Reel Life September 2021

Options for September

With our winter fishing seasons finishing up in August, local fishing options are somewhat limited around our main population centres in the CSI Region this September.

The exceptions being Lake Hood near Ashburton and Saltwater Creek in Timaru.  

If you’re lucky enough to live local to the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Lakes there are several year-round fisheries open in September and the nearest option for you can be identified in the 2020-21 regulation guide here.

The new season is on our doorstep!

Anticipation is fast building for the opening of the new 2021-22 season on October 1.

This will provide a great opportunity to get back on our local rivers like the Opihi, Rangitata and Waitaki.

There are several regulation changes to study-up for the new season including the need to purchase a whole-season licence to be eligible for a backcountry licence endorsement to fish the Ohau River and Sea Run Salmon Endorsement to target and keep sea-run salmon in the CSI and North Canterbury Regions.

Above Right: Hamish Stevens with an unlucky salmon caught while trout fishing last season.

It is currently a great time to purchase your new licence by clicking here and to study up on the new 2021-22 season regulation guide by clicking here.

2021-22 regulation changes include the following:

Backcountry fishery designation for the Ohau River

The (upper) Ohau River flowing between Lakes Ohau and Ruataniwha is now designated a backcountry fishery.

This mean when the season opens there on the 1st of October 2021, to fish the Ohau River you must hold a backcountry licence endorsement in additional to your new whole season licence.

Click here to obtain a backcountry licence endorsement.

Click here to learn more about the Ohau River backcountry fishery.

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

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 learn about the new sea run salmon fishing rules and how to obtain your endorsement and bag limit card can be found here on the Fish & Game Website.

Bag limit change for the canals

The daily bag limit for the Mackenzie hydro canal has been reduced for the new season.

The daily bag limit is 2 sports fish (total), and the only size limit regulation in place is a minimum size of 300mm for salmon.

Survey Results

2019-20 Upper Tekapo Canal research

Thanks to all the anglers that participated in our 2019 and 2020 winter fishing surveys at the upper Tekapo Canal.

The survey report is now published and can be view online here.

One of the key findings of the report is that more than 90% of trout caught were released.

This highlights the importance of caring for the catch that you release.

Here are our ‘Quick five’ 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.

2021 Salmon Harvest and Spawning Surveys

Thanks to all the anglers that participated in our online and phone salmon harvest surveys.

If you completed the online survey and ticked the box saying “please send me the report” you should have that in your inboxes by now.

The summary report of CSI and North Canterbury sea-run salmon harvest and spawning is available online too, Click here to view the report

Tight Lines,

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer