North Canterbury weekly report 3rd March 2017

Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 3rd of March

Tony Hawker North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer

WFR Coes fordHello and welcome to the North Canterbury fishing report.

It looks like summer might finally have arrived.

The last two weeks has brought some settled weather.

This weekend looks fine on the plains and coastal areas while the high country looks like it may get some westerly winds.

Above Right: Selwyn River at Coes Ford

All of the alpine rivers are clear and fishable.

Probably too clear for ideal salmon fishing conditions.

There are a few salmon around though as evidenced in the Rakaia fishing competition last weekend.

March is also the best month for the lower reaches of the Waimakariri.

Salmon in the Hurunui and Waiau should be up river by now.

High country rivers will be clear and still have boisterous flows for this time of year.

The Hurunui is still around 20 cumecs which is ideal fishing for the upper reaches.

We managed to do our first back country drift dive this year.

There have been long delays due to the amount of freshes this summer.

This count indicated that numbers of large fish are down from the last two years.

Hardly surprising given the amount of floods we have had.

Most of the rivers have changed course and formed new holding water.

This will take some time to recolonize.

Most of the large fish seen however were in good condition.

Small and medium sized fish were still present which was great to see.

Lowland streams have taken a turn for the worse this month with salvages occurring in both the Ashley and the Selwyn.

The Selwyn River at Coes Ford is completely dry.

The first time since 1935.

Luckily not many trout were in the lower Selwyn this year.

Unfortunately I do not see much future for this river with Environment Canterbury’s continued response being that the drought is to blame and not the over allocation of groundwater.

Yes I agree that we have lacked winter rain for recharge but as each summer goes by with more water being sucked out the amount of recharge needed each winter also increases until eventually there is never enough rain to recharge what is taken out.

During the spring the upper Selwyn had a flood of 26 cumecs. This flow never made it to the lower reaches.

It disappeared trying to recharge the aquifer.

WFR upper SelwynLeft: Upper Selwyn monitoring site

Can you imagine a flow the size of the Hurunui River simply disappearing?

As well as salvaging Fish & Game staff started a two year project in the upper Selwyn and Ashley River catchments this month.

The project involves monitoring the habitat and water quality in the upper reaches of these catchments to determine if there are any effects of the current high country farming practices.

Landowners are fully supportive of the project and Environment Canterbury are funding the analysis of the samples.

This project will fill a knowledge gap of the condition of high country streams.