First High Country Rivers Open To Anglers
Fishing in the South Island’s remote and scenic back country regions begins opening today, with more waters opening this weekend.
Anglers get their first taste of new spring fishing opportunities in the back country with the opening of the main lake tributaries and back country rivers in Otago and Southland, including the Greenstone, Matukituki, Hunter and Rees rivers.
Back country waters in North Canterbury and Central South Island regions open on Saturday.
Fish & Game South Island Communications Advisor Richard Cosgrove says that while spring weather conditions are typically variable, it can be a great time to sample some of these back country fisheries in particular, with fish beginning to feed more actively.
“Dry fly fishing starts to improve as things warm up and we see the appearance of insects like the brown beetles and other hatches,” he says.
“Southland and Otago have wonderful opportunities for trout fishing in spectacular and remote locations and anglers have been keenly waiting for today’s opening.”
In the North Canterbury region, the back country opening is traditionally marked by the annual Lake Coleridge fishing contest, which is being held this Saturday, November 5.
This competition is free to enter, has over $10,000 worth of prizes generously donated by Hunting & Fishing Christchurch and is a highlight of the year for many high country anglers. Mr Cosgrove says.
“Every year over 1,000 or more anglers fish the Lake Coleridge lakes and the surrounding areas on opening weekend.”
“Anglers will be hoping for some water-borne action with surveys indicating great numbers of fish in the lake and surrounding area,” Richard Cosgrove says.
Lake Coleridge is the most popular lake fishing spot in North Canterbury and this event is a great opportunity for both seasoned anglers and the public in general.
The value placed on Lake Coleridge and the surrounding lakes, goes beyond being a recreational resource for angling, to something of a celebration of the “kiwi way of life,” Mr Cosgrove says.
“Many anglers think you have to catch a fish to enter the competition, but it’s open to anyone who presents a current fishing licence on the day.
“There are very few fishing competitions in New Zealand with free entry and such a large prize pool.”
Mr Cosgrove says that Fish & Game expects a successful opening day with recent spawning in the wake of recent surveys in the Coleridge tributaries, which showed healthy numbers of rainbow trout in great condition, many of which will be back in the lake by opening day.
Staff have reported that there should be plenty of salmon about this season as last season there were many smaller salmon caught, he adds.
North Canterbury Fish & Game staff have been stocking most of the lakes in the area for a number of years and over the last 12 months, released thousands of chinook salmon and rainbow trout into Lake Coleridge and neighbouring lakes.
Lake Coleridge is one of the few lakes in the South Island that you can catch salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout all in the one day.
A number of anglers camp overnight around the various lakes to make the most of first light, as most fish are usually taken at first and last light over opening weekend.
Free camping is available at Ryton Bay for both opening weekend and the following weekend, with the landowner unlocking gates to allow more room for this much anticipated event.
“A reminder to anglers to please remove all rubbish if you wish to keep this event going with landowner co-operation.”
The Ryton Bay weigh station will be open from 8.30 am until 3pm Saturday, with the prize giving shortly after. A BBQ will be serving up sizzlers during the day.
Anglers are reminded of the need to obtain a Backcountry Licence for specific waters which can be done on this website by clicking here Note there is no additional cost.
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