Three-trout catch a winner on opening day

In the bag. . . Wyndham Angling Club member Martin Greenfield caught these three trout on opening day and won the club’s Greenslade Memorial Trophy for the best bag of fish caught on the day. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Despite dirty river conditions, Martin Greenfield has made a promising start to the fishing season.

The Wyndham Angling Club member weighed in three trout on Sunday to win the club’s Greenslade Memorial Trophy for the best bag of fish caught on opening day.

Anglers may enter up to four fish in the competition but Mr Greenfield was the only member to enter more than two.

He used a worm rather than a lure to catch the fish, Mr Greenfield said.

‘‘The rivers were up and dirty so it wasn’t much good for anything else, really.’’

The fish had a keen sense of smell, he said.

He started fishing on the Mimihau River, caught two, briefly fished the Wyndham River but it was too dirty and then moved to the Mataura River.

The fish were in very good condition, which was partly due to the recent flooding.

‘‘A lot of the worms get washed down into the river and [the trout] will be picking up on that.

‘‘That puts the weight on.’’

In terms of opening day bags, he had had better results but also a lot worse.

‘‘Some opening days have been atrocious.’’

The heaviest of the three fish was 1.47kg.

He gave most of what he caught away but if he did eat the fish, he filleted them first, rolled the fillets in flour and then cooked them in butter.

The secret was to lightly cook the fish, he said.

‘‘A lot of people make the mistake of overcooking them and they don’t like the taste of them.

‘‘They reckon they taste muddy but that’s because they cook them too much.’’

Sometimes he hot-smoked the fillets as well.

Club member Alan Leitch landed a 1.675kg trout which was the heaviest fish of the day.

Southland Fish & Game field officer Ben Febery said from the feedback he had heard anglers enjoyed the day out fishing at their favourite spots.

‘‘Anglers are a nostalgic bunch and get a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment from returning to their favourite haunts and reliving fond memories.’’

Before opening day, anglers were nervously hoping that the river conditions would improve in time.

‘‘The smaller, upland streams seemed to have provided the best conditions,’’ Mr Febery said.

‘‘Our larger rivers were still slightly high and milky coloured and this favoured the spin and bait anglers.

‘‘Also, the breeze that kicked up in the afternoon tested anglers’ rusty fly casting skills.’’

The recent floods which had left some banks with a layer of silt and mud made for some mucky and slippery conditions.

Quite a few families were seen to be making the most of it during a weekend and school holidays, he said.