Weekly Fishing Report - Central South Island - 12-12-19

A little bit of homework is required before heading out this weekend for a fish thanks to all the high and mid country rain we received last week.

Those rivers draining the main divide went into full flood mode and are still recovering.

This is certainly the case for the Rangitata River which burst its flood protecting banks bringing the old South Branch back to life – you may have wondered why there was an old bridge on SH1 between the Rangitata River Bridge and the Oasis Café – now you know.

The ECan river works team have been in touch to notify anglers of the need for significant ongoing works to remedy the flood damage on the Rangitata.

They would like anglers to stay well away from any active work sites which include the Ferry Road access point, State Highway 1, and around the South Branch diversion (True left bank between Lewis Road and SH1.

It is predicted that even when flows drop and clear enough for fishing that ongoing works may require the riverbed to be modified and the water could be discoloured.

Rangitata anglers will need to be patient through this period until flood protection works are re-established.

There is also a ton of water still held up in the Waitaki hydro schemes that will need to be actively managed through the power stations, canals and spillways.

That could mean good canal flows for a while.

To my knowledge every spillway in the Waitaki Hydro scheme was operating recently, a very rare event.

Anglers are advised to keep clear areas and riverbeds downstream from spillways; this includes the Upper and Lower Ohau Rivers, the Tekapo River the Pukaki River.

The lake levels are high too and some of the favourite campsites and fishing spots may be inundated.

ECan have released a media article warning boaties to be cautious of floating and submerged flood debris and the risk of collisions on all Waitaki lakes and the Waitaki River.

The Waitaki River is likely to be well above ideal fishing flows for some time.  

I’d imagine some of the access points will have changed with channels realigning etc.    

The Opuha River is currently high as lake levels are managed through the power station at Lake Opuha.

This effects the Opihi River flows below the Opuha River confluence.

There is a chance that higher flows in the lower Opihi River could provide great fishing conditions -especially for bait and spin anglers.

Best to keep a close eye on all river and water levels on the ECan river flows website.

Some good news

Low and mid country rivers had a very nice bump in flows.

That will extend the late spring-like flow through this weekend – there should be some seriously-good fishing this weekend on offer.

High country tarns will have topped up water levels and will be worth a fish too.

Although a handful of the most coastal waterways didn’t get much rain at all and will remain in summer low-flow conditions.

There are no significant rain or weather events predicted for the weekend, in fact the weather is looking pretty good.

Stay safe out there this weekend, and if in doubt - keep out. 

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer