Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island -30-09-20
It’s Opening Day tomorrow, Thursday October 1st!
The weather is set to play-ball, you beauty!
Right: The Opihi River looking good the day before opening.
Be prepared for a crisp start if you are getting on the water early, waders will make things much more pleasant.
The Ashburton and Rangitata main stems will be discoloured but some of their tributaries will be worth fishing.
High Country tarns and lagoons don’t open until the first Saturday in November so don’t be tempted to jump the gun.
The Opihi River and tributaries will provide excellent sight fishing opportunity with river levels being relatively low.
This morning’s not-so elaborate, 5 minute preseason check of the Opihi River near State Highway 1 left me in two minds what to share - you see it’s my local.
Nevertheless, summer like flows, hardly any algae making for easy spotting and 9 large fish feeding hard-out in two long riffles – that’s just the obvious fish too.
Do Fish & Game Officers have to work opening day?
Lake Opuha continues to fill with the recent snow and rain and will provide well for the boaties.
Lake Opuha is also a great spot to take the kids for a picnic and a spot of bait fishing.
If conditions are right the sight fishing on the shoreline can be fantastic – don’t rush up to the water edge and spook the fish!
Further South, the Waitaki River around Kurow is always a favourite with jet boaters and shoreline anglers on Opening.
October is a big month for Waitaki anglers, a recent survey showed it as the most targeted and productive trout fishing month on the river.
Over the season we expect about 13,000 trout to be caught in the Waitaki, with one-quarter of those caught in October.
The river has been low lately, 315 cumecs being the highest flow for the last month.
The Waitaki shot up to 385 cumecs this morning (Wednesday 9am) and although that flow level is manageable for fishing around Kurow, it can be a real challenge further downstream if over about 320 cumecs.
Check out our new Waitaki Access brochure here for more info on access points and managing the flows.
Bells and Bortons Ponds offer reliable and relaxed pond fishing options on the banks of the Waitaki that are family friendly and will be a great spot for fishing this October.
Its best to keep a close eye on the Environment Canterbury river flow website and make an educated decision on where to spend your precious Opening Day.
And one final Waitaki note, the Hakataramea and Maerewhenua rivers do not open until the first Saturday in November.
Even though it is open year-round Lake Benmore attracts a modest opening day crowd.
Please be aware the Glenburn Access on the Ahuriri Arm (Ahuriri delta and boat launch) currently does not offer drive-in access after the farmer decided to lock the gate, preventing lake-edge vehicle access across private land which has historically been provided out of good-will.
We are working to address the situation but in the meantime walking access is still available from the roadside gate on State Highway 83.
Unfortunately, the alternative boat launching area is about 5km down the road at Sailors Cutting.
On the canal front, the latest talk of good salmon catches have come from the Ohau B Canal (SH8 farm area), although that was a week or two ago now.
As we look ahead to the weekend, there is a bit of westerly wind to contend with so best to check the forecast on Friday yourself before heading out.
Low Country river flows should remain good to go, but waterways with main divide headwaters could be affected by rain.
I’m confident there will be some great local fishing options this weekend for those rearing to get out there.
If you haven't yet secured your new 2020-2021 licence, get a wriggle on.
It's easy to get it online, you can use the email receipt as proof of purchase until your plastic licence arrives in the post.
Before heading out this season be sure to review your new 2020-2021 regulation guide.
An online version of the 2020-2021 regulation guide can be found here.
The last note I’ll make is to please minimise stock disturbance while fishing around farmland during October, for many lambing is still underway and separating ewe’s and lambs can be an issue.
Want to learn to fly fish?
Hunting & Fishing are hosting “Learn To Fly Fish” evenings on these dates at these stores, Ashburton – Monday 5th October, Timaru – Tuesday 6th October and Oamaru – Wednesday 6th October. Entry is free.
Labour Day public holiday – Monday October 28
High-country Opening - Saturday November 7 (first Saturday in November)
Upper Ahuriri River and Lagoons Opening - Saturday December 5 (first Saturday in December)
Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer
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