Reel Life October 2023
Above Right: Shannon Aram into a hard-fighting fish during the opening week of the new season.
Trout Season Off to a Flyer
The 2023-24 season got off to a flyer, with great catches reported by numerous anglers.
Opening day of the new season saw challenging conditions for anglers, with grey skies and gusty winds making things difficult at times, however, those in headwater beech-clad fisheries had better visibility and enjoyed some spectacular fishing.
Elsewhere in other rivers, anglers made the most of willow edges to find fish, and when occasional patches of sun broke out, it was evident there were plenty of fish around, and nearly all anglers spoken with had enjoyed some great fishing.
Some of the fish pictures seen from the day were superb indicating in most rivers, trout had enjoyed a stable winter with plenty of food on offer throughout.
Post-spawning recovery was swift with condition packed on quickly, making for some great fighting fish followed by some memorable grip ‘n’ grin photos.
Spin/soft baits anglers are more immune to these conditions, and staff had some excellent feedback from anglers who were quickly into the fish on opening day, the fish being absolute suckers for well-placed soft baits after five months of not seeing anglers.
Staff were out and about in the week that followed and were impressed with the efforts of local anglers who were making the most of the sun and stable flows.
Some of the rivers were receiving plenty of attention more akin to peak tourist times, with nearly all effort by local kiwi anglers who were clearly excited about the start of the new season.
All in all – a great start to the season.
Rainbow Road Open This Weekend
Rainbow Road is open this weekend providing access to some great trout water - remember to grab your Designated Waters Licence if you intend to fish the Upper Wairau River (above Six Mile Creek).
A $60 toll applies for vehicles wishing to travel through the station, payable at the Old Rainbow Homestead.
The Rainbow Road opens to the public again on December 16 through to the end of April.
Restricted Access To Branch River
The 4WD road up the Branch River to Greigs Hut, including walking and bike access, will be closed mid-week due to logging operations.
The closure is from 8 a.m. Monday to 12 p.m. (midday) Friday and will be ongoing until logging concludes.
The track will be open from midday Friday to 8 am Monday and on Public Holidays.
The road up the Leatham River remains open.
Riuwaka South Branch Access
From 24th October there will be wire ropes across the South Branch of the Riuwaka, just below the Scotts Forest bridge.
As a result, the forestry company will need to close off approximately 100m of the river from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
This work should take approximately a month.
Signage will be in place to direct anglers.
Designated Waters Fisheries Management Update
This year a new licence system has been introduced – the Designated Waters Licence.
There has been plenty of publicity about this so far, and it’s great to see that anglers have been generally supportive of this concept, with a high level of compliance so far this season.
Staff and voluntary rangers have been active on the compliance front so far this season, with weekly visits to Designated Water fisheries.
As mentioned, it has been great to see 100% compliance so far, with nearly all anglers checked being resident anglers.
With the tourist season fast approaching, we expect there to be an increase in non-resident angler use in the coming months, and staff/rangers will continue to be actively undertaking compliance on our three Designated Waters fisheries (Travers, Upper Wairau, Upper Matakitaki).
We have also been active on the Wangapeka River during October collecting angler-use data as well as undertaking compliance, and will continue to be so over the season.
The Wangapeka was put forward to be included in the Designated Waters framework by F&G staff/Councillors for this season, though this was not approved by Ministry of Conservation officials.
It is highly likely staff will pursue the Wangapeka to be included for next season, and obtaining robust angler use data is important to inform our decision-making.
If you are looking for information on the Designated Waters Licence, including FAQs and the why behind it all– click here.
Leave Your Angling Intentions On Your Dash
In this region, we have dozens of river entry points on some of our more pressure-sensitive fisheries.
Leaving your intentions on your vehicle is a simple thing to do, and highly valuable for other anglers who may be wondering whether you are fishing up or downstream.
While most anglers park at the start of the beat and fish upstream, often two vehicles are used to save the long walk back at the end of the day, or a bike may be left at either end – so clarification is especially important here.
Whether you do this with a Fish & Game GONE UPSTREAM/GONE DOWNSTREAM card or just a simple handwritten note on the dash – you can be sure that this gesture will go down a treat with others.
Call into the Richmond Fish & Game office to pick yourself up a free intentions card.
Some of our rangers also carry them in their vehicles, so if you bump into a staff member/ranger – they may have one for you.
Jacob Lucas, Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game