Reel Life September 2021

The new fishing season isn't far away, and it's time to get ready.

Our backcountry drift dive programme showed typical fish numbers, but the average size of the fish was still large. 

Trout have experienced excellent conditions in the last two years with abundant food conditions.

Like last year, the backcountry will be devoid of tourist anglers.

Although this doesn’t always mean the fish will be easier to catch, you’ll generally see more fish feeding as they’re less disturbed, providing a better angling experience.  

Over the winter, the most significant influence on the fishery has been the riverbed-altering floods like the big flood we had this year; however, trout are a resilient species.

Floods can have positive effects; they clear out the riverbed and provide fresh, clean gravel.

This is beneficial for the likes of the Selwyn River; during the flood, trout would have retreated to the lower reaches or the lake where the velocity is lower.

Over winter, the Selwyn has looked like a proper river, with a healthy flow and a fresh bed of clean gravel, which will provide significant spawning areas and improved food-producing habitat. 

New Regulations for 2021-22

Season Bag Limit for Sea run Salmon 

Due to the declining numbers of sea run salmon in recent years, the North Canterbury and Central South Island Fish & Game councils have adopted an adaptive salmon management strategy.

Part of this strategy includes a season bag limit for sea run salmon.

The season bag limit is determined by the average of the total size of the salmon run for the previous three seasons. 

This season will be the first for a season bag limit, and the number is two sea run salmon per whole season licence.

Once the bag limit has been reached, the angler is no longer allowed to fish for sea run salmon for the rest of the season. 

Heathcote River 

The Heathcote River will now have a closed season in the upper reaches to protect spawning trout.

The boundary for this change is the Colombo Street Bridge. Upstream of this point, the fishing season will be from October 1 to April 30.

Below the Colombo Street Bridge, the river is open to fishing all year round for trout and October 1 to April 30 for salmon. 

Use of Motorised Boats on High-Country Lakes 

As well as Fish & Game regulations, there are also District Council bylaws on what type of craft can be used on lakes.

The Selwyn District Council plan lists several lakes where the use of motorised boats is prohibited.

Fish & Game has now added a prohibition on the use of motorised craft in their regulations on certain lakes to be consistent with the Selwyn District Plan. 

THIS PROHIBITION APPLIES TO: 

Lake Blackwater, Lake Catherine, Lake Evelyn, Lake Georgina, Lake Grasmere, Lake Hawdon, Lake Henrietta, Lake Ida, Lake Letitia, Lake Lillian, Lake Marymere, Lake Pearson, Lake Rubicon, Lake Sarah 

Tight Lines 

The Team at North Canterbury Fish & Game