Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 26 January 2023

  • Otago
  • 26/01/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 26 January 2023

Grab the rod, hat and sunblock

The weekend is shaping up to be a scorcher across much of Otago. But you’ll need to keep a cool head to find fish.

Pictured: This brown trout was caught on a red and black Tasmanian Devil spin-fishing in channels at the top of Lake Dunstan. Credit: David Priest.

All tussock lakes will be worth exploring. While flying in an aircraft yesterday to count moulting paradise shelducks, Fish & Game spotted trout rising not far from a shore angler at Lake Onslow.

Channelling success


Large browns are inhabiting the upper channels of Lake Dunstan. Credit: Bruce Quirey.

The top of Lake Dunstan has fished well on red and black lures such as Veltics and Tasmanian Devils.

Quite a few bigger fish are cruising around in channels where the Clutha flows into the lake, Tim at Cromwell Hunting & Fishing NZ says.

There are a few channels in the area. Trout have been pretty hard to catch in the middle of the day, and early morning and late evening are better, Tim says.

Rain over the weekend cooled down some of the smaller rivers in the Southern Lakes area, which fished pretty well.

Casting towards trees

Anglers heading to Diamond Lake are finding fish cruising the edges but most are pushing into the deeper water, says Dylan at Queenstown Hunting & Fishing NZ.

You’ll probably improve success by spin fishing or using a small boat to acces

s deeper drop-offs on the far side of the lake near the trees. Drift the shaded edges and cast towards the shoreline.

This time of year, fishing towards the shoreline near trees works well in Lake Wakatipu, too, Dylan says.

A lot of international anglers have been fishing around the Wakatipu area with guides.

Cicadas have been going off, but we still need more of a top-up of rain, he says. Some fish being caught have been lethargic due to heat.

Poolburn’s a good tip

Poolburn Dam from the air yesterday afternoon. Credit: Bruce Quirey

Todd at Dunedin Hunting & Fishing NZ recommends a trip to Poolburn Dam. A boat angler trolling there recently caught a 7-pound brown trout and others weighing 3-5 pounds.

Submerged rocks are a boating hazard in Poolburn, some of which have been exposed by the lower lake level.

The Strath Taieri section of the Taieri River was fishing well. Fish taking willow grubs were getting caught on patterns such as Royal Wullfs and hare and coppers, Todd says. But true to form, other anglers have found willow grubbers rejecting everything thrown at them.

Matching the size

Logan Burn Dam is about an hour’s drive from Dunedin. Credit: Bruce Quirey.

A Dunedin angler fishing at Logan Burn Dam was trying a size 8 cicada pattern with no luck. Things started looking up when he dropped to a size 10. He caught nine trout. The best fish weighed 4 and a half pounds and others from 2-3 pounds.

Cicadas are also coming on in the Wilkin and Young rivers, says Nick at Southern Wild in Wanaka. The cicadas are starting to get pretty thick on warm days, he says.

A lot of the bigger fish are dropping downriver, getting close to the Makarora River. They’re taking dries, nymphs and lightly weighted soft baits, he says.

Vertical jigging

Nick recommends vertical jigging with metal jigs or silvery soft baits to get on top of Hawea salmon.

The Hawea salmon are down as far as 20m and being caught on pinks, silvers and blues. Soft bait jigheads should be 1/6th or ¼ of an ounce to get deep quickly. Drift over the schools and vertical jig.

Most fish in Lake Wanaka are being caught in the Stevenson Arm around the thermocline at 8-9m deep, Nick says.

Fish tend to sit on top on submerged pinnacles in Stevenson Arm, he says, which can be located using a sounder.

Caddis are still in large numbers at the Clutha Outlet and deer hair sedge patterns are the patterns to use.

Greenstone booking system

The popular upper Greenstone backcountry fishery is managed through a booking system from February to March. Credit: Bruce Quirey.

Bookings open tomorrow for the upper Greenstone.

A controlled fishery period on the Upper Greenstone manages angling pressure in February and March to maintain a wilderness experience during the peak season. The booking system on the upper Greenstone applies from 1 February - 31 March.

Bookings can only be made up to five days before your fishing trip, including on the intended day of fishing. You can select up to a maximum of three consecutive days per booking.

You will need a whole season fishing licence and a backcountry endorsement.

Click here for more details and to book.

Here's the outlook for the weekend:



Get that gear ready. Early rain forecast for tomorrow will again help to bring down water temperatures, which will be good for weekend fishing.  The Taieri River at Outram was low at the time of writing on Thursday and just below 19degC.

Occasional rain clearing in the afternoon on Friday. Fine with northeasterlies over the weekend and temperatures climbing on Sunday.

Click here for live weather updates.




A few showers are expected tomorrow before a weekend scorcher. Light winds should be perfect for boat fishing, but always check the latest forecast before heading out. Where better to spend the weekend than by the water with a fishing rod in your hand?

Click here for live weather updates.



With temperatures topping 30 degC this weekend, fishing in Central Otago will be all about cicadas on the tussock lakes, or looking for cool water – early or late in the day, deep pools and drop-offs, shaded areas and riffles.

Click here for live weather updates.

Clutha Regional Forecast


Fishing prospects in the Clutha area look great this weekend. Cooler temperatures and higher rainfall due to coastal influences mean less stress for trout at the peak of summer, provided the water quality is ok. The lower Clutha River is nicely fishable flowing at 400 cumecs at Balclutha at the time of writing.

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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