West Coast Reel Life October 2019

2019-20 Sportfishing Season Underway!

Despite unsettled weather over the last couple weeks, anglers have been seen out in good numbers and reports have been predominantly positive.

Anglers have reported that trout caught have been in good condition and are delivering quite the fight.

Good condition trout this early in the season doesn’t only mean great fishing but that the trout likely experienced ideal spawning conditions during winter. 

Right: A trout cruising the shallows in one of our West Coast lakes. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

The West Coast lakes have been utilised greatly over the last month with the rivers often running high.

The shore anglers are tending to have more luck than the boat anglers with the trout feeding right in the shallows, taking advantage of the elevated lake levels.

WC2 RL October 2020

Shore based angler Zhou Yu landing a young salmon in a South Westland lake.

Anglers fishing rivers are doing well also when fishing to the conditions.

This being fishing heavy gear to ensure they are getting down to the trout holding on the bottom.

Regular sea run trout are getting caught now, with the top of the tidal reaches at the first set of falls being a great spot to target them.

Anglers have also reported that there is plenty of young salmon present in South Westland during this month’s fishing, with them being a common catch in the lakes.

Anglers are reminded that as stated in 2018-19 regulations, all salmon that do not exceed 350 mm must be returned to the water immediately in the South Westland lakes. Hopefully this is a sign of good seasons to come!

Boat Fishing in West Coast Lakes

As mentioned above, anglers on the shore have been out fishing boat anglers so I thought there is no better time to give the boat anglers some tips!

Firstly, ensure you are fishing within a meter or two of the bottom as that’s where the food is and where there’s food, there’s trout.

If you’re not occasionally getting weed, your likely fishing too far off the bottom.

WC3 RL October 2020

A healthy West Coast lake trout recently caught. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

Early season the warmer water is where you’ll find trout, so target the shallows but come summer, if conditions warm up a bit target slightly deeper water or cold river mouths as the trout will seek cool water.

Casting from the boat in around submerged forests or flaxes/rushes is extremely effective, yet underutilised.

When trolling ensure you’re going very slow and when you do, fish light gear, otherwise you’ll spend all day unhooking snags.

Lastly you cannot beat harling large wet fly that is slightly weighted, especially if the lake has chopped up a bit.

Get out exploring this season

As an angler myself, I don’t find anything more exciting than exploring new fishing spots, always wondering what is around the next corner.

Fish & Game have installed several new angler access points over the winter, which we encourage anglers to utilise but also encourage anglers to get in contact with landowners for access and find their own secret honey hole.

WC4 RL October 2020

A new angler access installed on the Lower Inangahua river. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

You’ll find better fishing where less angling occurs, especially as the season progresses and it’s also healthier for the fishery for the angling pressure to spread over a larger area.

Don’t worry about missing out on having your licence check, with additional staffing, West Coast Fish & Game officers are getting into those hard to reach places.

Hope to see you out there!

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.