CSI Reel Life April 2017

'Ripper' season with more to come

The 2016-2017 summer fishing season has been a cracker.

Mild conditions and regular rainfalls gave us the best summer river flows we have had in years.

Right: The adipose fin about to be clipped off a brook char.

With the flows still elevated heading into May, we anticipate that brown trout will have plenty of small streams to access and spawning effort should be well distributed.

That means their eggs will be spread among many baskets, a good insurance policy for the sustainability of fisheries.

With the end of the summer season (on Sunday April 30), it’s time to dig out your regulation guide and familiarise yourself again with CSI’s all season fisheries.

You can also click here to view the online version of the guide.

A useful selection of our high country lakes and canals are open for fishing in May.

Please do take the time to read the “regs” and keep to the open water.

With your head buried in the regulations booklet keep an eye out for the upcoming ‘winter season’ options which kick off on June 1.  

These winter seasons give you more low country options.

Options for May

RLaprilCSI2The Ahuriri arm of Lake Benmore is a great spot to fish in MayBrown trout will turn their focus to spawning in May and June and there are opportunities to target these fish as they become aggressive.

Left: The Ahuriri arm of Lake Benmore is a great spot to fish in May.

Although all spawning streams are closed for fishing in May, brown trout can be targeted in lakes near in-flowing river and stream mouths as they prepare to enter the streams.

If the lake is shallow near stream mouths and the water's clear, try night fishing as the fish will move in near shore under the cover of darkness.

Fishing the lake when the in-flowing streams are high and discoloured and spewing silty water out into the lake can be effective too as the fish will be attracted to this water.

Rainbow trout don’t spawn for a month or two yet so target these in lakes as per usual in May.

A fish finder on your boat may prove valuable for fishing the deeper water.

Try trolling drop offs and river mouth deltas.

In shallow areas a lead line may be too weighty for trolling, so an alternative would be to use a standard spinning rod with a small sinker about two metres in front of a Parsons Glory or Mrs Simpson fly.

Shallow diving Rapala lures should do the job too.

Harling with a floating or slow sink fly line will be just as effective.  

Lake Benmore is a great sports fishery and is open all year.

The delta areas of the Ahuriri, Tekapo and Lower Ohau Rivers are go-to areas year round with shallow mud and weed areas and deeper drop offs to target.

Lake Tekapo is also worth a try around the Cass and Mistake River mouths.

Both these lakes have Chinook salmon on offer as well.   

The Mackenzie Basin Canals are a great destination in May, providing arguably the best May sports fishing option in the country.

Fishing for big wily brown trout appears to improve as they become aggressive prior to spawning in Late April and through May.

Try fishing around the farms and the top ends of the canals at this time of year.

Fisheries monitoring

Lake Emily in the Ashburton Lakes District is unique in the fact that it holds brook  char of a size that can bend a rod.

Part of the attraction of Lake Emily is the serious challenge of catching a fish, as it isn’t easy!

Not only are the fish hard to catch, the lake is exposed and windswept and difficult to access, and its tannin-stained waters make spotting fish near impossible.

Fish & Game is keen to maintain this challenging fishery and if need be, enhance it with stocking.

If you fished the lake this season please email Fish & Game Officer Rhys Adams: radams@fishandgame.org.nz and pass on information about your fishing experience there.

This summer Fish & Game released 76 small (45-195mm) brook char into the lake.

The fish had their adipose fins (the small fin between the dorsal fin and tail) clipped for monitoring purposes.

If you caught one this season please let us know.

Also, if you fish the lake next season, keep in mind that we'd like to hear from you whether you catch a fin-clipped fish or nothing at all.

Upper Ahuriri River angler survey

Did you fish the upper Ahuriri River and associated lagoons and tarns upstream of Longslip Creek (Birchwood Rd turnoff) this year? If so, we would like to hear about your day(s)!

An online version of our upper Ahuriri angler satisfaction survey can be filled in by visiting our website, click here.

It only takes a few minutes.

We plan to use this information to maintain the satisfaction of anglers who visit the area for the high quality back country fishing on offer.

Central South Island Fish & Game Officer Rhys Adams

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