Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island - 07-10-2021

The Metvuw weather forecast would have me believe that the weekend holds a lot of opportunities for fishing.

Saturday looks to be a "dress warm and take a rain jacket" sort of day; nothing that could deter a keen angler.

On the other hand, Sunday looks perfect, sunny with light winds – perfect for a family fishing day during the school holidays.

In general, our waterways will be in good order for fishing this weekend.

One exception is the Ashburton River which has been a bit high and discoloured lately.

It's also possible the relatively small amount of rain forecast for the Rangitata River could elevate flows.

School Holiday Options

Above Right: Bait fishing a sheltered bay at Lake Opuha - Credit Rhys Adams.

With school holidays in full swing, I'd like to share a few families friendly fishing options.

Lake Hood near Ashburton offers a park-like setting, great for picnics. Trout cruise the edges, and perch are found throughout.

Use a small spinner and wind-in quick to stay above the weed beds.

A bubble float with a short trace to a worm bait is worth a try too.

Lake Opuha near Fairlie is worth the visit and hold a high population of brown trout and healthy numbers of rainbow trout.   

Fish it the same way as Lake Hood, but an alternative would be to try a damselfly or dragon fly nymph under the float.

In places without dense weed beds, a basic sinker and worm baiting fishing rig work well too.

This is also a great spot to learn how to fly fish as a long cast is not generally required as brown trout cruise the shoreline.

Lake Opuha has two main boat ramps and some other launching spots and is a great place to take the kids for a troll.

Opihi River

WFR2122.06 School holiday fun for Blake and Mackenzie Dyson on a tributary of the Opihi River Credit Chris Dyson

School holiday fun for Blake and Mackenzie Dyson on a tributary of the Opihi River - Credit Chris Dyson

From opening week reports, the Opihi River and its tributaries appear to be holding good numbers of big, 3-6-pound brown trout this season.

This provides an excellent opportunity to teach the kids the skills of sight fishing and a calm and quiet approach to the riverbank.

Yep, a calm and quiet approach may seem like a hard task for some kids, but when they see big brown trout right in front of them and then watch it spook when they splash the water or jump around, then it should help them to realise how good trout can be at sensing an angler's presence!

Find a good size pool and try a black and gold toby spinner or natural coloured rubber lure.

Alternatively, drift a worm through a pool with a small sinker or plonk a decent-sized sinker in a deep pool with a worm for bait.

Again, a careful and quiet approach to the water's edge will make all the difference at the Opihi River Catchment.

Please be aware the Te Ana a Wai (Tengawai) River is fly and spin only, but all other waters of the Opihi Catchment can be bait fished. 

There are heaps of access options in our Opihi Access Guide

There are more great school holiday fishing options, but I'm limited in my word count.

These access guides provide helpful info on access and tackle: Waitaki River, Hydro Canals, Lake Benmore.

Upper Ōhau River Spring Season

WFR2122.08 Cate Lee hooked into a large rainbow trout on the upper Ohau River Credit Ben Sowry

Cate Lee hooked into a large rainbow trout on the upper Ohau River - Credit Ben Sowry

There has been a lot of interest in the Ōhau River Spring Season.

My colleague Mark Webb was there on Opening Day conducting a creel survey; an estimated 60 anglers fished the opening day, and most caught a large trout or two.

There are a couple of important matters to note before heading there this season.

A backcountry licence endorsement is required to fish the upper Ōhau River.

Click here to learn more about the upper Ōhau River and to obtain your backcountry licence endorsement.

Please be aware DOC have a managed black-fronted tern nesting site on the largest gravel island of the upper Ōhau River.

The island is located about 3.6km upstream from Lake Ruataniwha or 2.4km downstream of the ford. The island is readily identifiable, being mechanically cleared of vegetation, and you will likely encounter some dive-bombing terns.

Their nests and eggs are camouflaged and practically invisible, so please keep off this island to avoid inadvertently trampling on their nests. Also, repeated disturbance can cause the birds to desert their eggs and chicks.  


Finally, in this report, we acknowledge those Central South Island Fish and Game Councillors who are standing down. 

We thank them for their hard work and commitment in a voluntary capacity, serving as Councillors supporting our beloved sports fish and game bird resources. 

Thank you to Chanaide Fulton (3 years), Alan Brooks (3 years), Brent Growcott (9 years) and Daniel Isbister (12 years). 

A special thank you goes to Matthew Hall, who served 30 years on the CSI Fish & Game Council and eight years on the Ashburton Acclimatisation Society.   


Waitaki River Access Advisory – Old Slip Road 

Access Point 19. Anglers accessing the Waitaki River from the end of Old Slip Road are advised to adhere to warning signs posted and leave your dogs at home. An application of 1080 poison was made in August for wallaby control on the hillside area beside the river, and the poison remains in place. For more information contact Environment Canterbury, Timaru 03 687 7800. 

Access Point 18. The landowner at the "powerlines" access point on Old Slip Road has advised that access is closed for lambing until October 10. 

Please respect these provisions to ensure we can enjoy ongoing angler access to these areas that cross private land. 

These access advisories apply to access points 18 & 19, as displayed in the Waitaki Access Guide here

CSI Council Elections 

For those who are already registered on the CSI electoral roll, please take this final opportunity to vote in the election for Councillors. Voting closes at 5 pm, October 8.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer