Central South Island Lakes
Nestled between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers of Mid Canterbury lie the Ashburton Lakes. This group of lakes is popular with anglers with a permanent fishing village situated between Lakes Camp and Clearwater. The area is reached from Mt Somers township via the Ashburton Gorge Road. At Hakatere Corner (23km from Mt Somers), the road branches; right to Maori Lakes and Lake Heron and straight ahead to Spider Lakes and Lakes Clearwater, Camp, Emma, and Roundabout.
Lake Heron, 15km from the Hakatere Corner, is the largest of the lakes and home to good populations of brown and rainbow trout. There is also the odd landlocked quinnat salmon. Rowboats and canoes may be used to fish but beware of the nor’wester which may quickly chop up the lake. Maori Lakes bypassed on the way to Lake Heron is surrounded by wetland and raupo swamp. Fishing from anchored rowboats is permitted here.
Lakes Roundabout, Emma and the Spider Lakes
On the road to Lake Clearwater 5kms from Hakatere Corner, a signpost marks the gate and vehicle track to Lakes Roundabout and Emma. On the opposite side of the road 4kms from the Corner there is a track which leads off to Spider Lakes. A short 1km walk is necessary if the track is muddy. Fishing from a moored row boat is permitted on Lake Emma, however boats are prohibited on Lakes Roundabout and Spider.
Lake Camp, 9kms from the Corner, is the only lake where powerboating is permitted. Swimming, boating, and water skiing activities tend to dominate but during quiet periods the odd quality rainbow often rewards angler effort.
In comparison Lake Clearwater is a place of relative peace and solitude. This scenic lake with its picturesque fishing village is 10km from the Haketere Corner. The Lake is open to both fly and spin fishing. While fishing from an anchored rowboat is permitted, most anglers prefer to walk the lake margins stalking the cruising browns with polaroids and an accurate cast. To reach the northern side away from the prevailing nor’westers drive past the village about 2km to the head of the lake and walk from there.