Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 30 November 2023

  • Otago
  • 30/11/2023

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 30 November 2023

Pictured above: Angus Clareburt from Hunting & Fishing Queenstown with a thumping rainbow trout out of one of Lake Wakatipu’s small tributaries Photo: Angus Clareburt. 

Change of season, change of diet

With all our waterways open for at least a month now, many fish have seen their fair share of flies and lures! The first couple of weeks of the high-country season saw some very high catch rates on all manner of artificials, with the bright and shiny often performing best. Now that these trout have been fished to a bit, anglers would do well to use more natural imitations to fool these increasingly educated fish.

Nymphs such as Hare and Coppers, Copper Johns and Pheasant Tails, and small soft baits or Rapala type lures in natural browns and blacks are recommended over the typical garish, bright, and loud flies and lures that were so effective only a couple of weeks ago.

Connor from Southern Wild Wānaka has found success by reducing his indicator size or replacing it with a small dry in order to present naturally and discreetly to these pressured fish. Connor’s go-to flies for the tributaries that feed into Lake Wānaka are a small Royal Wulff paired with a size 14 Flash back pheasant tail nymph.


Angus McSkimming with a lovely 4lb brown trout caught on an olive and pearl coloured soft bait at the confluence of Lee Stream and the Taieri River. Photo: Dan Kunac

Lowland action

Soft bait and spinners are still proving effective at enticing large brown trout from the tannin-stained waters around Dunedin. Hadlee from Hunting & Fishing Dunedin reports excellent fishing on the Waipori River with good sized specimens of both brown trout and perch coming to the bank.

Hadlee’s favourite soft bait for the lowland rivers is the Berkley t-tail in olive and pearl. Hadlee recommends that anglers fishing both spinner and soft baits continually change up the speed of their retrieve to cover different depths.

With the temperatures warming up trout are also beginning to look up seeking terrestrial prey. One effective pattern every angler should have in their box in some form, is that of the Humpy or blowfly imitation. These are perfect for the lowland rivers near farmland as well as being buoyant enough to support a range of nymphs on a dropper rig.

Catch and release

With summer fast approaching, now is a good time to touch on the best practices for catch and release in order to ensure that your fish has the best chance of survival once returned.

  • Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.
  • Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.
  • Do not squeeze the fish and never touch the gills.
  • Photograph the fish in or over the water and make it quick – the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.
  • Revive the fish facing into the current long enough for it to regain its swimming strength.

If the fish you catch is unable to be released and it’s legal to keep, you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it.

If requiring any tips on how to process or cook your catch, click the link.

Fish Salvage

Otago Fish & Game Officer Ben Sowry returning stranded rainbow trout back into Lake Wānaka. photo: Mason Court

The weather has been hot and sunny in parts of the region, which has been great for insect hatches and trout anglers. Unfortunately, it hasn't been so great for water levels in some areas.

This week, a concerned station owner notified Otago Fish & Game staff of some fish stranded in a stream on his property.

Staff went in with the fish transporter, and successfully transferred 114 rainbow trout from the drying stream to the lake downstream. 

These fish had been spawning in the creek and hadn't been able to return to the lake when the lower section of the creek dried.

Take A Kid Fishing Events

10-year-old Charlie Baumgren with parents Nick and Jenny showing off his catch from a recent Take A Kid Fishing event held near Wānaka. Photo: Mason Court

Despite tangles galore, more than 160 children are now hooked into fishing after three weekend events run by angling clubs and community groups in the region last Sunday.

Wānaka brothers Charlie (10) and George (12) Baumgren had to be prised from the water’s edge at the end of the day, their parents Nick and Jenny said.

The boys were among 31 children at a Take A Kid Fishing event organised by Upper Clutha Angling Club and supported by Otago Fish & Game on the outskirts of Wānaka.

The brothers each reeled in a 2.5kg rainbow trout. Charlie said he was going to have his fish on the barbecue for dinner that night.

Two other Take A Kid Fishing events were held at Roxburgh East and Macraes.

Ninety-five children got a taste of fishing at a community event run by OceanaGold at Lone Pine Reservoir, next to the Macraes trout hatchery. At least a dozen fish were caught at the event.

Teviot Angling Club held a children’s fishing event near Roxburgh East where more than 40 youngsters took part, club president Laurie Crossan said.

Otago Fish & Game release rainbow trout from Macraes hatchery into selected ponds that had no natural recruitment and did not mix with wild trout populations.

Lake Wānaka live webcam

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:



Saturday morning is the pick of the weekend forecast for Dunedin, with clear skies, fresh northeasterlies forecast to ease in the evening. Sunday is forecast to have showers through the day with westerlies, turning to fresh southerlies in the evening.

The Taieri River at Outram was flowing at 9.9 cumecs. The water temperature was 14.3℃

Click here for live weather updates.


It is a pleasant start to summer for Wānaka, with light winds and clear skies forecast from Friday through to Saturday afternoon. Developing northerlies may affect evening fishing Saturday afternoon. Sunday is forecast to be wet with shower and southeasterlies developing throughout the day.

Click here for live weather updates.


Alexandra has the pick of the weather forecast this weekend, with fine weather skies forecast for most of the weekend. Make the most out of the calm mornings with wind forecast to develop on both Saturday and Sunday evenings with northerlies and southerlies respectively.

Click here for live weather updates.

Clutha Regional Forecast 

Another mixed forecast for the Clutha this weekend, with isolated showers expected to fall throughout Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning like most of the region is the pick of desirable fishing conditions with light winds. Fresh southwesterlies forecast for Sunday to go with the showers.

The Pomahaka River  flow is currently sitting at 16.9 cumecs.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is at 555 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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