There are not many fishing days left until the end of the season so we need to make the most of it.
As I tap out this column, river conditions are good but there is some heavy rain forecast — hopefully not enough to spoil the fishing.
The Taieri looks the best bet at the moment — it is low and clear throughout its length. Those rivers rising in the Southern Alps could well be washed out due to the rain that is falling there. The small feeder streams away from the main divide should be fishable and of course there are numerous stillwaters that will remain fishable regardless of the weather.
Because the temperatures of rivers have dropped there is little fish action first thing in the morning. By mid-morning there should be some fish feeding and the pick of the fishing is in the afternoons.
Two recent outings demonstrated typical autumn fishing. The first was on the Mataura when I fished two days in a row. The first day was cool, windy and overcast and nothing happened all day — no flies or fish movement, but the next day was completely different. It was fine and warm and there were fish to be seen from the start. There were no rises but there was the odd trout lying close to the edge in the shallows, spooked as I walked up the river.
Coming to a nice ripply run I fished a pair of nymphs blind but only managed to spook a couple of trout. As it was sunny and the water very clear I decided to fish a longer line and more upstream than straight across.
Within a few casts I hooked a fish, landed it and after returning it, hooked another on the next cast. Then it dropped off after a long run and a jump.
A third fish was more obliging and came to the net. This was a fish that would spawn shortly. It was quite dark and the mucus was thick and slippery over all its body whereas the first fish was silvery and had little mucus on it.
After lunch I expected some fly life and fish activity. I caught one fish blind then the odd dun appeared and soon after I saw a gentle rise, looking as if what was taken was just below the surface.
The next rise was the fish taking my nymph just below the surface too. The activity did not last long but long enough to account for a few more fish.
The next outing was on the Taieri with the odd rise in the morning although I could not see any flies. The fish took the nymph well enough. These were in relatively shallow water. Then everything stopped and despite clear water and sunshine I did not see any fish I plugged away then mid-afternoon I saw some rises at the tail of a deep pool. They too took the nymph to round of a pleasant day on the water.