Weekly Fishing report For Central South Island and North Canterbury
- Central South Island North Canterbury
Above Right: The Tekapo Canal at its best on Labour Weekend 2023 Photo by Rhys Adams
Central South Island Report
Tekapo Canal turns it on
The Tekapo / Takapō Canal was the top spot to be on Labour Weekend.
The spells of beautiful weather, the public holiday and consistent catch of 1-2.5kg salmon encouraged an influx of anglers from Friday through Monday.
Salmon were easy to catch on Friday but catches tapered off and were infrequent by Monday.
If you’re heading up to the canals this weekend there still might be a small number of salmon on offer at the Tekapo Canal, but don’t expect too much. I’d recommend focusing effort at the salmon farm pens.
Rangers have encountered a few offenders at the Tekapo Canal lately.
Two related regulation reminders:
- You must cease fishing once your bag limit has been killed (see regulation 6.1, page 9 of the regulation guide).
- If using fish as bait, it must be a whole and intact fish (see “bait” definition, page 6 of the regulation guide).
CSI staff and hatchery volunteers in the field
McKinnon’s Creek hatchery volunteers Dennis Laplanche, Ross Edmonstone and Fred Reddecliffe trap salmon overnight at the RDR fish screen for NIWA’s fish health trials-Photo M Webb
NIWA has begun its salmon health trials at the new Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) fish screen.
Salmon smolt are currently migrating out of the headwater spawning creeks and heading down to the sea – the RDR fish screen is encountered by many migrating salmon smolt before being diverted back to the river via the bypass channel.
CSI Fish & Game staff and McKinnon’s Creek salmon hatchery volunteers have been assisting NIWA to collect salmon smolt for health assessment.
The crew undertook overnight fish trapping in the bypass channel below the screen – performing hourly trap checks, fish transfers to the holding pen and trap cleaning.
Overnight on the 24/25 October the team trapped 29 salmon smolt.
Time to prepare for the high-country season opening!
If you are planning to fish the high-country opening, do be mindful of the regulations.
Saturday the 4th of November is Opening Day for many of our CSI and North Canterbury high-country waters and other sensitive fisheries.
Our neighbouring Fish & Game Regions to the south, Otago and Southland, have a slightly earlier High-Country Opening date on the 1st of November.
It is your responsibility to read the 2023/24 sports fishing regulations guide here to confirm the opening dates of the water you intend to fish!
Further, the Ahuriri River upstream of and including Longslip Creek and its associated lagoons and tributaries remain closed until the first Saturday in December.
As always, if you have a query around the regulations then get in touch with a Fish & Game staff member directly.
For queries around CSI Region waterways contact our CSI office, ph. 03 6158400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you head instore to buy your new licence and you normally hold a Loyal Senior fishing licence or think you may now qualify for one, be sure to mention that up front to the shop staff – they will appreciate it.
Sea-run salmon soon to show
Essential items to take sea-run salmon fishing, a sports fishing licence, season bag limit card and a pen’.
We are on the doorstep of the 2023/24 sea-run salmon runs – the first sea-run salmon is often caught at the Rangitata / Rakitata River around mid-November, sometimes weeks earlier.
If you target sea-run salmon or intend to keep one caught incidentally while targeting other species like trout or kahawai, then you are required to obtain a sea-run salmon licence.
This sea-run salmon licencing requirement only applies to the Central South Island (CSI) and North Canterbury Fish & Game regions.
On the river, you need to carry your sea-run salmon season bag limit card and a pen to be able to fully comply with the regulations.
You will initially receive an electronic temporary season bag limit card – you must print this out and carry it on the river. You will be posted a credit-card style season bag card to replace the temporary version.
The sea-run salmon licence costs $5 and can be purchased by holders of any whole season sports fishing licence either at the time of purchasing a whole season sports fishing licence or any time prior to your fishing trip.
Please refer to our sea-run salmon licencing info page here for all the details.
Outlook for the weekend
The weather is looking fantastic this weekend, mostly sunny with mild Spring temperatures.
Rivers draining the Main Divide will likely be coloured and high this weekend after heavy rain today (Thursday). Other than that, river and lake conditions should be good.
Kids Salmon Fishing Day
Thanks to Mount Cook Alpine Salmon, the Kids Salmon Fishing Day is on for 2023!
The event is being held at Loch Cameron, 5km from Twizel on the morning of Saturday the 4th of November.
The event is for kids between the ages of 4 and 11 only.
Registration is on the day from 8:30am, fishing starts at 9am.
Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer
North Canterbury Report
The Waimakariri River on Thursday morning.
As I am currently writing this week’s report the high country is getting a lot of rain which will discolour our major braided rivers.
However, a lot of the smaller tributaries will only be discoloured for a short period of time and the fishing off the back of a weather event can be very productive as the fish will be in a feeding frenzy.
While it's only 10 more sleeps until high-country opening there are still a few lakes that are currently open for fishing which provide excellent opportunities for anglers.
With the weather looking reasonably settled over the weekend in the high-country a good option would be to take your boat up to either Lake Taylor or Loch Katrine/Lake Sumner and check out some of these fantastic lakes.
Also, the Hurunui River below the Lake Sumner outlet shouldn’t be affected by this rain that is currently falling in the mountains so this could be worthwhile fishing also if you are in the area.
If you can’t get away due to other commitments, then our lowland fisheries are still producing some cracking fish which is great to hear.
These waters won’t be affected by this weather event in the high country so they should be still flowing clear.
Last weekend of Roto Kohatu lakes
Take the opportunity to get in a family fishing day this weekend.
This is the last weekend of fishing available at the Roto Kohatu lakes till 1 April.
Our close-to-Christchurch winter fishery of the Roto Kohatu lakes closes to fly and spin anglers on October 31.
The lakes are a great option for a day’s fishing, but because of the popularity of the lakes for other users in the coming months, we close them to fishing for the summer to reduce conflict with them.
They reopen on April 1 next year and are a great school holiday fishing option when other rivers and lakes are closed.
They are a great family fishery, stocked with salmon and all methods can be used till they close and the bag limit is 2 fish per day.
Lake Coleridge Competition Next Week
Only one weekend to go till the Lake Coleridge fishing Competition!
The weigh-in site for this year’s Lake Coleridge Competition will be at the Harper Campsite.
There are over $8000 in prizes for this year’s competition, not only for those who enter fish but some great prizes in the spot prize section.
All you need to do to enter is to show up at the Fish & Game tent and present your licence before 1.30pm on Saturday November 4.
You can learn more here.
Whilst the focus on the 1st Saturday of November which is on the 4th this year is generally around the Coleridge competition.
The rest of our high country fisheries open then as well.
The opening draws a lot of anglers into the high country and it’s like Christmas Day to some anglers.
Our high country fisheries offer a great variety of fishing, from trolling in your boat to stalking the shoreline for cruising trout.
This year we have changed some of the season dates on the rivers that flow into Lake Coleridge, some of these rivers traditionally opened in December but now they open on the 1st Saturday of November.
So, these are great opportunities to explore next weekend.
Harry Graham-Samson, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.