November is the month for anglers to explore!

  • 29/10/2021
  • Richie Cosgrove

November is the month for anglers to explore!

Anglers across the South Island have been counting down the days until November for the opening of some spectacular fisheries. 

November heralds the opening of several backcountry and high-country waterways in the South Island for anglers. 

Each year about 80,000 anglers get a fishing licence in the South Island and head out to explore the island’s fisheries. 

In Otago and Southland, November 1 is the traditional opening of the high-country fisheries in those regions. 

Southland Fish & Game Officer Cohen Stewart says anglers can take the opportunity to explore some of the region’s more remote fisheries, find some peace and solitude and enjoy being in the outdoors.

“The fishing is only secondary to the spectacular scenery on offer,” Mr Stewart says. 

The benefits to wellbeing from fishing are well documented. Taking some time to explore a new fishery or one you haven’t visited for a while will provide a respite from all the restrictions we face currently.

Otago Fish & Game Officer Bruce Quirey says Kiwis sometimes fail to appreciate what is right on their doorstep. 

“Covid has shown us that we have plenty of places we can explore at home and have fun doing it.” 

This week, Otago and Southland Fish & Game staff drift-dived the stunning Greenstone River to check on fish populations and habitat state as part of monitoring these spectacular fisheries. 

 “The Greenstone was in spectacular condition,” Mr Quirey said. 

“The fish were mostly rainbow trout and were in top form. Some of the brown trout we found were of trophy size. 

“We did not count as many fish as expected, but there are enough fish and stunning scenery to offer an amazing backcountry angling experience.” 

However, it’s not necessary to mount a full-on expedition to experience fishing; there are plenty of rivers and lakes in the South Island that anglers can drive to and go for a fish that will give you that great scenery and enjoyment of the outdoors. 

“Freshwater fishing has the bonus of getting some great tasting kai for the table as well.” 

The first Saturday in November is the day for anglers in the Canterbury area that the high-country waterways open. 

Canterbury anglers head for the high-country lakes in their droves to fish waterways that, like the ones further south, have been closed to angling to allow fish to spawn undisturbed. 

The Coleridge and Ashburton lakes see an influx of anglers ready for opening weekend, with over 1000 fishing around Lake Coleridge itself. 

Don’t forget that the small lakes, streams and rivers of the Mackenzie Basin are also opening and that there is both roadside access and wilderness experiences to be had there. 

Central South Island Fish & Game Officer Rhys Adams says the easy access and proximity of these waterways to towns and cities mean they are a great outing for families in search of a little bit of adventure. 

” The opening of the high-country unlocks a huge area for anglers to fish in”. 

“The high-country opening has become a huge tradition for many anglers, and it’s easy to see why when you look at the environment you get to fish in.” 

North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer Emily Arthur says the opening of the high-country waterways lets Kiwis explore some of our most pristine environments.   

“It helps New Zealanders appreciate their unique places and highlights why we need to protect these special places, whether that be from the effects of land-use change or remembering to ‘check, clean, dry’ to stop the spread of aquatic pests.”


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