Salmon season opens on December 1

This Sunday the sun rises on a new salmon fishing season.

Sea-run salmon are a big fish that fight hard and taste great.

To many anglers Chinook salmon are king of the sports fish - the ultimate prize to bring home for the family.

The later salmon season opening on 1 December this year is part of a series of proactive measures North Canterbury Fish & Game are taking to restore the regions wild salmon populations.

Aiming to increase the number of wild fish returning to the spawning grounds Fish & Game regions on the East Coast of the South Island have opted for a later season start and a  daily bag limit of one fish per day.

Salmon fishing is a great sport, and a fantastic reason to visit your favourite river. Especially when the experience is shared with friends and family. 

We have already heard reports of salmon being spotted in the river mouths and anglers will be in the unusual position of having fish in the river system already creates opportunities upriver, especially on the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers.

Although they are a great eating fish, salmon fishing is not only about harvesting a meal for many dedicated salmon anglers – they also go fishing for the scenery, the water, to share your skills with the next generation and to enjoy the comradery of fellow salmon enthusiasts.

In doing so they keep traditions alive that have now been part of the Canterbury and kiwi outdoor lifestyle and sports fishing culture for over 100 years.

In recent years Fish & Game have been asking anglers to lighten their footprint and redirect the focus away from aiming to harvest high season tallies to enjoying the places and faces of our sport.

Catch and release of salmon is successful if fish are played quickly and kept in the water as much as possible during the unhooking process. 

It is a great feeling to release a fish to be on its way to spawning grounds or offer a thrill to another angler.

Fish & Game encourage anglers to adopt a voluntary season bag limit of four sea run salmon to help protect our spawning stocks.

As part of the management of the fishery, Fish & Game would like anglers to keep any salmon heads they catch in the Rakaia River in December and January, recording the date and location caught, weight, length and sex of the salmon. 

From these fish we will analyse the fish ear bones (otoliths), which will enable us to able to determine where they were born, determine at what size they entered the ocean, and if their size and sex differs significantly from later run fish, helping us to sustainably manage the salmon fishery..

Every salmon head supplied will go in the draw for one of three $200 vouchers to spend at the following stores; Hunting & Fishing, Complete Angler and Fishermans’ Loft to be drawn in February.

Please let us know and we will collect these heads and the information from you.  Contact our office on 366 9191 or northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz.  They can be kept in your freezer in the meantime.