Nelson/Marlborough Reel Life December 2018

Rivers in great shape for the summer holidays

A rather wet November and early December has put the region's waterways in good stead for the summer ahead. 

Pleasingly, for most rivers, these rainfall events have been relatively minor and provided good flushing flows and kept water temperatures down, while having little impact on trout recruitment or condition. 

Small freshes are great to ‘reset’ the river, including the trout’s behaviour and feeding patterns.

Right: The recent Taylor River event was hailed a success - see below for details.

Often fish will continue to feed actively throughout these flushes as long as visibility is suitable. 

This often results in great fishing immediately afterwards on our backcountry rivers, and for a more prolonged period on our lowland rivers. 

Motueka River at Woodstock

The Motueka saw its best numbers since the early 90’s.

The Motueka should be firing on all cylinders, while November flows were high, this should prove beneficial going into summer. 

Our February dives earlier this year yielded the highest trout numbers since the early 90’s (see graph). 

The key is to unlock the secrets of this river, one that can prove very frustrating to some. 

Once you've worked how it ticks, the rewards are exceptional. 

If you find yourself on the Wairau, you may hook into a growing number of rainbow trout that are populating the mid to lower reaches from the various tributaries.

All in all, we are set up for a magic summer holiday fishing season.

Tag returns

Floy tag

Tags come in an array of colours and have an individual number assigned. This number is 0151.

In the past few weeks we’ve had a host of tag returns come in from anglers from rivers where releases have taken place. 

Mainly they've come from the Rai/Opouri and Branch/Leatham rivers. 

Tag returns are very important for us to monitor the effectiveness of our releases, and also learn about fish movements within and between waterways.  

Please remember to leave the tag in the fish if you plan to release it – all we need is the tag number and the rough location it was caught. 

The tag number is at each end of the tag, and while it may be difficult to read if you are visually impaired, if you’ve threaded your nylon through the hook eye then you should have no trouble.

If you don’t manage to get the number, we’re still keen to hear if you’ve caught any tagged, or adipose fin-clipped fish.

Please send in any tag numbers or information to: nelsonmarlborough@fishandgame.org.nz

Annual fisheries report

If you want to see what your staff have been up to, and where you licence fee goes, take a read of our last Annual Fisheries Report here. 

Kids fishing day success

Blenheim held its second kids' fish out event recently, with 50 eager young anglers in attendance at the netted off area on the Opawa Loop. 

The fish proved to be a worthy challenge for the young anglers with around half of the kids netting fish. 

After the event, the nets were removed leaving 170 trout in the Taylor River which we hope will provide the youth of Blenheim with some healthy outdoor fun.

Staff are also in the process of developing a more suitable Marlborough kids' fish out in partnership with Marlborough District Council through gravel extraction – ultimately we hope to replicate the Tasman Fish Out ponds, at Renwick, Marlborough.

Over the hill in Tasman, there were five organised events held during November and December, with the fish proving much easier. 

For example, the recent Foster Kids Family day saw around 70 kids have a go with all but one or two taking a fish home for tea.

Staff are pleased to see the event organisers' hard work paying off with an increase in junior fishing licences – the best rise in recent years.

The Tasman ponds are open from December 20 onwards, so grab a licence and take your kids down to experience the great fishing!

Jacob Lucas, Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game Officer.

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