Wild weather & water worries ahead of the new South Island fishing season

  • 29/09/2015

Get out and make the most of favourable conditions early in the new fishing season in the South Island, is the advice from Fish & Game ahead of the 1 October opening.

ASHLEY SEPT 15Pictured right: Fishing the Ashley River...great for sea run brown trout.

“The forecast El Nino is strengthening in the Pacific Ocean and this will impact weather patterns and fisheries across the South Island,” says Andrew Currie, Fish & Game’s South Island Communications Advisor.

Mr Currie says spring will potentially see strong south-westerly fronts, with cold and wet conditions in the south, followed by a hot dry summer across the eastern seaboard.

“The fish will still be there, so take advantage of settled periods through spring and target the stable flows and sheltered spots on the island’s larger lakes; that’s the best advice I can give anglers.”

The West Coast is expecting more intense weather events than usual throughout the season, but as the whitebait season peaks, anglers are encouraged to target the abundance of good-sized great condition sea run trout.

“We are already hearing stories of massive fish being taken in the coastal waterways,” says Mr Currie.

“Fish & Game are also expecting good salmon returns on the West Coast, as the region’s ongoing salmon enhancement programme bears fruit.”

The salmon run will also be on the minds of anglers on the eastern side of the Alps, with some anglers believing the El Nino-associated warmer sea temperatures will result in larger fish, as the tepid waters provide a plentiful food source.

Across on the east coast, a key concern for anglers is going to be falling river levels as the summer heats up and levels drop.

“Rivers like Marlborough’s Wairau, which was a standout fishery last season and had a great spawning run, could, like many waterways become unfishable later in the season,” Mr Currie says.

Canterbury waterways should see at least a temporary respite from a snow melt this year, but with the lack of rain over winter to recharge ground water aquifers, the likes of the Selwyn River have been disconnected all winter.

“The result has been is a very murky weedy lower Selwyn, which is far from ideal ahead of the new season. You can basically expect a lot of lowland streams to run dry very early this year, which will mean our salvage teams will be stretched as they rescue stranded fish.”

Despite challenging conditions for both fish and angler, Fish & Game is expecting a great start to the season.

“Getting out has never been easier with the introduction of four new licence categories, providing more flexibility for anglers. And if targeting sports fish was ever that easy, fishing wouldn’t be as appealing,” Mr Currie adds.

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