North Canterbury Reel Life September 2019

Opening day prospects

The end of September is going to bring some heavy North West rain to the headwaters. 

This will mean all the back country rivers will be flowing quite high by opening. 

The bush clad catchments of Arthurs and Lewis Pass will be clear as long as the fresh hasn’t occurred a couple of days before opening.

There have been reports of mice numbers building at Arthurs Pass. 

So don’t be surprised if the fish are bigger than normal in the back country this year.

Hill fed streams are flowing well at the moment and will probably receive some spill over from the rain forecast next week. 

Flows have been good all winter and the substrate is periphyton free as pictured above.

Lowland streams such as the spring creeks around Christchurch and the Lake Ellesmere tributaries have been flowing well all winter. 

Any of these streams will be worth a look on opening day. 

This year there looks to be more fish in the Ellesmere system. 

The Lake is currently closed but was open for much of the winter. 

This allowed a fresh recruitment of trout into the lake and also fresh food sources as well.

The lower Selwyn looks good this year with regular flushes occurring throughout the winter allowing full connection with the hills. 

The substrate is clean and there is a large clear flow. 

This area would definitely be worth a look around opening week. 

Evening fishing is popular on this river. 

Fly anglers can enjoy an evening rise while bait fisherman usually wait until after dark when the fish have a feeding frenzy on the thousands of bullies that live the area. 

Soft baiting during the day can also be effective early season while the angling pressure is light.

October is a good month for lowland streams. 

Often in October the back country is still cold, and it takes while for invertebrate production to get going. 

Low country streams on the other hand tend to fish the best early season before flows drop and the fish retreat.

The main alpine rivers are likely to be running high at the river mouths. 

Ideal conditions for spin fishing for early season sea run trout. 

Most of the lakes will be closed until the high country opening of the first Saturday in November. 

There are some exceptions to this: Lake Forsyth is open all year and is well worth a look, Loch Katrine and Lake Sumner are also open all year round.

Remember to get your licence as there will be a Ranger presence on opening day. 

Remember to check all your gear including fly lines etc so you get the most out of the day. 

Our regular weekly fishing reports will start the week before opening day for a more up to date report on the weather and river conditions.

Tight Lines, 

Tony Hawker, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer