Reel Life September 2023

Eight days until the new season opens on October 1! 

The Prospects Are Looking Good 

Even though this weekend’s weather is looking a bit rough for parts of the country the outlook for the summer is good.

Forecasters report that the more stable El Nino weather pattern is firmly ensconced now.   

A return to ‘normal’ direr conditions should be expected, with more weather from the west and fewer easterlies that brought the rain and severe storms last season.   

This will be a welcome relief for staff and anglers alike in regions that had a washed-out summer.    

Above Right: Check out Southland Fish Game Officer Ben Febery with this monster from the south!

Designated Waters

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Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson affixes a new Designated Waters sign in the Lewis Pass.

The biggest news for our Backcountry Fisheries is that many have now migrated across to the new Designated Waters System. 

Twenty of the former 26 backcountry rivers in NZ now require a Designated Waters Licence in addition to their whole season licence to fish them. 

The other six rivers are either controlled fisheries or didn’t meet the requirements to be carried over to the Designated Waters System. 

For resident Kiwi anglers, this $5 per region/per season licence enables New Zealand residents to fish these pressure-sensitive waters for the whole season. 

For non-residents (i.e. tourist anglers) they are now only permitted to fish a region's Designated Waters for a maximum of five days; they must also purchase a $40-day licence per day for each of those five days in addition to the whole season non-resident licence ($264). 

After Non-resident anglers have reached their five-day limit, they can no longer fish any of that region's Designated Waters for the rest of the season. 

They can either fish non Designated Waters in that region or move to another region and fish that region's Designated Waters if they have eligible days left them. 

You can learn more on this page here

Sea-run Salmon Licence 

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Your new sea-run salmon licence has its own licence number and a hole for attaching to a lanyard this year.

If you are one of the 12,000 sea-run salmon anglers from last season, this year, your sea-run salmon season bag limit card will come out in the post with your whole season fishing licence if you purchased them together. 

It's also a credit card sized to match the size of your fishing licence, and it includes a hole in it for attaching to a lanyard, as many anglers requested. 

The keen-eyed amongst you will notice that it has a different licence number to your whole-season fishing licence; that is because it is its own licence, and both must be carried when fishing for sea-run salmon. 

You must have a pen on you to fill in the details of any sea-run salmon you harvest immediately after you harvest that fish. 

Overall compliance amongst salmon anglers has been great with the new system, but a few offenders faced compliance action when found not to have their sea-run salmon card on them or not to have a sea-run salmon licence. 

New Regulations 

There have been a number of small changes to the regulations this season; if you haven't received a copy of the regulations book, you can download a copy of the 2023/24 season regulations from this page

2023 NZ Trout Festival 

Over 500 anglers celebrated the upcoming fishing season with the 2023 NZ Trout Festival in Christchurch last weekend. 

Anglers from across New Zealand came to learn from trout fishing experts from across the globe. 

One of the foremost casting instructors in the world, Brian Henderson from Australia, attended and ran several sessions to train the trainers and diagnose casting issues for the anglers. 

There was loads of information for anglers of all skill and experience levels, plus prize draws and free giveaways from NZ's leading fishing retailers and wholesalers such as Hunting and Fishing, Epic Fly Rods, Kilwell, Manic Tackle, Flytackle NZ and many others. 

There is a more detailed report on this page, and be sure to keep an eye out for next year's event! 

Women’s flyfishing day

The Wakatipu Anglers Club recently held a women’s fly fishing day in Queenstown; check it out here

Fish & Game Magazine Online 

Perhaps you’ve shifted and missed your copy of the latest Fish & Game Magazine; never fear; you can read it here, along with a number of past issues on this page

2024 Fish & Game elections 

An important reminder for anglers this year is to make sure they tick the box when buying their licence to register to vote in next year's Fish & Game Council elections. 

Fish & Game regions have elections every three years for councillors. These elected volunteers are there to oversee policy, approve the regulations, and provide a vital link between the licence holders and the organisation. 

Elections will be held in around a year, so anglers will have to register their interest in voting with this season's licence. Game bird hunters will have to register their interest with next year's licence. 

Details on the voting process and how you can register as a candidate for the council will be posted on our Facebook page closer to the election. 

But for now, be sure to tick the box and have your say on the management of our sports fish and game bird resources. 

Tight Lines

The Team at Fish & Game