slow, deep areas of the river, which we know are few and far between on the Clutha! Try looking downstream of where willow trees have been undercut and fallen into the river.

One angler on the weekend came across over 50 trout in a hover (the collective noun for trout is a hover).

Nymphs and egg imitations were ignored by all the fish. All was quiet until a black streamer fly was dragged over the top of the school. Brown trout are aggressive at this time of year. When small hooks aren’t getting the reaction, then give them something big to fire up their territorial instincts!


Manuherikia magic

A 5.5lb brown trout jack caught by Sam Fisher using a unweighted pheasant tail on an upper section of the Manuherikia River. Photo: Sam Fisher 

Queenstown Hunting & Fishing staff member Sam says he had some excellent fishing on the Manuherikia River last week. Sam found success prospecting drop-offs using an unweighted pheasant tail in size 12. Sam caught multiple brown trout and the largest tipped the net scales at 5.5lbs.

Sam also stopped for a quick fish near the old Ophir Bridge on his way home and had a fun session catching several rainbows around 2lb eager to take a size 14 Royal Wulf.

The Manuherikia River above the Shaky Bridge on Kerry Road will be closed for fishing after Tuesday, April 30, while the downstream section remains open year-round.


Late-season Taieri browns

Speaking of the last days of the fishing season, the Taieri River has been fishing well with trout taking soft baits and droppers on fly, says Ryan, from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin.

The river returned to low levels in the past week, but could discolour due to showers forecast on ANZAC Day and Friday.

Anglers chasing late-season brown trout in the middle and upper sections of the Taieri will need to get out there in the next few days, because the river upstream of Outram Bridge closes after Tuesday, April 30.

The good news is downstream of the Outram Bridge the river is open year-round.


Duck-hunting season   

Large numbers of duck hunters will be at their hunting stands on rivers, lakes, estuaries and ponds from Saturday, May 4, for opening weekend of the game bird season. 

It’s recommended that anglers wishing not to be disturbed should avoid waterfowl hunting locations on opening weekend.  

While most duck-hunting takes place on opening weekend, it’s worth noting the Otago mallard season is from May 4 to July 28.  


Bullock Creek fish kill

Dead brown trout found in Bullock Creek on April 19 by Fish & Game staff. Photo: Mason Court

A second fish kill in Otago in only a week has highlighted the vulnerability of urban waterways.

A member of the public alerted Otago Fish & Game to dead trout seen in Bullock Creek behind Wānaka residential sections on Thursday afternoon (April 19). Six dead trout were found within a 50-metre stretch of the creek downstream of Roche St.

The fish appeared to have been dead for one or two days, and there were no visible causes of death. While we don’t know exactly what’s happened, it was likely the fish were killed by toxins entering the stream as this spring creek should be naturally clean.

Ducks, an eel and trout were seen alive in the area later that evening, suggesting that whatever had killed the trout had been diluted by the fast-flowing creek.


Coalpit Dam update

Fish & Game staff returned to Coalpit Dam yesterday after last week’s fish kill of 15 trout.

We unfortunately found another seven dead trout and no visible signs of other fish activity. Onsite testing showed water oxygen levels remained low despite cool temperatures. Anglers are asked not to fish at the dam until further notice. 


Search for salmon 

This landlocked salmon was found during spawning survey conducted during the 2022-23 season photo: Mason Court.


As part of Otago Fish & Game's annual work plan, we are once again on the lookout for the spawning locations of the region's landlocked Chinook salmon.  

These salmon often prefer small spring-fed creeks at the top of lakes for their spawning grounds. Like their sea-run counterparts, landlocked salmon perish shortly after spawning, and are typically smaller, weighing only 1-2 pounds.  

Staff will be surveying likely and historical spawning areas, as well as using environmental DNA testing kits, to narrow down where they are spawning now.  

Previous discoveries have been made with the help of anglers fishing late in the season. If you believe you have seen or caught salmon in one of the lake tributaries above the Clyde Dam, please let us know. Email mcourt@fishandgame.org.nz. 


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 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.



Showers are forecast for Thursday and Friday. Additionally, Thursday morning has a strong wind watch. Saturday is expected to be fine during the day, with clouds and westerly winds developing in the evening. The overcast conditions are predicted to persist through Sunday evening, with light northerlies dropping to variable by nightfall.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 4.2 cumecs. The water temperature was 9.8 degrees C.

Click here for live weather updates.



ANZAC Day will likely see showers persisting throughout the day, with a strong wind watch in the morning. Friday may also have intermittent showers. Saturday is forecasted to be mostly sunny during the day, although clouds will increase in the evening along with westerly winds. Sunday is expected to be clear skies with northerly winds becoming variable by evening, perfect to head out on the lake or target those dropping rivers.

Click here for live weather updates.



Alexandra like most of the region is going to be wet and windy on Thursday (ANZAC Day), with showers and strong north-westerlies forecast. Showers are forecast to clear on Friday. Wrap up warmly as the air temperature is expected to drop to 0 degrees C. Saturday and Sunday are forecast for light winds with overcast conditions expected to clear on Saturday evening.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

For the lower Clutha showers are forecast to become widespread on Thursday evening, some heavy. Gale north-westerlies should ease in the morning. Showers are forecast to continue Friday and Saturday with snow showers also forecast on Friday evening. Sunday is forecast to be clear with some north-westerlies easing in the afternoon.

The Pomahaka River was flowing at 10 cumecs at the time of writing.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha was flowing at 660 cumecs.

Click here for live weather updates.


Getting started

Need a fishing licence for winter? There are several part-season options for anyone wanting to get out there over the cooler months. Go online here.

This is the final Otago weekly fishing report until next season. Thanks for reading and for all your contributions. We always look forward to hearing from you.


Tight lines, 

Otago Fish & Game

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