Reel Life - The Angler's Newsletter from Fish and Game New Zealand

Reel Life - March 2016

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The end of daylight saving is looming (Sunday, April 3) and it's getting darker much earlier…

But there's still enough light to head out for a quick few casts after work.

Down south, mayflies are hatching, and the evening can be a very productive time for fishing the lower reaches of Southland's rivers. And the next four weeks are the perfect time to target stream mouths on the big central Otago lakes.

Salmon in particular, accumulate around the mouths of Timaru Creek, Hunter, Matukituki, Makarora and Dart before heading up to spawn near the end of April.

In North Canterbury the salmon fishing this season has yet to really fire, although we are starting to get reports of a few being caught in the lower Waimakariri River and the odd one in the mid reaches of other salmon rivers. In the central South Island some anglers haven't touched one, while others have reportedly hit catch rates in double figures!

Up North, at the Rotorua lakes, streams like the Awahou feeding into Lake Rotorua excelled this season with some well-conditioned rainbows and browns packing into the cold inflows.

The deeper lakes, Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina, continue to fish well for boaties, although as always with trout – some days it's hot, some days it's not!

Autumn fishing in the Taranaki and Hawke's Bay regions is always worthwhile, and in Northland, the gradually easing temperatures signal that the fishing in Kai Iwi lakes will soon be improving.

P.S. - This month's cover pic shows Helen Austin and Phil Gapes with their Rangitata salmon.

P.P.S - If you think you've got a freshwater fishing image worthy of featuring on our 'cover', email it to Don Rood for consideration.

Fishing News

The government must heed a clean water petition signed by 12,000
Fish & Game has called on the Government to heed the public petition on clean water presented to Parliament – that demonstrates New Zealanders are completely fed up with dirty rivers. The Choose Clean Water petition sprang from a student-led campaign for better freshwater standards. We say it was an historic moment. Click here.

See how to start a campaign here.

Ban on winter fishing 'to preserve fishery'
North Canterbury Fish & Game says the proposed ban on winter sports fishing in the lowland waterways is regrettable, but the result of long term environmental degradation – rather than any overfishing. The proposed ban involves closing the winter season which runs from May to September, over waterways which are east of State Highway One in Fish & Game's North Canterbury Region. Click here.

Social media
Social media is increasingly becoming a significant way of communicating and catching up with news and developments. Fish & Game has both Twitter and Facebook accounts, so if you aren't signed up, make sure you do now.

New Licences
If you haven't got around to buying a licence, a winter trout fishing licence is a bargain! The winter season started on April 1 and runs until the end of September. For $74 you can chase trout at a time of year when they're in great condition. Click here.

If you hunt as well as fish, a reminder that game bird hunting licences are on sale – with some of the money raised going towards preserving New Zealand's shrinking wetlands. Click here for details.

This Month's Regional News Click on the region to read.

Auckland / Waikato
Hawke's Bay

Nelson / Marlborough
North Canterbury

West Coast
Central South Island

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Streamside with...

Will Spry

Will Spry says with summer rolling off and autumn rolling in, it is the time for mayflies and calmer weather... Find out more


Graeme Marshall looks to April as an exciting time for trout fishing... Find out more

Will Spry

Chris Dore passes on some advice for fishing on windy days… Find out more


NZFFA President David Haynes summarises recent freshwater news and issues ... Find out more

Creasy's Column - By Hugh Creasy

The river runs low and slow, murky with algae and slime and giving off an odour of decay. In the turbid gloom a crayfish dissects the body of a bully, and with dainty movements of its pincers transfers the softer parts to its mouth. The crayfish is out in the open in daylight, unafraid, bold in the absence of predators.

There is a trout nearby but it is lethargic, its normally bright-eyed watchfulness has been reduced to a dull awareness and its movements are slowed, barely sending a ripple through the thickening slime on its body.

Upstream there is a riffle where the water bubbles over pebbles and into a weedy run where stronger fish maintain a watch, invigorated by the oxygen and jealous of their position. The downstream fish is dying from the heat and the lack of oxygen. It was never strong enough to compete and left a run to the sea too late in the season, and that passage is now cut off by shallows and sand bars and bigger fish, more aggressive, savage in their territorial battles.

The fish pumps thickened water through its gills, but with little effect. It is dying, and the goggle-eyed crayfish senses its distress. There will be a feasting and the lesser creatures of the river will grow fat on the misfortune of some... Continue reading here

Fish & Game NZ, 2 Jarden Mile, PO Box 13-141, Wellington. Tel: (04) 499 4767

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