Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island -11-03-2021

Sockeye salmon spawning is in full swing and if you haven't checked out this phenomenon before then have a look off the Twizel River Bridge on State Highway 8. 

Please remember all rivers and streams are closed for sockeye fishing in March and April so do not be tempted to have a cast.

You can still fish for them in lakes and there will be a few still to run so best to try around river mouths.

Above Right: Callum Pawsey holds a massive sockeye salmon caught in February at Lake Ruataniwha.

Back in February, we received three catch reports of massive sockeye salmon from Lake Ruataniwha. 

Normally massive sockeye would be about two pounds or around 450mm in New Zealand. 

Our spawning surveys this week have shown that they’re still modest sizes throughout the Mackenzie with most fully mature sockeye being around one pound or 280-300mm. 

We are even theorising that they are getting smaller each year as the population appears to be getting bigger and zooplankton food source is shared around more sockeye. 

We are guessing that these massive sockeye in Lake Ruataniwha have found new food sources around the salmon farms in the Ohau B Canal that are not available in nearby lakes like Benmore and Ohau.   

Reports from anglers are that the massive sockeye caught were not the biggest seen, and some may be up to 15-pounds.

If you are keen to learn more about New Zealand’s sockeye salmon spawning runs and CSI Fish & Game’s surveys that have been supported by Meridian Energy than click here

Now, a quick tip on looking after your tasty sports fish dinner. 

For best fish meat quality, kill your fish, bleed it and then gut it without delay! 

The next part is the tip – put it in a chilli bag or chilly bin with ice to cool it down quickly. 

I use a $20 chilly bag from the Warehouse which can fit several two to three-pound fish but large fish will need their heads removed to fit.

WFR2021.50. For best meat quality get your cleaned fish in a chilli bag with ice asap

For best meat quality get your cleaned fish in a chilly bag with ice ASAP

I freeze down three-litre water bottles as my ice, and they stay party frozen all day.

Smaller bottles will work too and provide more space for fish, but they will melt quicker.

Be sure to keep the chilly bag out of the direct sun and zip it up.

If you forget your chilly bag/bin and ice remember the golden rule of looking after your catch – NEVER LEAVE IT IN THE SUN!

We have had region-wide rainfalls this week but for most waterways that will not make a bit of difference to your weekend’s plans.

However, I checked out the Outdoor access webcam this morning (Thursday) and the Rangitata River was still holding a glacial grey colour, not great for fishing, after increasing inflows to 88 cumecs from Wednesday morning’s rain. 

With an excellent forecast ahead for Friday and the weekend, we would expect the Rangitata flows to recede quickly but it’s hard to predict when the water clarity will improve to provide great fishing, hopefully by Saturday morning. 

There will be some awesome fishing on offer this weekend, get out there and enjoy it! 

Notice Board 

Bi-Monthly Council Meeting

The bi-monthly meeting of Central South Island Fish and Game Council will be held at 7 pm on Thursday, March 18 at Council’s Boardroom, 32 Richard Pearse Drive, Temuka.  

Anglers and hunters are welcome to attend. 

Environment Canterbury riverbed weed control 

ECan is planning to undertake riverbed weed spraying for flood management through to mid-March at these rivers: Ashburton, Waitaki, Pukaki, Tekapo, Ohau, Orari, Te Ana Wai, North Opuha. 

The spraying will be helicopter and ground-based and signage will be in place during operation, for more information contact Sam Kidner 0273044255

Check Clean Dry

Didymo, Lake Snow, Lagarosiphon… just to name a few aquatic pests we have locally.

Please remember you can inadvertently spread these unwanted pests to other waterways so if you are moving between waterways to check, clean and dry your gear.

This MPI website has all the info on what to do.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer