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TROUT FISHING WITH MAURICE RODWAY - Weekly Column: December 20, 2002
Southland, New Zealand

Holiday Angling

Its been a difficult spring for trout fishing. Flooded rivers and cold windy weather has been predominant. We forget that such weather is common in New Zealand up to and often past the Christmas season. Even in places where the weather has a reputation for being fine and sunny, such as Marlborough, settled weather does not often arrive until late January.

This year we have had a nice spell during November and perhaps the current break will be another. Having Christmas without needing the fire on will be a nice change. We are not there yet but at least the sunshine of the moment is worth savouring.

Trout fishing around the longest day is generally very productive, as trout are active and hungry. Water temperatures and day length play a big part in the hungriness of a trout. While the water temperature is around 10-12 degrees Celsius and the day length is still increasing or at its zenith, trout are most active. While the cool weather has spoilt some fishing chances it has kept rivers full of cold water so this Christmas the trout will still be active and ripe for the picking.

Trout in rivers are in good condition due to the favourable feeding conditions of the spring. Those in the lakes will be in a good feeding mood too. The Southern Lakes provide many opportunities for trout fishing. Hundreds of boats will sprout fishing rods and swarm over them during Christmas and New Year. Most of these will be successful in catching some fish.

The lakes have been fishing well so far this year, maybe due to the westerly weather that has kept the surface ruffled and cool. This keeps the trout close to the surface and the waves hide the wake of the boat. Warm, calm conditions allow a warm layer of water to develop on the surface, and since this does not suit trout they seek deeper water where they are harder to catch.

Trolling gadgets abound but there are none better than a fish finder, mainly to see how deep fish are, and devices such as downriggers to get your lure to the correct depth. Very often lack of fish from summer time lake fishing is due to not fishing your lure deeply enough. Sea fishing devices such a jigs can also produce fish when conventional trolling will not.   

If Christmas brings cool windy weather lake fishing just might be a good option. Even if it doesn't just being out there will be worthwhile.

Maurice Rodway
Southland, New Zealand                           E-mail:

Article © 2002 Maurice Rodway, All Rights Reserved.


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