Freshwater Fishing in North Canterbury

The region offers much to the angler but without a doubt the star attraction is the sea-run salmon fishery.

The Rakaia, Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau rivers offer excellent sea-run salmon fishing between November and March. The best time to plan a trip is during February when river flows tend to be stable, after the period of major snow melt in the Southern Alps.

Most salmon are caught on heavy spinning tackle up river or on specialised long distance casting tackle in the surf next to the river mouth. The salmon, that average around 8kg, are a highly sought-after sports fish.

But North Canterbury also offers great fishing for other species. More than 30 high country lakes offer landlocked salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, mackinaw and splake. The upper reaches of the braided rivers offer high quality brown and rainbow trout - very big fish in places.

The lower reaches of the same rivers provide excellent sea-run trout fishing as well. Very large runs of fresh silver sea-run brown trout converge on the tidal areas of the salmon rivers during December and January in particular.

For more information on sports fishing in North Canterbury consult the booklet, Fishing Access: A Guide to popular fishing locations in the North Canterbury Fish & Game Region. This is available from the North Canterbury Fish & Game office or major sports shops in the region.

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