Proudly brought to you by Craig Smith from Hatch Fishing
With the end of April, rivers around most of NZ have closed. However, in the Southern Lakes, we are lucky enough to have our season extend to the end of May, as well as a couple of lower river sections and lakes open throughout the winter.
During May, the river fishing in our backcountry rivers tends to focus on targeting rainbows, with the mouths offering some exciting fishing if the levels are low. There will still be some browns congregating around the mouths and moving up the rivers during early May as well, and these fish are very catchable.
As the browns pair up they become a bit challenging to catch. If you find solitary fish, they are the ones to target.
There can be some nice mayfly hatches in the afternoons if the river you are fishing has enough food to support a decent hatch.
Flies to use around the mouths tend to be bully imitations, although on the warmer afternoons blowflies have been working. On very calm glassy mornings there are still some midge around, and a 16 black gnat can get results if you are careful.
If you are fishing smaller rivers, make sure you avoid wading through the spawning beds (‘redds’) of the browns - you can see these as clear patches of gravel that have been turned over, and are typically devoid of and week or algae growth like the surrounding gravel.
Looking back over the last season, while it has not been easy fishing, overall we have had good fishing, with one notable feature being the unusually large number of “big” fish landed (7lb plus).
Below is a lovely Otago brown caught at the end of April this season. It rose to a beautifully presented Dads Favourite by my client David. Fish like this don’t get fooled easily, and we had spent some time practicing the cast further down the river away from the fish before making the presentation. A 16’ 4.5x leader was used with a reach cast, and to his credit, David didn’t crumble under pressure, and straightened the leader perfectly. He also managed to wait and time the strike with the obvious good result. I’m not sure I could have done as well myself!
Enjoy the Autumn fishing.