Late season is my favourite time to fish, with settled weather, low river flows, optimum water temperatures, good hatches, best conditioned fish of the season, and best of all virtually no other anglers around.
The Nelson backcountry rivers have been fishing OK, although fish numbers are down this season, but some beautiful 2-3.5kg trout around as compensation. It wasn’t a particularly good cicada season, although the caddis and mayflies are coming on strong now with flies in the #14-16 size band working best on 4-5x tippet. Helicopter waters of the West Coast have been a highlight, with low flows allowing access to some gorges rarely able to be fished.
Locally the fishing has been patchy, many rivers like the Motupiko and Buller are best avoided, but rivers with cooler water like the Owen, Wangapeka, Matakitaki, Wairau have been the places to go fishing with small weighted nymphs. Motueka river passionfruit hopper fishing has as always been a highlight. Fish are selective but offer exciting surface fishing with light rods, 5x and pv hopper imitations. April – May fishing is the best of the year.
Saltwater fishing in Tasman Bay has been awesome – some of the best fishing in 40 years. We’ve had great success on Albacore Tuna lately trolling CD14 Rapala lures around flocking gannets, current lines, and dolphin work-ups. Lots of snapper, gurnard and blue cod etc jigging with soft plastics on 2/0 hooks and ¼- ½ oz jig heads on light rods with braid.
Away on a West Coast road trip this coming week so will report back soon on what’s happening further south.
Zane Mirfin, Strike Adventure