North Canterbury Reel Life January 2018
Canterbury lakes re-open after 'all clear'
Good news for anglers - the six lakes closed late last year after trout were discovered with unidentified rashes - have been re-opened.
Right: Anglers can now fish the Waimakariri Lakes once more after the "all clear" from MPI.
The move was taken on January 26 after tests carried out on fish by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).
The high country lakes near Arthur's Pass which had been closed were Lyndon, Pearson, Grasmere, Sarah, Hawdon and Marymere.
MPI experts gave the all clear after saying they could not find any virus or bacteria present in trout which were tested.
MPI suggested that something in the environment may have been responsible.
Chairman of the North Canterbury Council, Trevor Isitt, says the news comes as a relief.
He says that anglers and their families can head back to those lakes reassured that the fisheries are free of anything infectious that could be spread to other lakes.
Trevor Isitt says Fish & Game extends its grateful thanks to all the anglers and their families impacted, saying it was a frustrating shutdown during a key holiday time, but a classic case of better safe than sorry.
Prospects for February
After a rainy Christmas period the weather has settled into the hot windless systems that were persistent in January.
Left: Fish & Game staff drift diving on the Hope River.
Although it looks as if there might be some heavy rain at the start of February.
The current hot weather is putting strain on some of our fisheries.
Many of you would have noticed when fishing some of our shallower lakes that there is very little fish activity.
This is because the top few metres of the lakes get very warm when we have long periods of hot still weather.
Trout seek refuge in the lower depths which makes it hard for the angler.
Larger lakes such as Coleridge or Sumner are less affected by this.
Once we have a windy day or two the layers of different temperature in the lake mix up, cooling the lake down and making the fishing more productive.
Back country fisheries are doing well this year; there have been regular enough freshes to keep the flows up and the substrate clean.
Some incredible hot days in the high country have produced some really good dry fly action.
February is an excellent month for this as cicadas are usually around in high numbers in the back country.
Sometimes this causes trout to abandon their usual post-Christmas caution.
When this happens it doesn’t really get any better for fly anglers.
Fish & Game will undertake its drift dive programme in February to assess numbers in some of our key back country fisheries.
We are expecting reasonably good numbers based on angler reports.
Salmon will start to appear in the lower Waimakariri in February.
The other salmon rivers have had reasonable salmon runs this season but we are hoping for another burst this month.
Keep an eye on water temperatures for the alpine rivers on the Environment Canterbury river flows web page, as temperature can play a huge part in how catchable salmon are.
Tony Hawker, North Canterbury Fish & Game officer.
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