In Southland all the big lakes of Fiordland are open throughout the winter.
The most obvious exceptions are Lakes Hankinson, Fergus, Gunn and Waituna, but if you’re unsure, check your regulation booklet, ask the staff at Fish & Game or check out Southland's regulations here .
Great opportunities exist, especially for those targeting trout around stream mouths as they congregate prior to their spawning run. The Fiordland lakes can be a magical place over the winter, when misty morning’s clear with the first rays of sun to reveal mirror-calm conditions in a deserted wilderness.
Most of our main rivers have lower reaches that remain open throughout the year too. However, please don’t make the mistake (as some have at their cost) of assuming that just because it’s tidal it’s open to trout fishing. While many brownies will have ascended the rivers to spawn, some very good fish obviously don’t feel the urge every year and remain in the lower reaches, with large sea-run fish still there for the taking.
Trent Moss eyeballs a lower Oreti River trout.
One opportunity that really should be highlighted is the lower Mataura River below Gore, which remains open for the month of May, although it’s closed for the opening weekend of duck hunting!
With the great weather we’ve continued to have this summer in Southland, mayflies may well be holding off their hatching until some cooler conditions occur, which must surely happen in May!
Often some of the most intense hatches of the season occur in the first two weeks of May, so keen fly anglers shouldn’t overlook the opportunities to fish this world-class water.
The lower Mataura can fish very well through May.