Otago Fishing Report - 8/9/23

Fortune favours the Brave!

It’s hard to know which one I prefer. Nymphing, swinging, and dry fly: they each have their own sublime flavour that’s near impossible to explain to the uninitiated.

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If I was held at gunpoint on the side of the Mata-au, forced against my will by some sick-and-twisted riverine bandit to choose one method until the day I die, I’m not sure I could. I’d probably resort to blubbering and trying wholeheartedly to describe in avid detail the cosmos-shifting feeling of ‘the grab’; the dopamine eruption of a woollen strike indicator ducking beneath the surface; the rapturous moment a fish rises to eat your dry fly while your brain shouts at you, don’t strike early, don’t strike early, don’t strike early…now!
I know a bit about blubbering over fish. Last weekend I hooked many, many trout and somehow lost them all. I’ll save you the expletives but suffice it to say I was pretty fed up by the time I sulked home empty-handed. Was it my fly? Changed it. Was it my leader? Changed that too. Was it me? Well, f&%#. 

Despite quite possibly the least successful day’s fishing in my life, I was back on the river the following day and managed to get six beauties to the net in just a couple of hours – a mix of vibrant red jacks and fat, silvery hens. Fishing, you’re a fickle bastard. 

I’ve been experimenting with all the above methods over the past few weeks and have experienced some success with them all. Nymphing has by far been the most lucrative method, with globugs and Cleardrift eggs making up the majority of my catches. However, I’ve noticed this week as the weather has warmed up that stonefly patterns are starting to get some serious attention, too. Swung/stripped woolly buggers – in green and black variations – have accounted for some bigger fish in the tally, though I still haven’t seen the spawn-recovering brown trout population back in action just yet. Lastly, the Upper Clutha has seen a few sporadic midday mayfly hatches that are attracting the attention of some of the more zealous fish – it’s definitely worth dropping a hopeful Parachute Adams in front of them; I had an absolute ride on one fish that smashed my Adams off the surface, jumped nine times, and ended up on the other side of the river. (I did land manage to land it, by some miracle of fluorocarbon.)

You know spring has arrived in Central Otago when the wind starts whipping and the rainbows show up in droves. Get out there and have a crack!


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