Reel Life September 2022

Early Season is Awesome

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

The first two weeks of the season are the school holidays too.

Fishing provides a fantastic opportunity to get young and old out of the house and into one of NZ’s favourite pastimes – trout fishing!

Above Right: Sean and Dan O'Connor fishing Bortons Pond on Opening Day 2020

Top spots in October

The month of October can offer some of the best fishing of the season in our lowland rivers and streams.

RL Sept22 CSI 2 Rhys Adams with a large brown trout caught at the Opihi Riveron Opening Day 2021

Rhys Adams with a large brown trout caught at the Opihi Riveron Opening Day 2021

Top spots include the Opihi River and its tributaries and the Waitaki River mainstem.

If flows are low and clear, then take a careful approach and use small lures. If the flows are up and silty, try bigger flies, lures, and worms as bait.

The lower reaches of rivers can fish well for sea-run brown trout in October as prey fish like common smelt migrate into the river from the sea.

October is also a great time to fish shallow lake margins and streams mouths in our large Waitaki and Mackenzie Country lakes like Tekapo, Benmore and Waitaki.

Do not be surprised if you find a school of salmon in lake Tekapo from one of our recent stocking releases.

In October, brown trout cruise the shallow lake margins looking for bullies.

A small bully-style lure cast a few meters ahead of a sighted fish can provide some incredibly exciting action.

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.

Click on the names of the linked waterways above to find access info and tackle tips.

Regulation changes for the new 2022/23 season

Be sure to check out the new 2022-2023 season regulation guide here first-hand.

Here is a summary of the regulation changes for the 2022/23 season:

Ohau River – controlled fishery for October

Only those anglers who were successful in the recently held ballots and issued with controlled period licences can fish the Ōhau River during the September and October 2022 controlled period.

The Ōhau River opens for all anglers that hold a backcountry licence endorsement on the 5th of November (high-country opening).

If you would like to read our latest Ohau River management report – click here.

Wairepo Arm and Kellands Pond

Fishing from non-motorised boats is permitted.

Lake Emma

Fishing from unmoored boats is permitted.

Lake Heron

Fishing is prohibited in Harrisons Bight during the month of April. 

Sea Run Salmon Bag Limit Cards

Anglers are required to obtain a sea-run salmon season bag limit card to fish for sea run salmon in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions. 

There is now a $5 charge for the card to cover the costs of printing and postage. 

You can obtain your card at the point of purchase or later online at our website here

Return your 2021/22 sea run salmon bag limit card 

Do not delay; please return your green 2021/22 sea run salmon season bag card ASAP. 

Return instructions are displayed on the card. 

South Canterbury Anniversary Weekend

South Canterbury Anniversary Day has been rescheduled to show weekend, 11th of  November.

Next Monday, the 26th of September is Queen’s memorial service – a one-off national holiday and not South Canterbury Aniversay Day.

We expect fishing to be a popular activity at the canals and Waitaki hydro lakes over the weekend and Monday.

Please be aware that a 2021-2022 licence is required in September 2022 and that the new 2022-2023 licence only becomes valid on the 1st of October.

High-Country Opening

Many of our waterways remain closed until our traditional high-country opening weekend in November.

This year the high-country season kicks off on Saturday the 5th of November.

RL Sept22 CSI 3 The Kids Salmon Fishing Day is set to return to Loch Cameron in November

The Kids Salmon Fishing Day is set to return to Loch Cameron in November

Kids Salmon Fishing Day - save the date

The 2022 Kids Salmon Fishing Day at Loch Cameron near Twizel will be held on Saturday the 5th of November.

Catch and Release

Catch and release is becoming popular at all our fisheries, especially the canals in winter and early Spring.

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.

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, Fish & Game Officer