Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island Region – 09/03/18

I wouldn’t bet on it, but the Rangitata River may be a good colour for salmon fishing this weekend.

Frustratingly, the river has been discoloured a lot lately. As I write this on Thursday afternoon the river is down to 80 Cumecs on the ECan flow website.


Above Right: Jayde Couper pushes spawning gravel back upstream at Outlet Creek.

This season the clarity seems to come right for spin fishing around 70 cumecs, for the lower river and mouth anyway, the upper river clears quicker. This is unusual as it is normally the case at about 90 cumecs.

Rangitata South Huts local Linda Whipp said there hasn’t been a salmon caught near the mouth since the 16th of February and that on Thursday the river was still a bit discoloured down at the mouth. Maybe the middle reaches of the river would be worth a look.

The surf forecast for Jacks point in Timaru predicts around a 1 metre waves height for the weekend, so salmon surf angler will have some waves to content with.

The Opihi and Temuka Rivers were high and discoloured on Thursday morning and will probably be marginal at best for fishing this weekend. The Temuka usually clears quicker than the Opihi. The Opihi hasn’t cleared properly since the big rain we had on 20 and 21 February.

Fair to say it is not one of those March’s when we worry that low flows and warms river water temperatures will be keeping the salmon from running the rivers…

On Wednesday afternoon the Opihi above Fairlie and the Te Ngawai near Albury were flowing high and discoloured and they may take some time to clear. The Opuha river has been at high flows since then too.

There really is a lot of water around currently and it is genuinely a case of checking the flows before you go. Some river and streams fish well when they are receding from high flows so look at this weekend as providing this opportunity too.

I did get a quick message through from the ECan hydrology team just to say that they have been run off their feet since the big rain event on 20 and 21 February fixing up several of their flow recorders.

There may still be some to fix, I imagine its quite a time-consuming job to check on all those sites across Canterbury.

We should see some half decent weather this weekend though so there will be some good opportunities for fishing, just keep a plan B lake fishing option in the back of your mind. Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat too.

We were up at Lake Alexandrina this week completing our annual spawning gravel maintenance job on Scotts Creek which flows into the lake at the North end huts and Outlet Creek which drains the lake and fills Lake Macgregor.

Over the years the Acclimatisation society, Fish & Game and the Lake Alexandrina Conservation trust has done a heap of work here to enhance this excellent fishery.

The two creeks mentioned are designed and manipulated for trout spawning and required active annual maintenance.

Each autumn Fish & Game staff drive a small digger up the streams to relocate and level the gravel beds.

Each spawning season the trout move the gravel downstream while digging their redds (nests) so we then must go and move it back up prior to the next season of spawning.

After several years, the gravel must be replaced. This process also happens at the Aviemore spawning race on Lake Waitaki.  

The Lake Alexandrina Trust members come in after the digger work and build rocks and block weirs which improved flow conditions for redd laying.

WFR1719.46The Author with his first ever Lake Alexandrina catch

The Author with his first ever Lake Alexandrina catch.

If you would like to help with this job, then please join the Trust members and Fish & Game up at the top huts at Scott’s Creek (through Glenmore Station) at 9:30am on the 17th of March. I’m sure they will share some good fishing tips with you too, like the location of the “pothole”.

We bumped into a couple of anglers who said, for March, the lake is fishing well.

There are fish of all size around but most notably lots of small fish which is attributed to the increase in the size of the spawning grounds in Outlet Creek which have been created by the Lake Alexandrina Conservation Trust.

We too made it out for a quick row after dinner one night and I manage to catch my first Lake Alexandrina trout.

It was an old dinosaur of a rainbow, deep in the body but thin across the shoulder.

We harled around the island using intermediate sink lines on fly rods and Woolley Bugger type flies. That was all the action we had but a couple of fish jumped into clean air around us.

There was a photography lesson learnt from the experience too; don’t use flash when your wearing reflective clothing.

Tight lines

Rhys Adams,Fish & Game Officer, Central South Island