Reel Life February 2021
- Central South Island
Outlook for March
Weather-wise March can be a brilliant month with mild and settled weather.
The message here is to get active and go fishing while there is still heaps of opportunity for boots ‘n’ shorts style back country dry fly fishing and camping out in the high country.
Before too long, the autumn temperatures will really start to cool down.
March is the last month of the sea-run salmon season and is often the best month to try your luck, especially at the Waitaki River.
Salmon catches have been sporadic this season with the Rangitata River providing the best fishing.
If you do strike gold and catch a few we are asking you to voluntarily restrict your total season harvest to four sea-run salmon or less.
And please take note if your fish is a fin-clipped hatchery fish with their adipose fin removed, we’ll ask you to identify that in our end of season sea-run salmon harvest survey.
Before heading out fishing, make sure to read up on all the regulations, even if you think you know them well.
Here is the link to the online version of the 2020-2021 regulation guide.
Above Right: Get out and enjoy the spectacular backcountry fishing in March.
Sockeye salmon soon to appear
The sockeye salmon population of the Waitaki lakes is the only self-sustaining population in the southern hemisphere.
In recent years they have thrived, and the spawning runs are now commonly encountered by trout anglers fishing throughout the Mackenzie Basin.
At times they can make trout fishing difficult as they can spook and disturb large stretches of the river.
Interestingly, we have had reports of some of the biggest sockeye ever seen in New Zealand recently and we are wondering if these trophy size fish of between three and seven pounds are eating food sources only found around the salmon farms.
The sockeye spawning run is soon to peak in mid-March and once again become a popular spectacle for anyone visiting a stream in the area.
If you haven’t seen sockeye spawning before this video may give you an appreciation of the event.
With the help of Meridian Energy, we have complete intensive spawning run monitoring over recent years and have established that the total run varied from about 40,00-70,000 sockeye.
While on their spawning run sockeye are protected by regulation Note 1, 1.10, on page 35 of your 2020-2021 sports fishing regulation guide.
In summary, no licence holder shall fish for sockeye salmon in any river or stream between 1 March and 30 April.
So, stick to the lakes if you want to target sockeye during that period.
Tagged Tekapo Canal Trout
Between July 2020 and February 2021, we have released around 650 tagged in the Tekapo Canal.
If you catch a tagged trout please get in touch and let us know the unique four-digit tag number, location caught, whether it was kept or release and an estimate of size.
Contact options – email email@example.com, phone 036158400
Click here to check out this video that explains the project.
The most recent catch report was of trout #684, a brown trout of 460mm length.
It was caught 220 days after its tagging and release into the canal near the Tekapo A powerhouse Road Bridge.
It was caught near the same bridge and hadn’t grown in length.
New to canal fishing?
Are you are new to fishing the canals?
Then check out our Canal Access Guide here.
Wondering what bait to use?
We suggest shrimp (crustacean).
Just rig one shrimp, on a single hook and use a small sinker if you want to bounce along with the flow or use a heavy sinker if you want to stay put in one spot.
Lake Camp gets thousands of rainbow trout
Lake Camp anglers will need some patience, but in time we hope that the rainbow trout fishery will be revived at Lake Camp.
Recently 7,000 juvenile rainbow trout were released into the lake.
Thanks to Otago Fish & Game gifting those fish to lake Camp anglers.
In a couple of seasons time, we expect these to be of a takeable size and would love to hear from you if you catch them.
Keep up to date
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Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer