Reel Life - The Angler's Newsletter from Fish and Game New Zealand

Reel Life - February 2017

Monthly feature imageAt last, some settled weather (one fishing writer used the catchy phrase "summer-like” conditions) – has arrived, and many anglers have hooked into some great fishing.

The trout are focused on large terrestrials and at least one region reports seeing one of the best cicada seasons in years.

As one of our Reel Life writers eloquently puts it, cicada fishing is exhilarating – trout can be seen abandoning their post at the bottom of a deep pool, skyrocketing towards the surface and literally smashing the fly.

In the central North Island, Lake Rotoiti has rewarded boaties with some "solid” catches: some big fat rainbows have been hooked, with long-time fishers calling it the best for some time. Some other lakes have done it tough with the cooler than normal water temps.

If you're fishing Lake Arapuni in the Waikato, please let our Auckland / Waikato office know if you catch a wild fish – staff need the details for their research.

Heading south, the salmon season had a hard start but has looked up!

There were 75 salmon and 18 trout entered in the annual Rakaia River Salmon Fishing Competition. That was more than three times the total number of fish caught last year, 48 salmon caught on the first day alone…more than 600 anglers fishing the comp.

In Otago, reports from the back country confirm that anglers are catching good numbers of fish and they're in great condition. And boat anglers are having some good success on all the region's major lakes.

P.S. - This month's cover pic shows some of those salmon fishers at the mouth of the Rakaia.

P.P.S - If you think you've got a freshwater fishing image worthy of featuring on our 'cover', email it to Richard Cosgrove for consideration.

This Month's Regional News Click on the region to read.

Auckland / Waikato
Hawke's Bay

Nelson / Marlborough
North Canterbury

West Coast
Central South Island

Fishing News

Govt cops flak over clean water plan
Monthly feature image The Government has been roundly criticised from various quarters over its plan to improve water quality in the country's rivers, lakes and streams. The Prime Minister unveiled the National-led government's Clean Water plan, which aims to make 90% of New Zealand's rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. Groups like Greenpeace have slammed the plan. Fish & Game welcomed the Government's admission that declining water quality is a problem. But Fish & Game says we're being hoodwinked. Under the proposals, double the amount of faecal contamination will be allowed in waters classed as excellent for swimming. For details click here.

Say goodbye to Selwyn River swimming hole
Monthly feature imageSadly, the Selwyn River at Coes Ford has completely dried up. With no water flowing and a couple of algae covered ponds, for all practical purposes the river has gone. The day after the Government announced its new water quality standards for rivers, the Selwyn River wouldn't have would not have met the Government's criteria. Fish & Game North Canterbury general manager Rod Cullinane says the river's drying up is a glaring illustration of what happens when the Government fails to listen to community concerns. "Shifting the goalposts won't help when once popular swimming spots have no water!” Details here.

Fish & Game welcomes Southland council rethink on cycle trail
Monthly feature imageGood news for anglers – the Southland District Council's softened in its insistence on building the final section of the Around The Mountains Cycle Trail beside the upper Oreti River. The council has always maintained it wanted to build stage two of the trail beside the renowned trout fishing river, rather than along an alternative route in the Mararoa Valley promoted by Fish & Game Southland. However, the council has come under increasing pressure from ratepayers and central Government in recent weeks and is now considering the Mararoa Valley option. Meetings are to be held with Fish & Game in coming weeks and a paper will be put together, with various options laid out. Read here.

Big turnout for new Northland wetland
Monthly feature imageA major new wetland has been officially opened near Dargaville, in a joint venture between organisations including Fish & Game and the Nature Heritage Fund. Around 80 people turned out to the opening of the Underwood Wetlands and Scenic Reserve. The land had been purchased from local farmers David and Gloria Underwood, by the Nature Heritage Fund with financial assistance from the Northland Fish and Game Council. Read more here.

Check out the latest fish & Game magazine online!
Monthly feature imageYou'll find information-packed articles, photo spreads, columns and fly tying know how - check it out online.

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Streamside with...

Will Spry

Will Spry has some tactics for fishing with big terrestrial insect imitations... Find out more


Graeme Marshall describes the joys of fishing Lake Tekapo... Find out more


Martin Langlands passes on know how for fishing still waters and back waters... Find out more

Creasy's Column - By Hugh Creasy

Monthly feature imageThe grass is green. I suppose that's the way grass is supposed to be. But the tomatoes are green as well. And the grapes, still sour when they should be ready for the table. And the walnuts are still attached to the tree, unripened. It's been a hard summer. When the rivers ran low gales blew foam from the riffles and runs and the hardy souls who fished the valley's rivers cursed their tangled lines and misdirected casts.

But the fish are still there, holding deep in the pools, feasting in the evening calm when the beetles fly and the mayflies rise. You can hear them – the slap of tail on water when they leap or the slurp of the take when insects are sucked from the surface.

Midges rise from backwaters, clouds of them, and they stick to the sweat on exposed skin. On the river's surface they form a scum, a protein soup sieved from the water by ducks, geese and trout. There's no fly that imitates them, but fish can be tempted by a larger fly, a change of diet fat with false promise... Continue reading here

Fish & Game NZ, 2 Jarden Mile, PO Box 13-141, Wellington. Tel: (04) 499 4767

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