Reel Life September 2023
- West Coast
2023/24 Sports Fishing Season Fast Approaching
Sunday, October 1 marks the start of the new angling season.
With the opening of the fishing season coinciding with the school holidays and falling on a weekend, it is a great chance to get the whole crew out fishing.
The recent stable weather we have experienced has seen some anglers already getting out and making use of our many fisheries open year-round.
We’d just like to remind you that you’ll need a 2023/24 sports fishing licence come October 1, to make use of our fantastic fishing resource.
If you haven’t done so already, you can easily grab your new season licence online by clicking here.
Many anglers will be quick to explore locations rested over winter, but don't overlook the fisheries that remained open.
Anglers are reporting some great fishing in the lower reaches of many of our rivers.
We have experienced no significant flooding for a year and a half now, so our rivers will be in top shape.
Some recent fine weather and the mild winter we have experienced will mean lake temperatures are above average for October, greatly improving early-season fishing.
Regulation changes for 2023/24
There have been some changes to the management of a few backcountry waters.
The new Designated Waters Signage.
The Karamea and Mokihinui headwaters have been included as ‘Designated Waters’ with a new licensing and management regime.
For the new licensing and regulations check out the website FAQ but ultimately the goal is to improve the fishing experience as requested by anglers.
This will be achieved by ensuring non-resident angling is spread across the region's abundance of excellent fisheries rather than concentrated in a couple of iconic waters.
As well as ensuring you have the appropriate licence, we also encourage anglers to:
- Avoid fishing areas where other anglers are present or likely to be.
If multiple anglers are present, communicate to ensure everyone has a good day's fishing.
- Always spread your angling pressure by avoiding fishing the same reach on subsequent days.
- Limit catch and release to no more than six trout per day.
- It is common practice to fish upstream so please avoid fishing downstream.
The full South Island Sports Fishing Regulations 2023/2024 can be found here.
South Westland Lake Resident Salmon
A salmon spawning in The Windbag.
The lake resident salmon provide a buffer for bad spawning years especially when sea conditions are unfavourable, such as experienced in recent years.
With this in mind, if you a fishing on the South Westland lakes, please ensure you are complying with the size restriction that salmon must be greater than 450mm.
Please also ensure you are handling and returning the undersized salmon with the utmost care.
Proper handling of the lake resident salmon keeps them healthy, allowing them the chance to go to sea and attain their full potential or sustain the population when sea conditions are unfavourable.
Field Work Update
Over winter, staff have been busy carrying out compliance, carrying out spawning surveys and improving access.
On the compliance front, it has been fantastic to see so many anglers making the most of spring angling opportunities.
Access signs have all received a touch-up ready for the new season, with a few additional sites added.
If any anglers experience access issues, please let us know as if we don't know; we can't help!
Best of luck for the 2023/24 fishing season from the crew here at West Coast Fish & Game.
Hope to see you out there!
Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.