Central South Island Reel Life April 2019
Summer season winds up
The 2018-2019 summer fishing season was a good one.
Right: "Fish on"at the Tekapo Canal (Photo Rhys Adams).
Regular springtime rainfalls provided some great river flows over the busy holiday season and in general, conditions were mild.
With the end of the summer season finishing up on Tuesday April 30th, it’s time to dig out your 2018-2019 regulation guide and reacquaint yourself with the CSI’s 'all-season' and 'winter' fisheries.
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 regulation’s booklet, keep an eye out for the upcoming “winter season” options which kick in from June 1.
These winter seasons give you more low country options.
Above right: 'Fish-On' at the Tekapo Canal (Photo Rhys Adams).
Sea-run salmon monitoring
The size of the salmon run each year is a hot topic on the river bank.
And It's no secret that over the last few years the runs in our rivers have been poor.
For a third year in a row, angler catches appeared to be on the low side, but how low?
When catches are low we can only hope that the fish were there, but simply evaded the anglers and made it to the spawning grounds to produce more offspring for future season.
The spawning numbers and angler harvest figures are critical pieces of information for Fish & Game to use when setting regulations and monitoring projects and initiatives.
Please anticipate a phone call or email soon regarding the salmon harvest survey.
Your participation is critical, even if you went sea-run salmon fishing but didn’t catch one.
Spawning surveys are currently underway and will continue through to early July.
We count both live fish and redds (nests) depending on the waterway and resources available.
Options for May
Brown trout will turn their focus to spawning in May and June and there are opportunities to target these fish as they become aggressive.
Although all spawning streams are closed for fishing in May, trout can be targeted in lakes near inflowing river and stream mouths.
If the lake is shallow in the vicinity of stream mouths and the water is clear, try fishing at night as the fish will move in near shore under the cover of darkness.
Fishing the lake when the inflowing 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 generally 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 is to use a standard spinning rod with a small sinker about 1.5 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.
Lakes Tekapo and Ohau offer scenic and sometimes productive shoreline fishing in May too.
The Mackenzie Basin canals are a great destination in May, arguably the best sports fishing option in the country for the month.
Fishing for big wily brown trout appears to improve when brown trout becoming aggressive prior to spawning in late April and through to June.
Try fishing around the salmon farms and the top ends of the canals in May.
Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer
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