West Coast Reel Life December 2019

West Coast Experiencing Top Notch Angling

Angling over the Christmas break is looking very promising, with the weather warm but not too hot that the trout are going off the feed.

With the warmth experienced recently insect activity has taken off but because of the unsettled weather we are not getting the typically low summer flows.

This greatly plays to the angler’s favour, with trout feeding better and not being as spooky.

Right: A good condition West Coast brown trout recovering in the shallows. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

Very large trout have been getting caught anywhere there is a nearby beech forest, so make sure your checking your knots twice!

Perch activity has begun to increase so we have added some information below about them feisty fellas.

Fly anglers and those who drift cicadas with bubbles will be keen to know that I have found the trout have been taken big dries well over the last couple weeks.

On a day off last week, I had a brown trout take my cicada fly so aggressively that in launched itself on the gravel.

WC2 RL December 2020

Junior angler Keegan Burrows finding success in a West Coast lake as insect activity increases.

I unfortunately I didn’t get a hook up, but I did beach it so does that count as catching it?

I’ll leave that up to you to decide!

Lastly the first salmon that we know of getting caught last season was over the Christmas break, so don’t forget your salmon spoons if you’re near a river mouth these holidays.

Targeting Perch

Warm sunny weather provides the best conditions to target Red Fin Perch, a great species for young anglers.

Lakes Mahinapua and Kaniere offer the best options for targeting this species.

They are not particularly fussy, with most lures effective.

Brightly coloured, yellow or orange lures and flies tend to go particularly well.

Fish back against lake edges with overhanging vegetation, or around lake weed beds for the best results.

Often the lake outlets or inlets tend to hold the larger fish.

Perch are known for being a good eating fish, so enjoy feasting on your catch.

Back Country Licences

West Coast Fish & Game is spending a significantly more time in the Karamea and the Mokihinui rivers this season and the last thing we want to come across is someone who hasn’t taken the time to get a back country Licence Endorsement.

Being so easy to obtain, and it carry much the same penalty as fishing without a licence, any angler going fishing in the designated back country fisheries would be foolish not to obtain the licence endorsement!

The designated back country fisheries on the West Coast are the Karamea River catchment upstream of the Kakapo River confluence and the Mokihinui catchment upstream of the confluence with Rough and Tumble Creek.

To obtain a back country licence endorsement or to check your current back country licence endorsements click here.

Research underway in the Mawheraiti River Catchment

We have just completed our first round of electric fishing on three streams to measure spawning success in the

Mawheraiti River catchment

This follows us doing spawning surveys in the winter, to count the number of trout choosing to spawn in each stream.

WC3 RL December 2020

Fish & Game Officers Glen Newton (left) and Baylee Kersten electric fishing at one of the research sites. (Photo Dean Kelly)

The study is off to a great start with juvenile trout being observed at all three sites.

This indicates that even with the wet spring we experienced, the next generation of brown trout are coming along nicely.

The three chosen research sites represent different land uses, with the sites including streams flowing through farmland; forestry/state highway roading; and native bush.

The research project is in place to obtain a better understanding of fluctuations in the trout population observed by annual drift dives and angler reports in the Mawheraiti River.

The trout successfully spawning in the farm stream is good example of how following some basic environmental farm practices such as excluding stock and machinery from waterways, can result in both productive dairy farming and healthy trout fisheries here on the West Coast.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from West Coast Fish & Game.

Hope to see you out there! 

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.