North Canterbury Reel Life March 2019

April, the month of holidays

Most people are aware that the way the holidays are lining up this month is very fortuitous. 

Only three days of annual leave is needed to join all the statutory holidays to make a break of 10 days. 

This has lead to a mad scramble at work places to apply for these strategic three days. 

Above right: This April has plenty of opportunities for anglers to get out fishing.

It is also school holidays this month, the second week of which aligns with the Easter/Anzac break. 

This means plenty of opportunity for multi-day fishing trips or a family camping holiday by a high country lake.

April also means the fishing season is drawing to a close, but it's still a great month in the angler’s calendar. 

After a slow start the salmon are running through all the rivers. 

The Waimakariri is especially good in the month of April.

Settled weather will mean good days out on the high country lakes. 

Trout will be starting to gather at stream mouths as the early spawners start thinking about moving into the streams. 

Warm days can still mean productive hatches on the water surface.

I have always thought backcountry rivers fish well in April. 

The fish are often in better condition after a period of stable flows. 

Rivers are low and clear and the trout easily spotted. 

Insect activity continues to be productive right through the month as the days are still quite warm. 

Some of the best dry fly action I have had has been towards the last days of the season. 

Fishing pressure on or trout fishing streams also dies away towards the end of the season as well.

One of the downsides to fishing in April is the reduced daylight hours. 

This can make it difficult to squeeze in some time for those “after work” sessions. 

Some people see it as a positive as they don’t have to stay out so late for the dusk. 

It can also mean lower sun angles and reduced visibility for spotting fish. 

There are a couple of techniques to combat this; target rivers that have a hill or bush back drop. 

These rivers are often less reflective than the open braided rivers. 

Big open rivers are still visible during the middle of the day but probably only for a few hours.

Tips on sunnies

The right type of eyewear can make a big difference. 

For a general all rounder I wear Polaroids with glass lens in an amber colour. 

These are a good all rounder for most of the year; they don’t really make conditions lighter but they don’t darken the water either. 

I never wear Polaroids that shade or darken the light, as they're for sea fishing only. 

At this time of year I often switch to Polaroids with a yellow lens. 

These brighten up the visibility in the water even during the winter months. 

They don’t have to be expensive, you can get some very cheap plastic lens Polaroids that work just as well for spotting fish. 

They may not be as durable or as comfortable to wear but they will still help you spot fish. 

I don’t recommend wearing yellow lens all the time as they can be hard on eyes. 

They should be reserved for cloudy days or during the months with low sun angles.

The benefits of angling

Lake MerDuncan Wilcox from Lyttelton wanted to share this photo and wee gem of a yarn about angling:

An acquaintance of mine came by to have a look @ doing some re-upolstery work & turned out he was an avid fly fisherman like myself.

So we chatted away for a while but then he told me the story about how his daughter was having a bit of a rough patch so he decided to cheer her up by taking her fly fishing for the very first time.

As we all know how fly fishing can cheer you up and make you forget your troubles for a wee while…

He took her to high country Lake Marymere which has a well deserved reputation of (a) big trout and (b) very tough to catch trout.

On literally her third or fourth cast of a fly rod, she hooked this fish…and managed to land it on 4lb tippet.

A fishing mate of mine down south wrote to me when he saw the photo that she should hang her rod up now because it's only down hill from here ;-)

Tight Lines,

North Canterbury Fish & Game Field Officer Tony Hawker

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