Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 28 March 2024

  • Otago
  • 28/03/2024

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 28 March 2024

Easter opportunities

The forecast is looking favourable for fishing this Easter weekend with light winds throughout the region. Significant rain during the week has also provided some relief for the low flowing and drier parts of the region.
The calm and cool conditions forecast for this weekend will suit mayfly hatches, so ensure that you have a few imitations in your fly box. Don’t be afraid to use larger flies such as streamers or stoneflies should small nymphs and dries prove ineffective. The squirmy worm fly is another excellent option should the river be carrying some colour from the recent rains.

The top of the lakes and river mouths have been fishing well with salmon and brown trout building in numbers prior to their spawning runs. Soft baits, spinners and streamers have all proven effective at enticing these fish as they congregate.

Pictured above: Jordan Mace with an excellent conditioned rainbow caught using soft baits on LakeDunstan. Credit: Jordan Mace. 

Hawea still running hot

Angler surveys undertaken on Lake Hāwea last week have shown that even though the temperature has dropped, the fishing can still be red hot, with one boat catching seven fish before 10am. 
Most fish were in excellent condition and were caught using downriggers or lead lines paired with the trusty traffic light tazzie.

Mark from Southern Wild Wānaka encourages anglers using lead line or braid to run a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader of over 3 metres to their lure to combat the ultra-clear water of the larger lakes.


Patience at Poolburn

Adam Shead with a 5.5lb brown trout caught on a soft bait at the Poolburn Reservoir. Credit: Bruce Taylor.

A young angler’s patience was rewarded recently when fishing up at the Poolburn Reservoir. Adam Shead was fishing the reservoir for the first time under the guidance of his grandfather Bruce Taylor.
After a morning of limited success Adam was adamant that they should move spots but Bruce, a seasoned Poolburn angler urged Adam to be patient. Less than 5 minutes later Adam hooked a beautiful 5.5lb brown trout.

The fillets were seasoned, wrapped in tin foil, and cooked over a BBQ for 

the whole family that evening. Bruce reports the fish was in great condition and tasted amazing.

For more information the Poolburn fishery click here.


Natural does it

Lovely coloured brown trout caught by Dunedin Hunting and Fishing Staff Member Hadlee on a natural coloured soft bait. Credit: Hadlee Edmunds.

Natural coloured soft baits have been working well on the large reservoirs and ponds up around the Maniototo, reports Hadlee from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin.
Hadlee found success fishing crayfish imitation baits as well as the standard t-tail style soft baits around Hore’s Control Pond with black and gold proving to be the most effective colour on the day.

Taking the time to correctly rig your soft bait onto the jig head ensures that it swims correctly and helps convince those spooky fish to commit.

For a video on soft baiting tips and tricks from Otago’s own Ian Hadland click here.

For more information on fishing locations around the Maniototo click here.


Break up the journey!

One of many perch caught out of a large school at Butcher’s Dam on Otago Anniversary Day. Credit: Ben Sowry.

Heading to Central this weekend for Warbirds over Wānaka and looking to break up the journey with a spot of fishing? Butchers Dam near Alexandra is the perfect place to stop for a quick fish as the perch are feeding up aggressively before winter.
One angler recently reported catching over 20 in a single hour. Perch can be caught on a range of lures with brightly coloured soft baits being many anglers preferred choice.

If you’re not catching anything continue making your way around the reservoir until you find the school. The area around the reservoir is well known to be muddy so don’t forget your gumboots and keep an eye on young children.

For other areas to simply park up and cast click here.


Last week of Greenstone River Controlled Fishery

This upcoming Sunday (March 31) is the last day of the Greenstone Controlled Fishery period.

The Greenstone River remains open until  May 31 above the Greenstone carpark swing bridge whilst below the Greenstone carpark swing bridge is open year-round. Please note that an Otago Designated Waters Licence is required to fish above the swing bridge.


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 Watersports Facility.


Here’s the weekend outlook:



In Dunedin, scattered showers are expected throughout Friday, with clearing skies anticipated early Saturday morning. Overcast conditions and light winds are forecasted from Saturday through Monday evening, perfect for heading down to rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. It is advisable to pack a jacket as temperatures are not expected to rise above the mid-teens.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 2.74 cumecs, but with rain forecast for Thursday and Friday, expect this to rise. The water temperature was 11 degrees C.

Click here for live weather updates.



Wānaka emerges as the prime spot in the forecast for the Easter period. On Friday, south-westerly winds are expected to ease early in the morning, leading to clear conditions. Saturday and Sunday are anticipated to offer stunning days for angling, with temperatures rising above 20 degrees Celsius, clear skies, and gentle winds. However, cloud cover is predicted to develop on Easter Monday. As always, it is wise to double-check the weather forecast before heading out, as conditions may change.

Click here for live weather updates.



South-westerly winds are forecast to ease by Friday afternoon. Like Wānaka, both Saturday and Sunday are anticipated to offer excellent angling weather around Alexandra. Cloud cover is expected to dissipate early in the morning, providing warm air temperatures, calm winds, and clear skies—making it an ideal time to venture up to the larger reservoirs for an overnight trip. The calm conditions are set to persist into Easter Monday, although some cloud cover is forecast to develop later in the day.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

The Easter weekend forecast for the lower Clutha region indicates a mix of conditions. On Friday, showers are expected along with snow above 600 meters. Saturday morning starts off clear and calm, but easterly winds are forecast to develop in the afternoon. Sunday and Monday both anticipate light winds , with some morning cloud cover expected to dissipate by mid-morning, offering potential for sunny spells.

The Pomahaka River was flowing at 9.53 cumecs at the time of writing and still rising from the recent rains.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is flowing at 460 cumecs.

Click here for live weather updates.

Getting started

Need a fishing licence? Go online here, and let the angling adventures begin. If you aren’t planning on getting out early this weekend, you can grab a discounted “winter” licence that will cover you from Monday, April 1, right through until the end of September.


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.

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