Ōhau River Spring Season ballots to open on 15 July

  • Central South Island
  • 8/07/2022
  • Richie Cosgrove

Ōhau River Spring Season ballots to open on 15 July

Central South Island Fish & Game (CSIFG) has set up a ballot system (lottery) to limit angler numbers at the Ōhau River between lakes Ōhau and Ruataniwha.

Limiting angler numbers on the Ōhau River will maintain the high-country fishery aesthetics during the increasingly popular September and October “Spring Season.”

Three separate ballot draws will be held to ensure that the limited number of highly sought-after controlled period licences are issued randomly and fairly to anglers.

Controlled period licences enable anglers to fish for a specified 2–3-day fishing allocation only.

Above: Lance Gill caught this stunning rainbow trout during the 2021 Spring Season on the Ōhau River.

Fishing the Ōhau River without a valid controlled period licence is a criminal offence and will be enforced.

The Ōhau River Spring Season offers a one-of-a-kind high-country trophy trout fishery that opens two months earlier than traditional high-country river fisheries.

The Ōhau River was formerly a regionally significant trout fishery before being dewatered during the construction of the Waitaki hydroelectricity scheme in the 1980s. Its productive summertime fishery never returned after controlled flows were reinstated to provide a recreational fishery.

The Spring Season returns a prized fishery to the Ōhau River by allowing anglers to access the later part of the rainbow trout spawning run.

Spawning surveys undertaken by CSIFG have revealed that all brown trout and two-thirds of rainbow trout spawning is completed by early September and that spawning during September and October is unlikely to add appreciably to annual spawning production.

The long-term sustainability of the Ōhau River and its interconnected trout fisheries are supported by CSIFG with the help of Meridian Energy.

Creating artificial gravel spawning beds provides a significant addition to the poor spawning habitat naturally available.

Annual spawning surveys of both redds (egg nests) and numbers of spawning trout provide information on spawning effort and the spawning population, while Spring Season angling surveys will monitor angler catch and harvest.

Entries for the first of three ballots open on 15 July and close on 1 August, for more information and to access the online ballot entry form, click here.

Resources: Link to Ōhau River controlled backcountry fishery website – click here

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