Fish & Game remind anglers to stick to the rules

  • Central South Island
  • 20/12/2023

Fish & Game remind anglers to stick to the rules

A Fish & Game ranger checks on a fully compliant angler at Lake Heron in the Ashburton Lakes / Ōtūwharekai. Photo Credit Hamish Stevens / Fish & Game

With the busy holiday season just around the corner Central South Island Fish & Game are reminding anglers to purchase a 2023/2024 sports fishing licence and to carry it with them, ready to show a ranger.

All anglers that target trout, salmon, perch and other sports fish in freshwater are required under the Conservation Act 1987 to hold a valid sports fishing licence and adhere to the sports fishing regulations.

Anglers are also reminded to check the sports fishing regulation guide and ensure they adhere to the regulations which can differ between various waterways.

Central South Island Fish & Game Compliance Coordinator Hamish Stevens said, “Fish & Game rangers will be active over summer to observe the success of anglers and the condition of the fisheries and check that freshwater anglers are licenced and following the regulations.”

“Anglers who choose to fish for sports fish without a licence or otherwise break the regulations can expect to end up in court. It’s not a risk worth taking and it is much cheaper and less stressful to purchase a licence and follow the rules.

“Those anglers that target sea-run salmon in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game regions have an additional sea-run salmon licence to purchase and must abide by its associated sea-run salmon regulations. Sea-run salmon anglers must carry a season bag card in addition to their sports fishing licence, and carry a pen to be able to fill out their card immediately upon keeping a salmon. Rangers will have a focus on the sea-run salmon fishery over the coming months.

“Anglers are reminded salmon populations that do not have access to and from the sea, such as at the Mackenzie hydro-electric canals, Lake Tekapo / Takapō and other Waitaki lakes are not sea-run salmon.”

During the 2022/23 season, that ended on the 30 September 2023, Fish & Game rangers undertook their duties at 28 waterways across the Central South Island Fish & Game Region, interviewing 2,003 anglers. 79 people were found offending, accounting for a total of 93 offences.

Most offences were detected at the Mackenzie hydro-electric canals near Tekapo and Twizel.

The most common offence detected was fishing without a current sports fishing licence with 42 unlicenced anglers found by rangers last season.

Other common offences detected by rangers were continuing to fish after having taken a bag limit, fishing out of season, using unauthorised bait, being more than 15m from rod and breaching requirements of the sea-run salmon season bag limit.

Rarer offences detected included: obstruction, unsporting method, using more than one rod, providing false and misleading information to a ranger, exceeding the daily bag limit and using more than one bait assembly. 

In 30 of these cases, offenders were charged and summonsed to appear in the District Court.

The maximum penalty for fishing without a licence, and most regulation breaches, is a criminal conviction, fine of up to $5,000 and forfeiture of fishing gear used.

In recent years persons found fishing without a licence have been ordered by the Court to pay up to $930 in fines and costs.


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