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TROUT FISHING WITH MAURICE RODWAY - Weekly Column: Febrary 7, 2003
Southland, New Zealand

Dry fly fishing in February

The trout fishing season so far is one of considerable uncertainty. The greatest influence of all, the weather, has been changeable. The flow in our rivers has reflected this pattern. Finding a river in good fishing condition at the same time as the wind is down has been like getting more than 4 numbers on a line on a lotto ticket. Possible, but not very likely.

The fluctuating river flows have however, kept the large rivers in good order for trout themselves. And with the relative absence of anglers pursuing them, more have survived and grown bigger. As with all things the law of the reversion to the mean applies to the weather too so wet and windy weather has to be followed by dry calmer weather. While the timing of such a balance cannot be predicted accurately the longer the winds continue the greater the chance of calmness occurring.

So with clean rivers and contented, almost careless, trout there is some excellent fishing due over the next few months. The Mataura and its main contributor, the Waikaia, and the Waiau, will provide the best fishing, but the Oreti and the Aparima will also be more than a little fishy over the next couple of months.

Dry fly fishing is of course the best method to use from February on. The pesky willow grubs will still keep many trout looking under the surface but a perky dry fly pitched close to their feeding lane will interest them. It always nicer to see a smooth green back emerge from the river to absorb your fly in a smooth transition from anticipation to satisfaction than to guess at the timing needed to hook a fish that veers to one side to where your sunken nymph might be. 

While the larger rivers are in good order smaller streams are now past their best. Streams such as the Orauea, and the Waimea are full of bright green or fluffy brown algae. Their trout still appear on a sunny day but they are not as good as they should be.

Only those small streams in the mountains are clear and sparkly. Beech trees arch over them. Granite boulders flecked with quartz shine from their depths. The rainbows of Fiordland are at their best in February. This fishing is without peer for those who want to mix scenery and wildness with trout gathering. Don't expect huge trout but expect to see and catch more than a handful. A sparkling royal coachman on a riffle under a glacier carved mountain, drifting over a bright-eyed trout is anticipation defined.     

Maurice Rodway
Southland, New Zealand                           E-mail:

Article © 2003 Maurice Rodway, All Rights Reserved.


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