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Southland, New Zealand

Trout Fishing, Best Rivers to Fish Now

Maurice Rodway

Column for January 21, 2005

Summer has been less than ideal for trout fishing. With the exception of six weeks at the beginning most of the time the rain and the wind has made fishing pretty difficult in most places, even where the rivers have been clear.

Determined anglers will have had some successes however. Most of the Te Anau basin rivers have been spared the flooding. The Whitestone is probably past its best with small flows in it now even the odd fresh doesn't restore it much, returning to low flows quickly. The Upukerora and Eglinton are better with some good fishing available there at the moment. The upper Waiau has been producing its feisty little rainbows regularly too.

It is a bit early for the cicadas although a few trout will be interested in one drifting past their noses. A size 12 royal coachman will still be the best bet for high country trout until February, when the cicadas are likely to be more abundant.

Willow grubs will be making trout feed energetically in the upper Mataura. Patience is needed for these fish. The Mataura and Waikaia are still pretty full but at least the Mataura in the Athol-Garston area is starting to come right.

The Makarewa and its tributaries are worth a visit at the moment. Usually they are getting pretty low by the end of January but this year they have good flows and trout fishing will be good in them for some time yet.

The Waiau and Mararoa are best avoided with the invasive freshwater algae spread right throughout. The stuff is upstream as far as the Kiwi Burn swingbridge where it suddenly stops. It appears to be absent in the Mavora Lakes so it is important for anglers to ensure they do not fish in the Waiau or the Mararoa downstream of the Kiwi Burn then go upstream or into other rivers such as the Oreti or the Mataura.

The Hamilton Burn is another smaller stream that is normally very low by this time of the year. At the moment it is in excellent order, and subject to the odd cold front should stay that way for a while yet. The Orauea still seems to have a few fish in it despite high floods and generally turbid water. Again willow grubs will be on the menu there.

Maurice Rodway
Southland, New Zealand                           E-mail:

Article © 2005 Maurice Rodway, All Rights Reserved.


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