New waters need extra thought
The fishing water you are holidaying beside might be quite different from your normal fishing spots, but basic fishing principles remain. Check your tackle before you go near the water. You can usually assemble the rod and reel at your campsite or at the car, but leave your terminal tackle selection until you inspect the stream bed or edgewater conditions.
There is no point in tying on weighted nymphs if you are going to be fishing over a shallow weed bed. And neither is there any point in tying on a 7g Zed spinner if you are going to be fishing a deep pool that features fast flowing water. Your lightweight tackle won’t get down to the fish.
The trick is to match your terminal tackle to the flow and water depth so that it works in a realistic manner in the bottom 20 per cent of fishable water.
If that sounds complex, think about it this way – unless you see trout regularly rising to the surface, assume your fish are near the bottom.
There is good reason for this. Trout spend endless hours feeding. Most of the feed originates among the stones or the weed attached to the stream or lake bed. Skimming spinning tackle through the surface water will more than likely frighten feeding trout and they will probably seek stone fly or mayfly nymphs on the stream bed instead.
There are exceptions , but generally you will catch more fish by fishing the bottom 20 per cent of the water.
If you are fishing over a lake weed bed, choose nymphs that have enough buoyancy to remain just above the weed, otherwise you will spend all day clearing the tackle.
If you are not familiar with the river or lake you are about to fish, approach it slowly to avoid spooking unseen fish. Do what the guides do, and stand quietly back while watching for shadows in the bed of the water. Often it’s the moving shadow that gives away the position of the fish.
Your shadow will spook trout too, so consider your casting position carefully. On February 8 the annual Lake Mapourika fishing competition is held over three days. The contest is run by the South Westland Lions Club. This is a great social competition to take part in. Take your under 18 year-olds for a day’s fishing at Lake Lyndon and providing they have the appropriate licence (free for under 12 years and $24 for under 18 years) they have the chance to win a prize if they catch a tagged fish. The tagged fish were released into the lake for the December Take a Kid Fishing event. Present the yellow spaghetti-shaped tag to North Canterbury Fish and Game to get a prize. As always, salmon fishing has been subject to river conditions, but right now some anglers are remembering that the 2012/13 season runs died away in January.
Obviously that’s something nobody wants, but it’s a good enough excuse to encourage you to get out with the salmon gear, now.
Trout anglers have not seen such a good season for years. At one stage pre-Christmas there were upward of about 2000 prime trout in the lower reaches of the Selwyn River. Was that because the lake had been open for quite some time?
Who knows, but suffice to say it has resulted in magnificent fishing opportunities. Pre-Christmas, cray pots off Kaikoura often included 40 or 50
Queuing at sunrise: Salmon fishing at the Waimakariri River mouth can get busy early mornings.
Gotcha: Kegan Gray, Cameron Bartrum and Logan Reinke with good catches at Lake Lyndon in December.
Big blue: Kaikoura is known for its crays and blue cod, pictured, but salmon will be added to the list soon.