West Coast Reel Life Mar 2017

'Top rate' West Coast fishing on offer

Conditions have certainly come right recently, with great fishing available.

Both opportunities for salmon and trout fishing were excellent in March, as the weather has settled down and the river flows have stabilised.

The clear bright conditions have made sight fishing for trout easier, also making it far more pleasant to be out on the water.

Many of the lakes are low offering additional access to shore anglers, likewise some of the larger rivers like the Grey River have become more manageable for fly anglers.

Enjoy the mild autumn conditions and get out fishing while so many options still exist, with all waters still open and daylight saving providing the opportunity to get out after work during the week.

Salmon catches on the up

While salmon fishing has been slow in some of the more regular spots such as Lake Mapourika, other less fished waters have been producing well.

Increasing numbers of salmon have been caught in the braided Westland Rivers over the past month.

Many fish caught have had their adipose fins clipped signalling they are of hatchery origin; we are keen to hear of these fish being caught.

With rain forecast, it’s likely we may get more fish coming through before the season ends and the likes of Lake Mapourika may have some good fishing still to come.

Remember that Lakes Paringa, Mapourika and Moeraki all close for salmon fishing on March 31, along with the Okarito River and Windbag Stream.

All other open West Coast Region waters permit salmon fishing until April 30.

Top right: Dallas Dowdell with a nice south Westland salmon.

Drift dives show good backcountry trout numbers

Backcountry dives this season in the remote reaches of the Karamea and Mokihinui Rivers have resulted in positive trout numbers counted.

Numbers of fish were actually up from the initial dives made in the late 1980’s and early 90’s.

Interestingly, many of the trout were not in the boulder stretches where you would expect some fish, but instead most were holding in the deeper pools.

This could be a result of fishing pressure. The angler survey of these waters will be sent out once the season ends.

If you have fished either of these backcountry designated catchments this season your input would be valued, so keep an eye on your emails after the season ends.

Karamea River Upstream of the Crow River Confluence

Karamea River upstream of the Crow River confluence.

Mawheraiti River update

After a succession of poor seasons with low fish counts during drift dives, the Little Grey appears to have come back somewhat during the past two seasons, with reports of some good fishing earlier this season.

Despite this, we have continued to monitor temperatures and drift dived the river this season, and we're scheduling more work in the catchment over the year ahead - to identify the most significant spawning streams in the area.

This is still being finalised but is likely to be carried out using otolith analysis of adult fish.    

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