Reel Life April 2022

  • Nelson/Marlborough
  • 22/03/2022

Reel Life April 2022


With fuel prices at an all-time high and not looking like they'll be dropping in a hurry, it may be in your best interest to fish local this month.

No matter where you live in this region, you are likely close to one of our valued lowland fisheries.

Staff have been out and about in recent weeks and have noted how great our 'close to home' rivers are looking – they are low and clear, and with the fine weather we've been having, they are at premium daytime temperatures.

The fish are making the most of the stable flows and are focused on stacking on condition by feasting on the still abundant insect life that March and April provide.

The Motueka, in particular, has been fishing very well, with trout stacked into riffles and in prime condition (see recent drift dive results below).

Often, over the Autumn months, trout lose some of their wariness that builds up over the summer period and can be very catchable indeed.

However, the regular season is all too quickly drawing to a close, and soon we'll be dreaming of the months that have passed, so get out there and make the most of it.

Above right: The Motueka has been fishing well, and trout are in top condition.


Every year your elected Councillors discuss and implement proposed changes to the sports fishing regulations, and they will be doing this again for the next 2022-23 fishing season shortly.

Here is your chance to have your say. If you have any suggestions or recommended changes you would like discussed or have any comments to make on the current regulations, please email the Nelson Office by 15 April (


Excellent news for anglers wanting to access Molesworth, where some great fishing awaits among some of Aotearoa's finest high-country scenery. Rainbow Rd will be open on selected weekends over the next month and more.

Subject to weather conditions and the roading contractors' work schedule, Rainbow Road is scheduled to be open for travel between St Arnaud and Hanmer (and vice versa):

26 & 27 March (Saturday and Sunday)

2 & 3 April (Saturday and Sunday)

9 & 10 April (Saturday and Sunday)

15 - 25 April (Easter Friday to ANZAC Day). 25 April is the last day that the road is scheduled to be open for this season


Drift Dives mot2The Motueka trout population fared much better than expected in the wake of the July flood.

Despite the once in a generation July flood in the Motueka catchment, trout have fared much better than expected, as seen by our recent drift dive of the main-stem Motueka.

Our recent annual census of the Motueka over five sites (5.8km total) revealed a count remarkably similar to the previous year, with a slightly lower count of large fish.

Still, the medium and small cohort is similar to the previous year, showing just how resilient brown trout are in the wake of large-scale flood events.

All divers noted how great the condition of the 'large cohort' of fish were, with several fish seen in the vicinity of 8-9lbs.

Staff have also recently dived the Branch/Leatham and Riuwaka Rivers. You can see the results of this in our annual fisheries report, which will be out later in the year.


Due to delays to the construction works at the Lake Argyle hydro intake, there will be no flow coming into the Lake for several weeks yet.

As a result, the Lake has been retained at a high level.

However, it can sometimes be turbid due to rain events bringing in dirty water from side creeks entering the Lake and upper canal.

With no flushing flows, the Lake can also stay discoloured for longer than normal periods. The lower canal has been lowered and is out of action while works take place.

Water temperatures are cooling down coming into Autumn, so the fish have not been too stressed during the recent shutdown period, though the lack of flow may affect the fishing.

Regardless, we have just released a tanker load of fine rainbow trout into the Lake, so happy fishing!

Tight Lines

Jacob Lucas, Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game Officer

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