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TROUT FISHING WITH MAURICE RODWAY - Weekly Column: December 6, 2002
Southland, New Zealand

December is the best month...

Warm sunny days are usually the best kind for trout fishing. Trout can be seen in their river homes because the sun at a high angle cuts out glare. It produces shadows that give away the presence of otherwise invisible fish. It stimulates insects into activity and trout follow this with their own.

Recently there have been plenty of warm sunny days and plenty of good fishing. Some of the opportunities have been spoiled by thunderstorms that muddy the rivers and make them temporarily unfishable. Due to its large catchment the Mataura is particularly susceptible to this disturbance but other rivers also get afflicted similarly.

Finding a muddy river under a cloudless sky is doubly frustrating so anglers need to have other options available to them. Fortunately there are many places where clear water can be found close to home, even if thunderstorms and the torrential showers they bring, crackle about the hills.

There are many small spring streams in the region and while most of these are too small to contain many kilometers of good trout water they do hold trout close to their confluence with their mainstems. These areas are almost always clear, and when the mainstems are a little full they flow slowly, providing still water angling to those of us who have taken the trouble to find these spots.

Other clear water places close to home are the new gravel extraction ponds that have been constructed in the river berms of the main rivers.  In the past gravel was taken directly from the flowing water of the rivers but now most comes from the river margins, leaving large deep ponds that usually contain trout. Trout get into these places during floods and find them to their liking. The ponds develop weedbeds and their own community of insects and small fish, making an ideal home for trout. Fishing these places is like fishing on a lake. In the sun trout are easily visible, but in calm conditions trout can see out well too so a careful approach is needed. Bait or fly-fishing is probably the best methods in these places. In the still clear water trout are not likely to be fooled by a bit of metal being dragged through the water by a spin angler.

The Aparima and Oreti are the best endowed with these habitat ponds, but again anglers have to do a little exploring to discover their whereabouts. A well-formed gravel road leading to the river will often take you to them. 

December is the best month for trout fishing in the south and since there is such a variety of trout fishing opportunities here even if thunderstorms spoil your chances in the rivers other trouty places abound.

Maurice Rodway
Southland, New Zealand                           E-mail:

Article © 2002 Maurice Rodway, All Rights Reserved.


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