Reel Life January 2023
- West Coast
With things really starting to warm up, anglers utilising our larger cool rivers are experiencing some exceptional angling.
Throughout the year, different fisheries have their moments, often in response to food availability, temperature and sports fish life cycles.
In current conditions, you cannot go past our larger rivers in their low flows.
Right: Trout fry captured electricfishing during recentfieldwork. (Photo Baylee Kersten)
The larger rivers, especially running from the main divide, will remain cool enough to keep trout happy whilst you enjoy the low flows and elevated trout densities.
In addition to this, we are now moving into the salmon season, and anything river south of Greymouth is likely to have salmon enter it when we next receive rain, so be sure to have the occasional deep swing of the lure.
Speaking of salmon, it has been a quiet start but in saying that, it just takes a good fresh, and things can turn around quickly.
Until that rain turns up, a good option would be checking out perch fisheries.
Perch are well adapted to the warmer conditions, and reports of some impressive perch being caught lately has got some excitement amongst anglers.
Being an Ethical angler
In the West Coast Region, we have a voluntary catch release limit of six fish per day.
This is especially important when conditions warm up as catch-and-release survival rates begin to drop.
Many anglers who practice catch and release will cease fishing if trout are already in a stressful state, knowing that the trout are already struggling to survive without exhausting themselves fighting an angler.
Please keep the temperature in mind in the coming months, especially when out on our small lakes and rivers that are susceptible to elevated water temperatures.
Field Work Update
We completed our second electric fish of our research streams in the Mawheraiti catchment earlier this month.
Despite challenging fishing conditions due to the low flows, the count was above average, with 115 being caught for the day.
Afternoon water temperatures are reaching 24°C at one of our monitoring sites; therefore, these little guys are desperately calling out for some rain!
Staff and volunteers also completed two drift dives last week on the Grey River, one at Waipuna and one in its headwaters.
Both dives were slightly below the long-term averages due to reduced numbers of medium and small trout.
The Grey River mid-reaches would be well worth a visit during this hot weather.
Staff and honorary rangers were busy ranging over the Christmas period and are pleased to report high levels of compliance.
It was also been noted how great it is to see so many new anglers out giving the sport ago!
Hope to see you out there,
Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer