Weekly Fishing report for Central South Island and North Canterbury regions for April 6 2023
- Central South Island North Canterbury
Above: Murray Bransgrove expertly places a pheasant tail nymph in front of a couple of Tengawai River browns– Photo By Nikki Dellaway
Central South Island Report
There’s no place like home
While out and about on Monday, I ran into keen angler Murray Bransgrove on the Te Ana a Wai (Tengawai) River, who was stalking a couple of browns with a pheasant tail nymph equipped.
Murray is a Cromwell lad turned Melbournite, but we won’t hold that against him as he says New Zealand will always be home.
He loves coming back to visit his family, who now live in Timaru and making the most of our world-class fishery while he’s at it.
Murray and his brother spent some quality time on the Tekapo River over the weekend, and he estimates that he must have caught and released about 20 trout in his short time there.
They even spotted a possible 12-pounder lying in wait, hoping for a stray egg or two from the last remaining sockeye spawners that they saw.
It’s about now that we expect the sockeye to be vacating our favourite rivers, so I called into a few of their strongholds this week to double-check. I am optimistic that we will be good to go again by the weekend for uninterrupted fishing, and the trout should be behaving normally again. As awesome as seeing the sockeye in all their colourful masses is, it can rule out some of our favourite spots for those few weeks as it becomes ‘Spooksville’ for the trout.
If you go out this weekend and see a few deceased fish around, remember that it’s no cause for concern, as spawning is usually the natural completion of their lifecycle. They do the tough mahi battling their way up waterfalls and past some seemingly impossible obstacles before putting all their remaining energy into reproducing and defending their redds. Just be sure to crack open a cold lemonade in their honour.
Regular keen-eyed readers might notice that this week’s report doesn’t have its usual finesse and flow. While some of us are hunting down easter eggs in our garden this week, your usual author Rhys is roaring off into the hills trying to find a 14-point easter bunny.
I hope he’s taken his fishing rod with him because it’s about now that we remember the fishing season closes at the end of this month on April 30th, so we had all better make the most of it!
What better opportunity to take advantage of our last fishing month than the upcoming long weekend.
Looking from here, the weather for the long weekend holds promise, but If Tāwhirimātea does bring the rain and muddy the rivers, or you’re unable to get out before the close of the season, there is always the Mackenzie Hydro Canals open year-round.
If you’re new to canal fishing, check out our access guide here. Canal anglers have told me this week that the Tekapo Canal is still a reliable option for a cheeky salmon or two. There have been a few tiddlers on the bite on Tekapo B Canal as well, so be sure to pack your patience and your best catch-and-release skills to ensure those wee guys live to rise another day. This video has some great tips on releasing fish with as little injury as possible in line with regulations.
Salmon Counts underway
The uppermost section of Deep Creek, a key spawning site for Rangitata Salmon.- Photo Hamish Stevens
Fish and Game Officer Hamish Stevens went up in the chopper last week and did the first of our five sea-run salmon spawning counts on the Rangitata.
The official numbers are 120 in Deep Stream (Mesopotamia) and Deep Creek (Mt Potts).
Hamish says it’s too early to determine the spawning population off a single count, and four further counts will be required before the full picture is understood.
Deep Stream tends to run a little earlier than Deep Creek, where the bulk of the spawning takes place.
These two waterways together account for 95% of all Rangitata Salmon spawning.
Remember, if you are targeting salmon on the Waitaki or the Rangitata this month, there are now restrictions on how far up you can fish.
On the Rangitata, be sure to keep below Turn Again Point to be fishing for salmon legally.
April Salmon closure line for the Waitaki river. No salmon fishing permitted upstream.
If you’re taking advantage of the Waitaki’s later run, then the most upstream point for salmon fishing is the powerlines that run across the river at the stonewall, near Borton’s pond, as highlighted in the picture below.
Any salmon accidentally caught while trout fishing upstream of these lines must be immediately released with as little injury as possible.
Thank you to all who have handed in your season bag cards by email, post or dropping in and thanks also to those who have returned them via the online entry.
I look forward to all the rest of the bag cards being returned.
The Tipu Mātoro National Wallaby Eradication Programme are carrying out ground search and destroy operations for wallabies, using dog and gun teams from now until 30 April. This will occur on the south bank of the Waitaki River from the Kurow Bridges down to the Otekaieke River in the river margins. Weekdays only.
Nikki Dellaway, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer
North Canterbury Report
The key to unlocking our region's great fisheries is just to follow our angler access signs!
The outlook for the Easter Weekend weather, for once, is looking really good for anglers.
Traditionally anglers have to cope with atrocious weather over Easter, but this year is looking decidedly different.
While temperatures won't be hot, they will be perfect for so late season angling.
At the weekend, I was checking out the Upper Selwyn/Waikirikiri River area and checked the odd licence of anglers who were out exploring the smaller parts of our extensive North Canterbury waterways.
It reminded me that anglers do really have some fantastic options available to them, and the region's trout fisheries are more than just our big rivers.
The key is to explore the region, and when spotting an angler access sign, follow them to unlock some new territory to fish.
Anglers notice consultation
North Canterbury Fish and Game invite anglers to make submissions on our angling regulations.
The main topics we are looking for feedback on are:
- Move North Canterbury’s Backcountry fisheries to Designated waters fisheries management regime
- Hope River and tributaries area under Designated Waters to be expanded
- Voluntary Beat System for parts of the Lewis Pass fisheries
- Waiau Uwha River Backcountry Fishery area to be expanded under Designated Waters
- Roto Kohatu winter fishery
- Aligning angling regulations across Canterbury by addition of note 1.5 from CSI regulations
- Reduce the daily bag limit on Lake Marymere from 2 –1 trout, with a maximum length of 400 mm.
- Proposed removal of all flyfishing only waterways
- Reduce the daily bag limit on the Upper Waimakariri River and key tributaries from 2 –1 trout, with a maximum length of 400 mm.
- Lake Courtney removed as a junior fishery
- Adjustments to the list of waterways designated as Coarse Fisheries
- Halswell River & Halswell Canal clarifications
- Aligning the season dates for key rivers and lakes feeding into Lake Coleridge
Have your say on proposed changes to the angling regulations.
Anglers, licence holders and members of the public have till 5 pm 21 April 2023 to send in feedback and make submissions on the above items or any other points they might want to raise in relation to Schedule 2 of the Anglers Notice (which pertains to the angling regulations in the North Canterbury region).
Anglers can make their submission via email here.
North Canterbury Fish and Game will hold a public discussion night at 6 pm on April 27 for submitters to discuss their submissions with staff and answer questions from the wider public.
A summary of these discussions will be included in the information accompanying staff recommendations on regulation review to the Council for decision at their 24 May Public Meeting.
We would like to thank all submitters for their input; we here at North Canterbury Fish & Game really value the feedback we get from anglers.
Annual Rangers Fishing Competition
The annual Fish & Game Rangers fishing competition will be held on Friday, April 21, at Kairaki beach at the Waimakariri River Mouth.
The competition is held to celebrate the end of the summer fishing season with anglers and is quite a social event, with a spot prize draw, a free sausage sizzle and a touch of fishing thrown in for good measure.
We have over $2000 in fantastic spot prizes, with more still to arrive from our generous sponsors: Hunting & Fishing Tower Junction & North Canterbury, Kilwell, Desolve Supply Co, Hunters Element, Stoney Creek, and Amazing Baits.
There is a trophy for the heaviest salmon caught on the day; click here for more details
If you have any recent photos of your fishing exploits or events you want to publicise, send them to email@example.com ; even if they aren’t from our region, I’ll pass them on.
Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer