Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for Feb 9 2023


Get your gear sorted – it’s another good weekend for fishing.

The forecasts are calling for an easterly weather flow, mild temps, mostly overcast with a chance of some light showers of rain.

Above Right: Salmon anglers try their luck at the Opihi River mouth - Photo by Rhys Adams. 

For those targeting sea-run salmon in the surf at spots like the Opihi River mouth (pictured), the waves are forecast to stay under 1-meter height, but any onshore wind may play spoiler – stirring up the water. It’s really a case of going for a look and taking conditions as they come. 

The mild conditions will be welcomed by trout this weekend. Water temperatures have been getting rather hot lately for a select few waterways. 

For example, the water temperature exceeded 22°C on Wednesday afternoon at Te Ana a Wai River (Tengawai) as recorded on the ECan flow recorded at Cave – this is hot enough to put trout off the bite. 

WFR2223.46 Dont be shy to try a cicada fly in the high country this weekend photo by Rhys Adams

Don't be shy to try a cicada fly in the high-country this weekend-photo by Rhys Adams

On scorching hot days, it is best to fish in the morning; water heats up through the day, usually peaking about late afternoon or early evening.

The hot temps have got cicada active, and it’s been nice to hear this “sound of summer” chirping away.

Don’t be shy to try a cicada fly in the high-country waterways this weekend, even if the trout are not rising – trout are keyed into eating big terrestrial bugs this time of year and keep a lookout for them.  

Waitangi Weekend was a wet one near the main divide, kicking up flows in the rivers like the Ahuriri and Rangitata.

These rivers are receding back down towards fishable flows for the weekend – at least for the Ahuriri anyway.

WFR2223.47 The Rangitata Gorge on Thursday Morning still discoloured at 94 cumecs image via Outdoor Access Livestream

The Rangitata Gorge on Thursday Morning still discoloured at 94 cumecs’ - image via Outdoor Access Livestream

The Rangitata was still carrying a silty grey colour as of this morning (Thursday) at 94 cumecs flows – see the image captured from the Outdoor Access camera stationed at Klondyke – the bottom of the Rangitata Gorge.

The Rangitata hasn’t seen much salmon fishing this February with the recent high flows and it would be worth fishing throughout the river when it clears. 

It’s not long until the upper section of the river, above Turn Again Point closes for salmon fishing on 28 February.

Finally in this report, a brief profile of the Waitaki River trout fishery. 

There’s no way around it unless you have a jet boat the Waitaki is a challenging river to access due to large and everchanging flows and dense riverbank vegetation.

However, if you’re up for the challenge and a bit of adventure – the river can offer some fantastic shore-based fishing. 

WRF2223.48 a well conditioned rainbow trout sight fished with spin gear in a Waitaki River backwater Photo by Rhys Adams

a well-conditioned rainbow trout sight-fished with spin gear in a Waitaki River backwater-Photo by Rhys Adams

One of the keys to success is visiting a few of the access points to search out small but permanent braids or backwaters. 

Backwaters are formed where tributary streams and springs join the main flow – creating pond-like areas.

I’ve had some productive fishing in these backwaters and even sight-fished a few with my spin gear. 

The trout don’t receive a lot of angling pressure at the Waitaki and it's usually a case of just getting your lure in front of them to induce a bite - expert techniques aren’t usually required.

Waitaki River access points can be found using our online access guide here.


ECan – Targeted riverbed weed spraying

ECan will be using helicopters to spray targeted weed species (specifically willows, gorse, alder, poplar, broom, and lupins) growing on riverbed islands.

Works will commence from early February 2023 and, due to weather dependency, are expected to be completed by the end of March 2023.

Rivers to be sprayed include Upper Ōhau, Tekapo/Takapō, Lower Waitaki, Opihi, Tengawai and Rangitata.

ECan’s Current Works website provides maps and further information. 

Game bird hunting ballot 

We are accepting ballot entries currently for hunting stands on Opening Weekend of the 2023 game bird hunting season at wetlands owned or managed by CSI Fish & Game. 

For more information click here

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer


It’s hard not to be overexcited about the fishing prospects this weekend! 

Screenshot 2023 02 09 at 12.11.59 PM

The Rakaia River on Thursday

The weather looks awesome, with north easterlies and a not-too-hot high of 23 degrees predicted for Saturday and Sunday!

The big rivers are coming right just in time for some weekend salmon fishing after last weekend’s fresh. 

Salmon often enter the rivers on the back of a fresh, so this weekend looks pretty much perfect if you’ve got some time on your hands. 

Remember to check out the Outdoor Access live webcams if you want the most current view of how the rivers are looking. 

A reminder for anglers heading up to the Waimakariri Lakes area that there will be a bit more traffic on the roads with the holding of the 40th Coast to Coast adventure Race this weekend. 

In the Coleridge lakes, we’ve had reports of anglers seeing good quality brown trout in the four-to-six-pound range. 

Sea-run salmon fishing video – Episode three: When to fish for salmon 

Screenshot 2023 02 09 at 12.27.47 PM

Click here to watch Episode Three - When to fish for salmon

In this third episode of our five-part series, we give hints for when to go sea-run salmon fishing in Canterbury, New Zealand. 

You can check it out here

We’ve actually had a few people ask for Episode 5 on the Harvest Card to be released earlier (I suspect they’ve caught and kept their two fish and want to check they’ve done it correctly), but we were waiting on one clip for that video which we’ve just got, so sorry it won’t be this week.

Lake Sumner road closed for February 

An update from the Hurunui District Council(HDC) indicates that the Lake Sumner Road will be closed for most of the month of February.

327901378 702087014894378 6912418219228623596 n

The Lake Sumner road is still out of action.

Following a rain event last week, the HDC has said there are three main washouts on the road rendering the road impassable.

There is NO ACCESS to the lakes. 

We will update anglers as soon as the road is reopened.

Stand up for your sport

Anglers and hunters may have seen a call to arms from Fish & Game arrive in their inboxes last week. 

The Natural and Built Environments bill threatens our ability as kiwis to fish, hunt and recreate in the outdoors.

If you didn’t receive an email and want to learn more, check out: https://www.fishandhuntforever.nz/ 


Little Rakaia Giant Slalom 

A heads up that Little Rakaia Boating Club is holding their annual Giant Slalom on February 11 in the lagoon. 

Next Meeting of the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council 

The next Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 15, at 5:30 pm, at 595 Johns Road, Harewood, Christchurch. 

Licence holders and members of the public are welcome to attend.  

Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition  

February 24th, 25th and 26th, 2023.  

The 40th anniversary of the Rakaia competition, the largest freshwater fishing competition in New Zealand, attracts over 700 entrants yearly.  

Rakaia River Promotions (the organisers) will post more details soon but bookmark their webpage to get the latest info.   

The NZ Salmon Anglers Association Waimakariri Salmon Fishing Competition

Saturday, March 11 2023, start time 5 am, finishes at 3 pm

Weigh in station is located at the Waimakariri River mouth and opens at 8 am

Click here for more details. 

If you have any recent photos of your fishing exploits or fishing events you want to publicise, send them to northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz ; even if they aren’t from our region, I’ll pass them on.  

Tight lines 

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.