Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 8 February 2024

  • Otago
  • 8/02/2024

Otago Weekly Fishing Report - 8 February 2024

Trout feasting on rising tide

The lower Clutha River/Mata-au was fishing well earlier this week for John Lyall and Kelly Maynard, from Hokitika, with Otago Fish & Game chief executive Ian Hadland. 

Pictured above: Kelly Maynard and John Lyall with a brown trout which was chasing smelt in the lower Clutha/Mata-au. Credit: Ian Hadland.

Trout were everywhere up to the high tide, then hard to find, Ian says. They were feeding aggressively on smelt. Occasionally they were also rising to damsels but were moving too fast to see to get a fly in front of them. The fish were hanging around weed beds and driftwood – good habitat for damsel flies. The trio landed four trout and four perch. When one of the anglers hooked a perch, three other fish followed. Three rods all hooked up and when the circus was over they had one each to the cooler. All were caught on soft baits with a 1/8 ounce jighead.


Making the most of Waitangi Day

Shane Wright with a stunning brown trout caught up at Poolburn Reservoir. Credit: Murray Cramond.

Poolburn Reservoir continues to yield excellent-conditioned brown trout this season.

Shane Wright was rewarded with this 6lb brown at Poolburn while fishing with Murray Cramond on Waitangi Day. The 6lb brown was taken on a traffic light-coloured Tasmanian devil. Shane comes from well-proven fishing stock. His father Monty is a former Otago Fish & Game Council chairman and retired field officer, and his late grandfather Stan was chairman of the Otago Acclimatisation Society.


Inland sea lion

Anglers fishing the lower Clutha River/Mata-au around the Tuapeka Mouth may be in for a surprise with a female New Zealand sea lion/pakake and her pup in residence.

The female sea lion swam more than 60km up the Clutha River to give birth to her pup. The mother sea lion known as Jade has even been sighted as far upstream as the Beaumont bridge. It is expected the pup to remain in the area for several more weeks, but it was unclear where her mother would take her after that, or how they would use the river.

It is important people give the sea lions plenty of space, says Department of Conservation coastal Otago biodiversity Ranger Jim Fyfe. “People boating in this area need to be aware they are now sharing the waterway and keep an eye out for sea lions popping up. Boats should slow to an idle, no-wake speed when they become aware she is in the vicinity.”


Lake Hāwea Family Fishing Classic

The Lake Hāwea Family Fishing Classic will be held this Saturday, February 10.  

Entrants can download registration forms for a family or an individual.  Entry forms are also available from the Lake Hawea Community Centre between 5pm and 10pm on Friday and on competition day between 7am and 9am. The weigh-in is between 2pm and 4.30pm on competition day followed by prizegiving from 6.30pm at the Lake Hawea Community Centre. For more information click here.


Hāwea hot tips

Veteran Lake Hāwea fisherman and Southern Wild owner Mark says Hāwea has been fishing well and he expects the lake to be busy on Saturday for the competition. He shared a few tips to ensure anglers have the best chance of success.

  • Fish are sitting deep below the thermocline, often below 10 metres, so a lead line, downriggers, and bibbed lures are good options.
  • Ensure your lure is swimming correctly. Test the action next to the boat before setting it to the appropriate depth.
  • Use your sounder. Lake Hāwea is a large lake. There’s no point fishing where the fish aren’t. If you don’t have a sounder, target likely areas such as sheltered arms, steep drop-offs and river mouths.

Mark’s favourite Lake Hāwea trolling lures are the Daiwa Chinook (albino tiger or green forest) and the Tasmanian devil (traffic light and Eliminator).


Morning mayflies

One of the regulation signs and yellow-and-black posts that signal the start of the Deans Bank fly-only section on the upper Clutha/Mata-au. Credit: Mason Court

Early morning mayfly hatches on the upper Clutha River/Mata-au are providing excellent opportunities to target some hard-fighting rainbows.

A size 14 or 16 Parachute Adams paired with a size 16 gold-beaded pheasant tail nymph is an excellent starting point for anglers seeking to target these fish, says Tim from Hunting & Fishing Central Otago. With some quality fish around, use heavy tippets as a large fish can quickly run you into your backing in the swift Clutha current.

If fishing the evenings, there are reports of sedge activity, so have a few elk-haired caddis in your fly box.

Where legal, spin-fishing with soft baits and bait fishing with worms have also been producing some excellent fish. Fish the change of light to target fish focused on larger prey items. For more information on fishing the upper Clutha River/Mata-au click here.


Upcoming predator control at Makarora

Te Papa Atawhai/the Department of Conservation plans to control rats and stoats via the application of aerially applied cereal baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080) in the Makarora area. The operation is planned for the first clear weather window from March 1, 2024.

The treatment area is approximately 36,000ha and includes the Makarora, Blue, Young, Siberia and Wilkin Valleys.  A detailed map of the application area can be viewed on the Pesticide Summaries Website.


Wetland walkers see sunny side of Takitakitoa

After a day of downpours, it was a leap of faith for those who joined Otago Fish & Game for a walking tour at Takitakitoa Wetland on Friday, February 2.

The clouds parted just in time and walkers were rewarded with a sunny evening to celebrate World Wetlands Day. Otago Fish & Game chief executive Ian Hadland gave a talk about the hunter-funded habitat project. This year’s theme of World Wetlands Day is how interconnected wetlands and human life are. Explaining the ecological role of wetlands, Mr Hadland said allowing people to interact with spaces such as Takitakitoa was important. Duck hunters sustainably harvest a fraction of the birds here - mainly mallards –  and don’t touch the rest. Wrapping up the evening, the walkers also helped plant some native plants, adding to the 8000 which have been planted at Takitakitoa since the valley was restored.


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

Want to know conditions at Lake Wānaka? Check this live webcam from the Wānaka water sports facility.

Here’s the weekend outlook:



Friday in Dunedin is forecast to be fine with north-easterlies developing late in the evening. Saturday has rain showers developing late morning before easing late. North-easterlies, turning to fresh southwesterlies mid-morning. Sunday looks to be the more favourable day for fishing with cloud clearing as well as south-westerlies, easing mid-morning.

The Taieri River at Outram is flowing at 2.25 cumecs, and the water temperature was 17.7 degrees.

Click here for live weather updates.



Another variable forecast for Wānaka with Friday forecast to be mainly fine, chance of a shower in the evening. On Saturday the weather is forecast to deteriorate with stiff westerlies and a rain shower developing from mid-morning. Anglers fishing the Lake Hāwea Family Classic will want to take advantage of the calmer conditions early morning. Check the forecast on Saturday morning before heading out. Sunday is the pick of the forecast with clear skies and light winds, perfect for sight fishing.

Click here for live weather updates.


Alexandra has excellent fishing days forecast for Friday and Sunday with light winds and clear skies. Showers are forecast to develop late on Saturday morning before easing late evening. Stiff south-westerlies develop late morning.

Click here for live weather updates.


Clutha Regional Forecast

Cool air temperatures are forecast for the lower Clutha this weekend. Rain showers are forecast to develop on Saturday morning before easing late evening and northerlies, turning to fresh south-westerlies in the morning. Sunday is forecast for isolated showers and south-westerlies easing early afternoon.

The Pomahaka River was flowing at 7.1 cumecs at the time of writing, dropping from over 20 cumecs on Sunday.

The lower Clutha River at Balclutha is flowing at 700 cumecs and is still carrying some colour.

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. 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.

For more ORC water monitoring and alerts information click here.

Grab your licence online and let the angling adventures begin.


Tight lines, 

Otago Fish & Game


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