North Canterbury Reel Life December 2017
Holiday season on the lakes
If you are camping by a lake this holiday try fishing from a kayak or small inflatable, trolling with light spinning gear with either Tassies or Rapalas.
Tassies are very good for shallower lakes or trolling over weed beds as the lure stays near the surface.
Rapalas are better for deeper water as you can get the diving variety.
The speed of rowing or paddling is perfect for trolling and the variation in speed and direction can often induce takes.
I find I have more success if I get plenty of line out on the water - at least 50 metres.
Kayaks and small boats are also excellent to use for fly fishing, both are very effective for stalking trout that cruise lake edges where shore access is difficult.
Plus mucking round in boats is always popular with kids.
But please check the regulations for the lake you are fishing for rules about the use of boats, and don't forget those lifejackets.
Remember that lakes Sarah, Hawdon, Marymere, Grasmere, Pearson and Lyndon are still closed to fishing at time of writing due to the strange rash we've found on some trout.
This is a precautionary measure just in case it's a new disease.
Samples are still being tested at a Ministry for Primary Industry laboratory.
We hope to have the results soon and then we can make a decision on long term access to these lakes.
Until then we appreciate the patience and cooperation anglers have shown with these closures.
December is green beetle month
The green beetle (Manuka Chafer) can swarm in huge numbers in the back country on warm days.
They are often called the manuka beetle as they feed on manuka leaves.
Left: A real green Beetle next to an imitation on a fly rod.
The Māori name is kerewai, meaning “to drift on water”.
The name is apt as they're often seen accumulating on high country lakes in huge numbers.
They can be so thick on the water that a trout will often just cruise along the surface with its mouth open.
In this case it's not so much a problem of matching the hatch, but rather putting your fly in the oncoming path of the gaping mouth!
It is not only lakes but back country rivers that experience these swarms.
They are just not as noticeable on rivers as the current continuously sweeps them downstream.
Beetle imitations work well on rivers though and there are many imitations out there.
Some of them now have the shiny metallic colourings of the natural insect but the traditional, such as the humpy with a bit of green on the belly, can be just as effective.
Make sure you have some in your fly box these holidays as they're an important item in the trout larder.
Salmon for Christmas
There are some good salmon being caught this season in all the main alpine rivers.
The first salmon started being caught at the river mouths around a month ago.
So this means they will be reasonably spread out through the rivers for the holidays.
The first salmon of the season are usually in fantastic condition as they are fresh.
In the Rakaia River, the first run always seems to be a bit bigger in size as well.
If you are camping with the family you just need to concentrate on the best times for salmon fishing, either at the very start or the end of daylight. This makes salmon fishing compatible with other family activities.
River mouths are of course different and depend on the tides and swell direction if you are surf fishing.
Tony Hawker, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.
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