The new season starts on Oct 1, and while many waters of the Upper Clutha are closed until November 1, there are still plenty of waters opening up to get excited about.
Southern rivers such as the Mataura are showing fishable flows, as are some eastern rivers, although the Taieri looks to be out for a while with high flows.
With the cool southerly winds we have been having, there may be some mayfly hatches, but most fish should be feeding on nymphs if no surface activity is seen. Small general patters such as black beadhead hare and copper variants are usually a safe bet to start.
Locally, the lower stretches of the Makarora and Matukituki rivers that are open have been seeing good numbers of rainbows moving through. There have also been some unusually large browns caught around the lake edge, which is nice to see.
Brown are feeding on bullies. We were out the other day fishing some mudflats, and I reckon a saw over 50 fish in a couple of hours - not all would take the fly, but enough did to keep us happy! Imitations should be cast well ahead of cruising fish, and lifted off the mud or stones when the trout is about 1m away. If the fish strikes, it happens very quickly, so stay alert!
Southern Wild has good stocks of fresh tapered leaders and tippet. Make sure you discard the old leader and tippet from last season and tie on a fresh one, as they break down and dry out with time. I prefer to tie leaders onto the fly line with a nail knot, as it’s a far superior connection to turn the fly over than the usual loop to loop connection. Southern Wild has nippers with a nail knot tool attached. Invaluable as it gets the knot quickly and correctly tied every time (a quick visit to YouTube helps!).
Purchase your license for the coming season at Southern Wild, and pick up a few essentials while you are there, or online atwww.fishandgame.org.nz
Below is a nice brown from opening day last year on a small West Coast river.