Reel Life September 2020

Early Season is Awesome

The new season starts on Thursday the 1st of October!

Purchased your new 2020-2021 licence here and reconnect with “your” river or lake.

The new season starts smack-bang in the middle of the school holidays so take the time to teach a young-one the joys of fishing, it’s so worth it.  

The month of October can offer some of the best fishing of the season in our lowland waterways.

Right: Blake Marrett had success worm fishing on Lake Opuha on Opening Day 2019 credit R Cosgrove.

Top spots in October include Lake Opuha, the Opihi River and tributaries and the Waitaki River.

Add to that it’s a great time to fish lake margins in large Waitaki and Mackenzie Country lakes like Tekapo, Benmore and Waitaki.

If you needed another option the Mackenzie Country canals fish well in October If you are after a salmon or fat trout for dinner.

Try imitation-egg drifting, soft baiting or bait fishing with shrimp or huhu grub around the salmon farms.

Regulation Changes

Be sure to check out the new 2020-2021 season’ regulation guide here.

Of note, the start of the sea-run salmon season has returned to October 1.

High Country Opening Date

It’s time to start planning your annual fishing trip with friends and family for High Country Opening Weekend.

This year it all kicks off on Saturday the 7th of November.

South Canterbury Anniversary Weekend

South Canterbury folk have a public holiday to enjoy on Monday the 28th of September, a favourite day to head out for a fish at our year-round fisheries like the canals, Lake Tekapo and Lake Aviemore.

Please be aware that a 2019-2020 licence is required in September 2020 and that the new 2020-2021 licence does not become valid until the 1st of October.

Upper Ohau “Spring Season”

RL CSI 2 Ben Reeves fishing in the snow on the opening day of the 2020 Uper Ohau Spring Season Credit R Adams

Ben Reeves fishing in the snow on the opening day of the 2020 Upper Ohau Spring Season-Credit R Adams

The Spring Season, a new and one-of-a-kind fishing initiative on the upper Ohau River, near Twizel, proved successful in its first year. 

The second Spring Season kicked off on the 1st of September 2020 and despite the snow and frigid conditions, 36 anglers were checked on and surveyed by one of our rangers. 

The river is open in October too, and will be worth fishing, especially early in the month.

In summertime the river holds very few fish and compared to neighbouring waterways holds little opportunity. 

Fishing the upper Ohau River is not for the faint-hearted, mobility impaired or anyone who has a strong aversion to didymo.

But, if you want to catch a canal trout in a river, well away from the salmon farms and uniform riparian aesthetics, this might be for you. 

The future “look” of the Spring Season is uncertain and will be reviewed once the 2020 Spring Season creel survey is completed. 

A precautionary approach to the anticipated rise in popularity of this Spring Season means the Upper Ohau River will not be open in September 2021. 

This closure will give CSI staff time to assess regulations that maintain the angling experience and sustainability of this unique fishery. 

The 2019 Spring Season survey report can be found here

Tagged Tekapo Trout

Keep an eye out for tagged trout in the Tekapo Canal.

Check this video out for more info on the Tekapo Canal tagging project

If you catch a tagged trout please get in touch and let us know the unique four-digit tag number, location, whether it was kept of release and an estimate of size. 

Contact – email csi@fishandgame.org.nz, phone 036158400

Thanks to those anglers that have reported catching tagged trout recently

Most tagged trout have been caught within a few hundred metres of the release site – the upper most bridge on the Tekapo Canal and a only a small number have been caught at the Magic Carpet and down by the salmon farms. 

Winter closure for upper Tekapo Canal

The upper section of the Tekapo Canal will be closed from June to August in 2021.

Click here to read the full media release.

Click here to read the angler use and catch report from the upper Tekapo Canal during the 2019 winter season.

Catch and Release

Catch and release is becoming popular at all our fisheries, especially the canals in spawning season.

Here’s our ‘Quick 5’ tips for handling fish with care: 

  • Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.
  • Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.
  • Do not squeeze the fish and never touch the gills.
  • Photograph the fish in or over the water, and make it quick - the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.
  • Revive the fish facing into the current long enough for it to regain its swimming strength.

In the unfortunate instance that a fish you intended to release does end up bleeding from the gills, so long as you can legally take that fish, you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it. 

Tight lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer