As Murray and I drove south at the weekend we said that the weather was typical of spring - cold, showery and windy.

It was only 10degC when we arrived at the river. Luckily, things improved after that - it was rather hot early in the week followed by further spring-like weather on Wednesday.

The heavy rain affected streams close to the south coast but those inland missed most of it and all are dropping as the weekend approaches.

So where to go?


Well, I know where I am going as I am running a fly-fishing course in Invercargill on the weekend.

Luckily, the Mataura above the Wyndham River is at a good fishing height for the Sunday session on the river.

The other rivers worth a look at are the Pomahaka, all of the Taieri and most other streams, other than the Catlins and Owaka.

North Otago streams are approaching low summer levels and should provide challenging fishing for better-than-average trout.

On cooler days, mayflies can be expected to hatch throughout the day, so if you see rises a small nymph or an emerger is worth trying. If the rises are under the willows, they will probably be to willow grub.

Our trip to the Mataura was not as productive as we would normally expect at this time of year.

The water was clear and there were mayflies hatching on and off throughout the day but there were few rises and very few fish to be seen in the shallows.

We started fishing opposite each other on favourite ripple, Murray on the true-left and me on the true-right bank.


This ripple was chosen as it was relatively sheltered from the strong wind.

Murray had a couple lower down in the ripple and then a couple in the shallows at the top of it and I also had a couple in the shallows at the top on my side. All these fish were on the hare's ear nymph.

Usually when fishing a ripple like this, the odd fish is spooked but I did not see any other than those I hooked.

I did spook a couple further up in the next ripple and caught another.

After lunch we moved to another favourite spot, which again was fairly sheltered but what had been the best part of it has been totally changed by the spring floods.

Water that was knee-deep is now ankle-deep and where there had been fist-sized stones on the bed there is now fine gravel.

Fine gravel does not hold many nymphs as there is not much space between the stones for them and it is very unstable, moving with even small floods.

So where there had been 200m of prime water there is only the odd spot that would hold fish.

On the law of averages, some parts of the river would have changed for the better during the floods - it is just a matter of finding them.