Reel Life November 2021

October provides the goods

The fishing has been great this October with some “highlight” catches reported from the Opihi Catchment and the upper Ōhau River backcountry fishery.

Make sure you secure your backcountry licence endorsement before you fish the upper Ōhau this season, it just takes a few minutes on our website – grab your 21/22 season licence number and click here.

There have been a couple of challenges however, the Ashburton and Rangitata rivers have often held colour from Nor-west rain and snowmelt and for the Ashburton River, the north branch is still recovering from the major flood event at the end of May and may not clear for some time.

Above Right: Rhys Adams with a large brown trout caught at the Opihi River, October 2021 - Credit R Adams

October and November for Lakes

During late October and November, we highly recommend fishing our large hydro lakes: Opuha, Tekapo, Pukaki, Ohau, Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki.

Fish the shallow edges for brown trout and around river mouths for rainbow trout.

Here’s an example of how productive our lake fishing can be – watch Pure Fly NZ at Lake Pukaki.

Just use classic lure options: spinners like hex wobblers and toby; flies like woolley buggers; and baits like garden worms and shrimp.     

Options galore in November

With our high-country waters opening up on the first Saturday in November (6th) you’re about to have more fishing options than time to go fishing!

The high-country opening is a great social occasion for many, but there are plenty of “secret spots” on offer too, you just need a map and a sense of adventure.

Popular high-country opening spots include: the Ashburton Lakes, Lake Alexandrina and Macgregor, the Tekapo and Twizel Rivers, the Ahuriri River downstream of its Longslip Creek confluence, and Hakataramea River.

In your high-country travels, please be mindful of farmed stock, especially sheep and lambs, and seek permission to cross private land.

As always, a read-through of the regulation guide is a must before the start of the High-country fishing season – click here.

Two “classic” offences made by anglers around the high-country opening is fishing before the first Saturday in November and fishing the upper Ahuriri River – upstream of its Longslip Creek Confluence – before it opens on the first Saturday in December.      

Regulation change for Lake Heron salmon 

RL Oct CSI 2 Lake Heron is a popular spot for high country opening Credit R Adams

Lake Heron is a popular spot for high-country opening-Credit R Adams

Lake Heron is a favourite spot for a social start to the high-country season.

Lake Heron offers a fantastic brown and rainbow trout fishery but the target for most anglers on opening are the lake-resident salmon.

The size limit (slot limit) for salmon at Lake Heron has changed.

The minimum take-able size has increased from 250mm and is now 300mm.

The maximum take-able size remains at 450mm to prohibit harvest of sea-run salmon on their spawning run and the bag limit remains at 4 sports fish (combined trout and salmon total).

The new minimum size limit for salmon aims to reduce the harvest of two-year-old lake type salmon.

Sea Run Salmon Season Bag Limit Card required for Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions

We anticipate that the first sea-run salmon caught for the season will happen at the Rangitata River this November.

Any angler that targets sea run salmon or wishes to keep any incidentally caught sea run salmon while trout fishing must hold a Sea Run Salmon Endorsement and a Sea Run Salmon Bag Limit Card.

All the information you need to know about the new sea-run salmon fishing rules and requirements can be found here on the Fish & Game Website.

If you have a specific question, try our helpful Sea Run Salmon FAQ’s, click here.

2 fish Daily Bag limit for the hydro canals and Lake Ruataniwha

The canals are a great spot to try your luck in November.

We recommend fishing around the salmon farms as the post-spawning rainbows will be back there feeding up to regain condition.

Please be advised that the daily bag limit for the Mackenzie hydro canals and Lake Ruataniwha has been reduced for the new season.

The daily bag limit is now 2 sports fish total (combined catch of trout and salmon),

Additionally, the only size limit regulation in place at the canals is a minimum size of 300mm for salmon.

If you are new to fishing the canals be sure to check out our hydro Canal information pamphlet – click here.

Lake Tekapo put-and-take salmon fishery release

WFR2123.11 Fish Game released 9500 salmon smolt into Lake Tekapo to support its put n take salmon fishery credit H Stevens

Fish & Game released 9,500 salmon smolt into Lake Tekapo to support its put-and-take salmon fishery- credit H Stevens

Thanks to a gift of 9,500 salmon smolt from Mount Cook Alpine Salmon we have continued to enhance the put-and-take salmon fishery at Lake Tekapo.

The salmon smolt were raised at the hatchery near the junction of Ohau and Pukaki canals and were gifted to anglers as part of Mount Cook Alpine Salmon’s philosophy of giving back to the community.

Releases of salmon in Lake Tekapo have occurred most years since 2010 with some great catches of 2-4-pound salmon reported two to three years after releases have occurred.

The release of 9,500 smolt this September on top of a release in November 2020 is expected to provide for great salmon fishing, but we will have to wait a bit longer for them to grow bigger.”

We anticipate the salmon fishing will be productive at Lake Tekapo from Spring 2022 to Autumn 2024


2021 Kids Salmon Fishing Day - Cancelled 

The proposed 2021 Kids Salmon Fishing Day in Twizel, pencilled in for 7 November, has been cancelled.

Unfortunately, we cannot ensure kids and their families members attending the event can adhere to covid-19 Level-2 event safety requirements.



Meet in Twizel, outside Jakes Hardware Store 8.30am for a briefing and for your Spot Prize number.

Generous sponsors mean the spot prizes are really good again this year. 

BBQ Salmon Lunch supplied by Mt Cook Alpine Salmon and High Country Salmon. 12 midday

Council Election Results 

The results of the 2021 Fish & Game elections can be found here

Congratulations to the elected members of the CSI Council: Steve Bannister, Paul Centofanti, John Dewit, Steve Gerard, Linn Koevoet, Nic Niles, Dean Rattray and Clark Stanger. 

We acknowledge those Central South Island Fish and Game Councillors who are standing down or were not re-elected.

We thank them for their hard work and commitment in a voluntary capacity, serving as Councillors in support of our beloved sports fish and game bird resources.

Thank you to Matthew Hall (30+ years), Daniel Isbister (12 years), Brent Growcott (9 years), Andrew Simpson (3 years), Craig McKenzie (3 years), Chanaide Fulton (3 years) and Alan Brooks (3 years).

Draft Sports Fish and Game Management Plan

The Draft Sports Fish and Game Management Plan for the Central South Island Region was publicly notified on 16 October.

Submissions are due before 5pm on 10 December 2021. The Draft Plan, public notice and submission form can be found here.

Tight lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer