Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for Feb 16 2023


Rangitata salmon provides a proud dad moment

Rikki Nelson had a proud dad moment while fishing the Rangitata River last Sunday with his 7-year-old son Elliot. 

Eighteen years ahead of his dad’s accomplishment, Elliot caught his first-ever wild Rangitata sea-run salmon.

Apart from Rikki providing some helpful advice and tailing out the fish, Elliot caught the 12-pound salmon all by himself.

Above: Elliot Nelson caught his first Rangitata sea-run salmon at age seven - photo by Rikki Nelson 

And guess what, he caught a brown trout 3 casts later! The score: Dad – 0, Elliot - 2.

Legendary stuff, Elliot! 

This weekend the Rangitata River will be flowing low and clear and the weather is looking pretty good too. 

If you’re new to fishing the Rangitata or just looking for a new spot on the river to try your luck, check out our online access guide - click here

Don’t forget to carry your sea-run salmon season bag limit card with you too when fishing in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game Regions.

You must write in the details of any sea-run salmon kept immediately on your card – carry a pen – it must be handwritten.

Immediately, means on the riverbank and before you carry on fishing or take it home to put it in the fridge. 

To obtain your card, please visit our website here where you also will find all the info you need to know about the sea-run salmon fishing regulations and requirements. 

The link above will also take you to our online card return form – if you have already kept your season bag limit of two sea-run salmon, please complete your return.      

WFR2223.50 Allan Gillespie with a 12lb salmon from the Opihi River mouth Credit Mr Harris

Allan Gillespie with a 12lb salmon from the Opihi River mouth' photo by Mr. Harris

On that note, upon keeping your season bag limit of two sea-run salmon, you must cease fishing for sea-run salmon for the remainder of the season in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions.

The Opihi River has produced a few salmon this season, most likely an improved run when compared to last year. 

Fish & Game Ranger Allan Gillespie joined the short list of successful Opihi salmon anglers last Friday. 

He caught a 12-pound salmon and a couple of kahawai at the river’s mouth on a 28-gram green and silver-coloured zed spinner.  

2021/22 Central South Island Region Salmon Season Summary Report 

CSI Fish & Game monitors sea-run salmon catch, and hatchery returns and surveys spawning populations to estimate the annual run size. 

Last year was unique as we introduced the season bag limit with the goal of allowing a higher proportion of the run to spawn.   

If you are keen to review last season’s salmon surveying and monitoring and get an understanding of how the season bag limit is set – please view or download the summary report at our CSI Council downloads webpage here


Spill Advisory – Tekapo/ Takapō River 

Genesis Energy has advised that due to high levels of Lake Tekapo/Takapō that spilling may occur to the lower Tekapo/Takapō River from Sunday. 

Caution is advised for all riverbed activities. 

Spill flows can be viewed at the Genesis website here

Tekapo/Takapō River flows near the Mary Burn confluence can be viewed at the ECan website 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 in 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.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer


IMG 2052The weather is looking great for fishing this weekend, 

Out of the salmon rivers, The Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers look good. 

However, the Hurunui and Waiau Rivers look a bit muddy for fishing this weekend. 

Mid-week rain has topped up some lowland rivers that were getting a bit low and hot, like the Ashley. 

We were out ranging over the weekend across the region and were quite impressed by the fish numbers in some of the lowland streams.

In the Ellesmere tributaries, in one 20-minute walk, we saw 55 trout all over one pound and not particularly perturbed by our presence. 

In the Lewis Pass, Rob Slotemaker is pictured above enjoying the North Canterbury backcountry fishery in the Hope River with a lovely fish typical of the Canterbury high country. 

Hurunui River Ranging 

FGNZ7568 copy

Anglers were out in numbers at the Hurunui River mouth at the weekend.

Anglers were out in force at the Hurunui River mouth over the weekend; Fish & Game Rangers checked 50 fishing licences over Saturday and Sunday. 

Over the last week, close to twenty salmon had been caught at the Hurunui Mouth, and once word got out amongst anglers, the river mouth became an angling hotspot. 

Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson says, “All anglers were compliant; however, a couple of them faced a long walk back around the mouth and up the hill to retrieve their sea-run salmon harvest cards from their car, which must be on them when fishing for sea-run salmon.”

“Anglers need to have their cards on them and have a pen so they can fill out their card immediately they decide to harvest a salmon”. 

Around 12,000 sea-run salmon harvest cards have been sold for fishing the sea-run salmon fishery in Canterbury, up on the 9438 sold over the 2021/22 fishing season. 

Sea-run Salmon Episode 4 

Screenshot 2023 02 16 at 1.01.23 PMEpisode four of our sea-run salmon fishing series has been released. 

In this fourth episode of our five-part series, we give advice for checking when river conditions are suitable for fishing. 

Check it out here


Environment Canterbury River Works 

The link below is a handy one to check for any river works that Environment Canterbury (ECan) are doing that may disturb your fishing. 

Be sure to bookmark and check it regularly before heading on a fishing trip


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. 

Ranger Competition

The Annual Rangers Fishing Competition will be held on Friday, March 31; keep an eye out for more details in this section soon. 

If you have any recent photos of your fishing exploits or 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.