Graeme Marshall Fishing Report Mar 2017

  • 31/03/2017

South Canterbury Report for March 2017

I don’t often get nostalgic about fishing my old haunts in the Nelson backblocks. Despite the amount of negative publicity that the dairy industry attracts, there’s still a great deal of excellent fishing to be had in mid and south Canterbury. I do get a bit wistful though when I recall the amazing fishing associated with big cicada emergence years. So far this summer, in south Canterbury, I might have heard a dozen or so all up, which doesn’t even come close to the deafening cacophony so common in many other parts of the island. My Nelson friends have been waxing lyrical about the wonderful cicada fishing this season so I am a just a tad envious.

But there are other compensations. A recent modest fresh in the lowland streams meant that it was very much a case of ‘game on’ again. Fish which had

been decidedly lethargic, or just conspicuous by their absence for a few weeks, were back on the feed again as the moveable feast of dislodged nymphs and snails came rolling down the runs of the Opihi and Pareora, for example. The latter has fished better this summer than it has for years due to timely rain events. The icing on the proverbial cake has been the willingness for many fish to look to the surface for a feed.

As we lead into the last month of the regular season anglers who’ve put the effort in will express satisfaction overall. My regular informants have all been grinning anyway and have reported good numbers of well-conditioned browns in local waters. Looking forward gives further cause for optimism. A recent outing on the lower Opihi, not far above the estuary on a bright sunny day was something of a revelation. Alongside good numbers of fish in the 1.5 -2kg category were literally hundreds of their smaller brethren. The ones I hooked by accident on the swing or while casting to a larger fish were feisty silver specimens. Given a good winter the river should be well populated with respectable fish next season.

While most of the salmon anglers I know have succeeded in landing at least one salmon this season, many others have not been so fortunate. A minor late flurry in the Rangitata, Orari and Opihi have boosted the take a little but overall the season looks destined to be remembered for all the wrong reasons. As I write this with just one week of the season left my tally is just two hooked and one landed – a relatively modest 4kg fish. Interestingly, the other was hooked and almost beached just minutes earlier. I have to concede though that to date I have only fished on just nine occasions throughout the season, by far the least effort I have put in over the past decade. The size of fish is also disappointing with most of those I’ve seen caught not even threatening to reach double figures. Also of concern is that some fish have been in rather slim condition even straight out of the sea. We can only hope for better in the seasons to come as well as work on improving spawning habitat and preventing loss of smolt to irrigation schemes.


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