Wild weather hampers anglers

PRIZED CATCH: Sweet success for Tom Howard.
PRIZED CATCH: Sweet success for Tom Howard.

The pleasure of fishing comes from more than just the catch.

Tom Howard of Christchurch enjoyed success over the New Year holidays on board "Excalibur" when he caught a fine 3.82lb (1.7kg) rainbow trout. It was the first time he had caught a fish in New Zealand, and it made his 24-hour license worthy of the investment.

He was spending time with his extended family at Lake Benmore, and to the delight of everyone the fresh smoked trout graced the dinner table that evening.

The weather has been more kind to Canterbury anglers than elsewhere in the South Island where rainfall and strong winds have been a pest to anglers.

Local river flows have been good for fishing but whether they remain so this weekend will have been determined by the irregular weather patterns that have plagued Otago over the past couple of days.

At Central South Island inland lakes, the green beetle fly is perhaps the best choice when traditional flies or spinning gear has been unsuccessful, although almost anything in the soft-bait range has provided some excitement.

Boating has not been impossible but at times the inland lakes have been quite rough.

North Canterbury waters have been variable although Lake Coleridge is producing good landlocked salmon after dark. Luminous tackle is the answer!

North Canterbury Fish & Game released another 100 well conditioned salmon into the Groynes Fishing Lakes last week but rangers were disappointed to find a number of adults fishing these lakes illegally this season - clearly there are some who ignore the regulations that state this water is reserved for junior angling.

Since Christmas it's been "the summer that never was," for anglers fishing Otago waters. Holiday-makers suffered miserable conditions. It has simply been a matter of picking the best available fishing water and avoiding the worst of the windy conditions.

Most Otago catchments have had 10-30mm of rainfall this past week, resulting in discoloured water conditions amidst strong winds.

Water levels in Lake Wakatipu were normal for this time of year. Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea are both well above normal water levels. This is the perfect answer to dry fly anglers fishing the edgewater for feeding trout that are cruising close to shore.

But first ... the wind needs to drop.

A poor weather forecast for tomorrow has prompted the Lake Alexandrina Conservation Trust to bring forward the crested grebe count into activities to today.

"Today we are having the first work day for 2014 at the Lake Alexandrina outlet. We will be spraying wilding pines, broom and briar around the camp, outlet huts, walking tracks and Lake MacGregor areas," says trust spokesperson Mary Wallace.

Today's plan is to commence with a meeting at the outlet at 0930 and end the day with a sausage sizzle. And as always, she suggests you dress for all seasons and wear sensible shoes.

This week an invitation to to a Spanish trout fishing expedition that concludes with an opportunity to run with the bulls came my way. I don't know whether to feel elated or exasperated!

It has been described as a dynamic angling and unique cultural experience that begins in the Pyrenees Mountains for four nights and three days of trout fishing, in one of Europe's most pristine environments. High mountain streams, national parks, and a variety of mid and lower-elevation rivers offer excellent trout fishing during the first part of the week. Then the offer continues with a visit to Old Pamplona for three nights to revel in the extraordinary spectacle that is the Running of the Bulls.

I fear the invite is 40 years too late but I will report back in due course.

The Timaru Herald