Autumn ephemera make for good days and good prospects


The sun is shining as I type this on my computer, which bodes well for the weekend as the light rain that’s forecast won’t hurt your favorite stream.

Earlier in the week some waters rose a bit but are now back to summer lows.

As autumn approaches, the leaves begin to color and fall, which means that on windy days hooks will frequently come into contact with them, which is a nuisance but a small price to pay for what is often the best catch of the season.

On my last few outings I’ve seen mayflies on the water, both duns and spinners, and trout coming up towards them.

By the end of the season, dun outbreaks and spinner falls will increase in frequency and duration.

Trout seem almost as preoccupied with mayflies as fly fishers, and will pick them up whenever the opportunity, ah, arises.

Mayflies in most of our streams and fly fishers should watch for them when fishing. The best chances to fish for mayfly are on the Taieri, Pomahaka, and Mataura, but all of the smaller streams in the lowlands will also have hatches.

Last weekend, Murray Smart and I fished the Mataura. It was sunny and calm when we pulled up to the Wyndham deck, promising a great day on the water.

I started on a favorite stretch, fishing it carefully with a weighted hare’s ear on the tip and an unweighted version on the dropper.

I would have been so successful without any flies as I didn’t hit a single fish and only spooked a small one near the shore.

Approaching the top of the ripple, I noticed some weird rises on the flat above.

The first one came out fine and I waded in and covered it with my nymphs and one was taken right away.

I don’t know which nymph ran when the fish fell before it got to the net.

A little higher, I spotted a fish under a bush and it took the weightless nymph.

An hour and a half to catch the first fish.

There were quite a few spinners on the water at the time and although there were fish coming up towards them, the climbs were spasmodic and not often enough to convince me they were locked.

I kept the nymphs and when I saw a fish come up I covered it with nymphs and most of the time it was caught. If they didn’t take the first two casts I would let the flies sink deeper on subsequent casts and list the rod when I thought they were near the fish, this would induce a catch but not always a hook. The spinner drop gave about a half hour of enjoyable fishing.

It was getting hot and it was time to have a cup of tea and compare notes with Murray, who had done even better below deck.

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