Reel Life April 2022

  • North Canterbury
  • 22/03/2022

Reel Life April 2022

This is the last Reel Life until September! We'll still be putting out weekly fishing reports until the end of April, so if you want to hear more about the fishing in our region until then you can sign up at

With our salmon rivers being clear for the past two weeks, it has been a great opportunity for anglers to get amongst it.

The Rakaia has still been fishing well but is now starting to slow down.

In contrast, the Waimakariri is starting to fire up as the fish tend to run later than the Rakaia.

Remember, the sea-run salmon season has been extended this year, and you still have until the 30th of April.

So make the most of the clear rivers over the next month!

Over the past month, we haven't heard much about how the Hurunui or Waiau rivers have been fishing, but I am sure they will fish well if you explore them and find some nice pools.

The high country weather has been pretty good for anglers to have a great opportunity, from targeting trophy trout to trolling the lakes with the family.

Most of the spring creeks are now closed for the season, with salmon spawning starting to ramp up, but plenty of other rivers and lakes are open until the 30th of April.

With the close of the sea-run salmon fishery, don't forget you can still get your chinook salmon fix in some of our winter fisheries.

Lake Coleridge is our most popular lake and has good numbers of landlocked chinook salmon.

Lake Sumner and Loch Katrine also hold salmon populations, but these lakes have maximum size restrictions.

There are also some excellent winter trout fishing opportunities in our high country lakes.

The fish will start to congregate around the river mouths, so whether you are casting wet flies or lures, these areas are a hot spot for trout getting ready to run up for spawning.

Check your regulations booklet to see which lakes and lowland rivers can be fished over winter, and note the different regulations for each area.

Salmon Spawning Counts

Every year our staff undertake several salmon spawning counts in the headwaters of our main salmon rivers.

We've kicked these off in the last few weeks, starting with the Rakaia catchment, as the salmon tend to run earlier here.

Above Right: We've circled the salmon schooling up to enter an upper Rakaia spawning stream.

We will do four more counts for the Rakaia, two weeks apart.

These spawning counts give us an excellent opportunity to see how many salmon are returning to their spawning waters.

We use the information from collective years to help set regulations.

This helps maintain the sustainability of the wild salmon resource so it will be present for generations to come.

Angler Etiquette

While the season is coming to an end for a majority of our rivers and lakes, we want to encourage anglers to reflect on their etiquette on the water.

This is very important to us as it will be to you, as it means everyone can have the opportunity of having a great day out fishing without frustration.

Whether you're in the backcountry or at the river mouth, the last thing we want to see is inconsiderate behaviour; anglers claiming someone is in "their spot", pushing past other anglers to get to a spot first, or cutting/jumping in front of other anglers on the rivers and disturbing fish that the initial angler would eventually reach.

If you're not the first one there, the best thing to do is politely approach any anglers that are on the river before you and have a discussion on what your plans are for the day and how you can co-operate so that everyone gets a clean beat/run on the river.

You can leave a note on your vehicle saying whether you are fishing upstream or downstream (we even have dedicated cards for this you can pick up from our office).

This is a good way to notify other anglers straight away where you are going so they don't interrupt your days fishing and can head in a different direction. Also of issue is cutting across private land without permission.

This can frustrate private landowners as anglers can have an adverse effect on their land.

We don't want to give ourselves as anglers a bad name, and we certainly don't want issues with access due to consistently poor angler etiquette.

Check out the Walking Access NZ Hunting & Fishing maps, as it provides a great overview of walking access around the country.

Tight Lines

The team at North Canterbury Fish & Game.

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