Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 27th December 2019

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report, I have had to write this report in advance so I can’t give updated river conditions, but I have provided links for the latest information below.

At the time of writing (Thursday 19 December), the weather forecast looks to be settled for Christmas week. 

This will at least allow foot hill and backcountry streams to clear enough for some good fishing.

The main alpine rivers may still be marginal. 

My guess is that the Hurunui and Waiau will be fishable before the Waimakariri and Rakaia.  Please check out the following link for up to date flows.

https://ecan.govt.nz/data/riverflow/

As a rough guide here are the flows below which these rivers become fishable:

Waiau at Marble Point = 60 cumecs

Hurunui at Mandamus = 35 cumecs

Ashley at the gorge = 10 cumces

Waimakariri at Otarama = 80 cumces

Rakaia at Fighting Hill = 180

Remember these are just guides based on ideal flows in the lower reaches for either salmon fishing or spinning for trout. 

In some years the base flows are much higher due to regular rainfall. 

This year is a lot like this, for example, the Rakaia may start to become salmon fishable at over 200 cumecs. 

The headwaters of these streams may also become fishable for trout at slightly higher flows than those guidelines as well.

The holiday period means that a lot of you will be camping with the family. 

This presents lots of opportunities, if you are camping at lakes and have some sort of watercraft (jetboat, outboard, kayak etc), this is even better. 

Trolling from boats is one of the simplest ways to catch fish. 

There are some simple tips that can increase your chances and keep the kids and family interested. 

Early morning is best, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea to get up at 5am when they are on holiday. 

The evening fishing period is a close second best and is much more kid friendly. 

Often trolling in the middle of the day is a waste of time, especially if there is a lot of boats out on the water. 

I would stick to the times of 5am to 10am and 4pm to 9pm.

If you have more than one rod fish at different depths. 

I usually just have two rods out, one a led line fishing down to 6-8m depth and a normal spinning rod that just fishes the top 1-3m of water. 

Both catch an equal amount of fish, but I have doubled my chances by covering both depths. 

Then the family just have turns reeling them in. 

I find having lots of rods out only increases the tangles and chaos and doesn’t really increase the chances of catching fish.

I also tend to use bright lures with lots of movement at first. 

If this doesn’t work than I will go for realistic looking lures. 

Only certain parts of lakes hold fish, so look for river or stream mouths or good shelfs and drop off zones. 

Ideally fish where the bottom is 4-8m deep. 

Don’t bother with areas where the hillside plunges steeply into the lake and there is no shelf. 

These areas rarely hold fish.

Those without boats but camping at lakes should have a look around the edges for cruising trout during the middle of the day. 

This year our lakes are full, and the water temperature is down so trout will still be active in these areas. 

The evening will produce increased activity as well and would be a good time for the kids to cast a spinner from the shore as trout become less cautious and can’t see you as well. 

Tight lines.

Tony Hawker, Fish and Game Officer, North Canterbury Fish and Game Council