Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island - 24-04-19
We have made it to the last weekly report for the season and the last day of the “summer season” is fast approaching on Tuesday the 30th of April.
In my perspective it has been a good season with no droughts or devastating floods to spoil the party.
If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering how the season disappeared and be already planning where to fish next October.
Above right: Will Pierce caught a nine pound salmon at the Tekapo Canal on Easter Weekend-Credit Mark Webb.
If your goal is to fish the canals more and perhaps set the world record for heaviest trout, then you still have five months of the current season ahead of you.
Many anglers prefer to fish the canals in winter and the technique of bouncing imitation eggs along the canal bottom with a small sinker has accounted for many 20 pounds-plus rainbow trout.
May is our most restricted fishing month but like the canals, several of our large lakes in the upper Waitaki system are open year-round.
So if you are willing to jump in the car and drive you will find some great May fishing options.
Have a good read of the 2018-2019 regulation guide and ensure you know what waters are open all year and with the 'regs' at your fingertips be sure to check out the selection of waterways that have a specified winter season opening back up on June 1.
Rangers Mark Webb and Alan Gillespie were active on the canals over Easter weekend.
Their observations were that the canals were busy but not hectic and that a few nice fish were caught.
Alan said that the Ohau-A Canal was discoloured and that’s probably why anglers were having success on bright pink and green soft baits catching salmon and rainbow trout in the 7-9 pound range.
Mark said he saw more anglers having luck at the Tekapo Canal compared to the others and that the fish caught there were bigger.
I was up in the Rangitata headwaters yesterday counting live spawning salmon and observed that the spawning numbers were low.
Our last count on April 8th produced a total count of 223 salmon for Deep Stream and Deep Creek while yesterday I counted a total of 95.
It appears that the Rangitata spawning effort has peaked already but we have two more helicopter surveys and a ground survey ahead to confirm that.
My observations of lone hens guarding their redds and very few paired-up salmon would also suggest the peak of spawning has passed.
At our Central South Island Council meeting last Thursday, our councillors voted unanimously to reduce the bag limit to one sea-run salmon for the 2019-2020 season as a measure to allow more salmon to reach the spawning grounds.
In consultation with North Canterbury Fish & Game, further options are currently being considered for the future that will allow more salmon to reach the spawning ground by reducing angler harvest.
Some other localised regulations are set to change for next season starting October 1, 2019 and we’ll update you on those in detail closer to the time.
Last week I put out the call for anglers to get in touch with me to share some 2018-2019 season highlights.
I got a few emails in, thanks for those - great to hear from you.
One highlight of note was Nathan Van Slooten’s 25 pound canal salmon that I was alerted to in the Canterbury Anglers Club April 2019 newsletter.
The most colourful highlight I received with a photo to share came from my colleague Jayde Couper.
Jayde recently caught his first brook char and unique to the Central South Island Region it was of a decent size.
Just check out the colouration of that fish, pink spots with blue haloes and white leading edges on the fins – what a catch!
My final remark of the season to leave you with ties into the uniqueness of Jayde’s brookie catch.
What a region of varied fishing opportunities we have here in Central South Island , opportunities we should cherish.
It is genuinely possible in a weekend in the Central South Island region to catch: a sea-run salmon, a 20 pound-plus trout, a three pound brook char, bait fish for a brown trout, coarse fish for perch and tench and catch a rainbow on a black 'n gold toby or a Royal Wulff and so on…
I’ll catch you when the Weekly Fishing Report starts up again near October 1, 2019.
Feel free to give me any feedback on these reports so I can try to improve them for you next season; what you like to read, what I mention too much, what I should report more on, etc.
All the best for winter fishing and opening weekend of the duck hunting season (4-5 May)!
Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer
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