Small fry . . . Gore angler Josh Egan (left) holds one of the smaller trout he and his friend Mack Brown caught in the Mataura River at the Otamita Bridge on opening day. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore anglers Mack Brown and Josh Egan made the most of the weekend’s sunny weather to join others on the river banks for their first opening day.

The fishing season opened on Saturday, and ends on April 30.

Mr Brown said he enjoyed his first opening day and would be back next year.

‘‘[It was] good seeing everyone out enjoying the amazing weather we had.’’

He managed to catch about 10 fish of varying sizes.

The ones he and Mr Egan caught in the Mataura River at the Otamita Bridge were likely fish that had hatched last year.

‘‘They’re pretty fresh to the river.

‘‘We’re hoping for a lot bigger than that.’’

Some people used a metal lure, but he preferred a soft plastic lure that looked like a small fish and moved like one through the water.

The fish seemed to ‘‘love it a lot more’’.

It was important to wind the lure in slowly and consistently, or else the fish would get ‘‘spooked’’, he said.

‘‘We try to get something that looks similar to what the fish are already eating, and we try to present it well in the water in order for the fish to get attracted to it.’’

If the lure behaved like a fish, the trout could follow it into the open water.

‘‘Quite often you are not getting the bites under the trees like you think you might be, but you are taking them out of the trees and tricking them and then they will take a bite out here.’’

He had attached 2m of a fluorocarbon line to the 6lb (2.7kg) weight braided fishing line he used.

‘‘Basically, once that hits the water it is invisible and all the fish are seeing is our lure.

‘‘That is what makes the difference between people catching fish and not catching fish.’’

When he first starting catching trout, he had smoked and eaten it.

‘‘That was the whole point at the start, to have a go and eat something local.’’

Now when he caught fish, he let them go.

‘‘We are not here to catch food for the freezer.

‘‘It’s about having a good time, getting outdoors and doing something useful, [as] opposed to sitting inside with computers all day.’’

Growing up in Oamaru, Mr Brown had gone fishing with his family.

‘‘We do a lot of fishing there just in the harbour. ‘‘

In the harbour, bait on the end of a hook was used to catch fish.

River fishing was different.

‘‘This is tricking the fish into thinking they are going to eat something that they’re used to.

‘‘Completely different but a lot more challenging and fun.’’

It was now his favourite kind of fishing and he was ‘‘addicted’’.

Southland Fish and Game field officer Cohen Stewart said Southland had a very good start to the fishing season.

‘‘The weather was sunny and warm, most rivers were in good fishing order and the trout were biting.

‘‘Most anglers I spoke with reported having some success.’’

As the season progressed, the fishing should only get better.

‘‘I encourage anglers to get out fishing as much as they can this season and make the most of our fantastic resource,’’ he said.