Central South Island & North Canterbury Weekly Fishing Report for October 20 2022


Labour Weekend provides 3 days of fishing potential!

Above Right: When the canals are busy with anglers, a bit of courtesy can go a long way to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time' Photo by Rhys Adams. 

The Labour Weekend weather is looking good on Saturday, but it will pay to keep an eye on the wind forecast for inland areas on Sunday and the wet front set to hit late on Monday. 

For hundreds, perhaps thousands, of anglers, Labour Weekend is a canal fishing weekend. 

The chance of catching a Chinook salmon or an unusually large trout is highly valued – hence the sheer popularity of the canal fishery. 

We are undertaking a survey over this entire season to collect information on your canal fishery activities and values. 

It’s a canal bank survey, so don’t be surprised if a ranger asks if you’re happy to participate after checking that you are compliant with licencing and regulations. 

The aim of the survey is to proactively capture information from a random selection of active canal anglers that will help guide CSI Fish & Game’s future reviews of the canal fishery regulations and management.   

There are two other canal-based projects on the go this season too – firstly, an investigation of the application of “fish finder” sonar technology to be used to count fish in the canals. 

You may have seen us recently rowing down the Tekapo Canal in a dinghy with a fish finder – please be aware this activity has been signed-off by Genesis, for the public boating and swimming are prohibited at the canals. 

WFR2223.10 Jordan Ryder releases his 24lb tagged rainbow from the Tekapo Cana photo by Jacob McCarthy

Jordan Ryder releases his 24lb tagged rainbow from the Tekapo Canal - photo by Jacob McCarthy

Our investigations are a work in progress, with more trials scheduled for November. 

Secondly, the Tekapo Canal trout tagging programme has been ticking along since 2020. 

Of late, we have had a steady stream of angler reports of tagged trout caught – about two or three per month.

Back in May, the first tagged 20-pound brown trout was caught – a milestone for the programme.

This September, a further milestone of the project has been achieved with two separate catch reports of tagged rainbow trout exceeding 20-pounds. 

Please watch this YouTube video for more information about the tagging programme.

If canal fisheries management is of particular interest to you, check out our CSI Council webpage here, where we publish some of our major staff reports like the Hydro Canal Fishery Management Scoping Document.       

It’s highly likely you will encounter other anglers in your favourite corner of the canals this Labour Weekend, so please be courteous if you wish to share the area with them. 

The angler who is there first has the so-called ‘right of way’, be sure to ask them if it is OK for you to fish near them – for example if your casts are likely to cross over. 

If fishing nearby is not acceptable for the angler with ‘right of way’, then please move on and find a new spot.  

Although there are hot spots at the canals like the salmon farms and intake gates – the canals quite literally have fish throughout their entire lengths as demonstrated in our radio tagging project undertaken with NIWA and Meridian – more on that another time. 

The Hard Labour multisport event is on in Twizel over Labour Weekend.

Saturday the 22nd is the one morning of the year that anglers must be patient and courteous to the kayakers racing from Lake Ruataniwha through the Ohau B and Ohau C Canals and out into Lake Benmore via the Ohau C Tailrace. 

Kayak racing starts at 8 am at Lake Ruataniwha and finishes up around 11 am at Lake Benmore. 

The canals are privately owned property, and anglers are effectively the guests of the power scheme’s owners and operators, Meridian and Genesis.

Check out our canal fishery guide for all the details here, but I’ve selected a few matters Meridian and Genesis want you to take note of.

No camping at the canals – although night fishing is allowed, if you appear to be camping, you may be asked to leave by a power company security guard.

Adhere to signage and do not climb fences or barriers– signage and fencing are erected around structures and hazardous areas to notify you of hazards and to keep you out of dangerous places.

Rubbish – Your rubbish and fish waste are your responsibility.

Pack-in and pack-out of all waste is required at the Tekapo Canal as there are no rubbish facilities provided.

On the Ōhau Canals, Meridian provides skip bins. These bins are located near the Ōhau power station intakes by Meridian for your use.

Do not leave fish frames and guts in the margins of the water; wrap them in paper and a plastic bag and dispose of them in the skip bins. 

Lake Waitaki – Awahokomo access/ boat ramp

A change of ownership has resulted in the loss of the historic angler accessway and boat ramp at Awahokomo Creek, Lake Waitaki. 

The new landowners are not prepared to provide public access across their private land to reach the Meridian-owned lakeshore. 

Although it is disappointing to lose an access point, it is the landowner's lawful right to take this approach, and we encourage all anglers to respect that. 

Legal walking access to the lake is available down the Awahokomo Creek bed, around the old boat launching/parking area and along the lake shoreline.

Alternatively, the shoreline area can also be accessed by boat. 

WFR2223.11 The Awahokomo Lake Waitaki Angler access track to the boat launching site is now permanently closed to public

The Awahokomo - Lake Waitaki angler access track to the boat launching site is now permanently closed to public

The accompanying picture is an image from the Herenga ā Nuku website (formerly the Walking Access Commission).

The private property boundary is highlighted in the colour blue. The purple line is SH83 and the ‘walking person’ icon is the location of the now-closed angler access gate. 

Everything lakeward or stream ward of the highlighted blue line can be treated as public land and walked to access the lake for fishing. 

Alternative boat launching at Lake Waitaki can be found at 2 locations. From SH83, 500 metres East of Wharekuri Creek via a signposted private farm track accessway and by driving over the Aviemore Dam around to Fisherman’s Bend.   


Kids Salmon Fishing Day

Thanks to Mount Cook Alpine Salmon, the Kids Salmon Fishing Day is on for 2022!

The event is held at Loch Cameron, 5km from Twizel, on the morning of Saturday, the 5th of November.

The event of for kids between the ages of 3 and 11 only.

Registration is on the day from 8:30 am, fishing starts at 9 am 

Please click here for all the event information.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer



Three year old Sierra gets a helping hand with her salmon from dad Fletch, right, and great aunty Clare, left, at the Take A Kid Fishing Day.

A long weekend is an excellent opportunity for some fishing, especially with Canterbury having some great fishing spots! 

Like last week, Sunday is looking like the pick of the days temperature-wise, but Saturday, with its mainly northeasterly winds being forecast, is probably the more stable day for some fishing. 

We are still getting reports of excellent condition sea-run trout being caught in both the Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers, especially close to the mouths. 

Other reports state the Lake Ellesmere tributaries have some stonking fish in them, so it would be worth visiting the area. 

Take A Kid Fishing Day 


Seconds after the hooter went off, Connor Nicholson, 3, caught the first fish of the day with some help from dad Kain.

The Kids Fishing Charitable Trust held its annual Take A Kid Fishing Day on Sunday, with around 1000 people attending. 

The hooter sounded at 9 am, and it was all action as young anglers cast out into the four ponds at the Junior Fishing Lakes at the Groynes, near Belfast. 

Around 200 fish were caught during the day, and the crew at the gutting table said it was a steady flow throughout the day. 

As per normal there are generally a few fish not caught on the day that are still there for our younger anglers.

But they are generally quite wary, so be prepared to put in a bit of time to catch one.

With the long weekend coming up and some good weather forecasted, a visit to the junior fishing lakes for a family outing or picnic would be a great way to spend an afternoon. 

The lakes are for Children or Junior licence holders fishing only, and the bag limit is one sports fish per day. 

Lake Coleridge Competition! 


The crowd at the prizegiving at the last event in 2020.

It’s only 15 sleeps till our high country fisheries open; the annual Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition is one of the most popular events for North Canterbury anglers. 

It is generously sponsored by the Ashburton, North Canterbury, and Christchurch Hunting & Fishing stores. 

There are over $7500 in prizes up for grabs this year, with the spot prize draws alone having $2000 in prizes available, including a $500 rod & reel set & sling bag set. 

Timed for the opening morning of the High-Country fisheries on November 5, North Canterbury Fish & Game will be operating a weigh-in tent at the turn-off to Ryton Bay from 9 am till 1 pm with a prize giving at 1.30 pm. 

You don’t need to catch a fish to enter the spot prize draw, just present your licence at the tent to go in the draw. 

Out-of-date signage


Harry Graham-Samson replaces an Angler Access sign near to the Rakaia Township

With virtually a new crew at North Canterbury Fish and Game, we are getting out there and checking things like compliance, access and signage.

If you spot any out of date signage or signs with incorrect regulations, let us know.

We'll sort it out quickly so anglers aren't getting conflicting messages.

And remember, the Regulations Booklet always trumps any signage.

You can get the latest Regulations Booklet from anywhere you can buy a licence or you can download it here.

Annual salmon report 

In case you missed it in last week's report, the annual salmon report was presented to the council at their September meeting and can be downloaded here: 

Some salmon anglers may have also missed the salmon update published in the Fish & Game magazine in August, but you can read the online version here

This year's salmon harvest card has a $5 fee which is specifically to recover the cost of producing the season bag limit cards. 

The cards are a fundamental tool for managing the season bag limit and harvest; it provides us with the vital harvest information we need. 

Both the regional and National Fish & Game Councils decided that this fee was the fairest way to recover the costs associated with the sea-run salmon season bag limit. 

North Canterbury Fish & Game Notice Board 

-       High Country Opening Day is November 5, and the Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition, generously sponsored by Hunting & Fishing, will be held this year. 

-       North Canterbury Fish and Game Council Annual General Meeting November 17, 6.30 pm at 595 Johns Road.

Tight Lines,

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer