There are many techniques to fishing the hydro canals these include bait, lures, soft baits and the very unique “egg drifting” which is definitely my go to technique to targeting the monster trout that the canals are known for.
Another technique for fishing the canals is soft baiting, which is good for both salmon and trout. Soft baiting is a soft plastic lure on a weighted jig head.
There are a couple of different ways I like to fish soft baits.
The first is very similar to the way I fish my egg drifting setup. I use a very light jig head and drift it along the bottom of the canal tapping the bottom while walking parallel, using my rod to give it subtle twitches. The trout, especially during winter, can get very aggressive towards smaller fish so they can hit your soft plastics super hard.
Another way is with a heavier jig head and I’ll fish this in a similar way to how I’d fish any lure – cast out and keep my finger on the line feeling for it to hit the bottom. I then work the soft bait just above the bottom again with subtle twitches of the rod to give it a nice natural action. Ideally you want your lure in the bottom metre of the water column as the fish tend to sit deep.
Egg drifting is essentially a modified form of Czech Nymphing. Your mainline is tied to a 3-way swivel, and off one eye tie a small 200mm dropper, down to a drop shot sinker. You should match the weight or your sinker to the speed of the current. Ideally you want to be heavy enough to get down quickly but not to heavy that your rig in snagging causing your rig to look unnatural. Off the other eye a long 1.2m dropper to either a glo bug, artificial egg or fly. You then drift this rig deep, walking parallel to your rig with it tapping the bottom of the canal in the current.
The fish in the canals are lazy and don’t need to work or fight for food, they will just hold in the current facing up stream wait for some food to come to them.
They can at times be very selective on what they eat so it’s important to have a good selection of different size and pattern flys with you to work through and find what they’re feeding on.
The trick to being successful at egg drifting is to scour the water, start with one section of water and put 10-15 drifts through from short casts fishing the bank closest to you, to fishing against the far bank. The fish also congregate around change in structure so do some research on the canals you’re going to fish before heading out.