Reel Life August 2023

  • Northland
  • 25/08/2023

Reel Life August 2023

It took only 17 minutes for the first licence to be sold last Thursday when the new season’s licences went on sale at midnight. 

That angler was super keen to stay up late and be the first processed; they also bought a sea-run salmon licence, so well and truly set up for when opening morning dawns on Sunday, October 1. 

You can get your new season licence here

A heap of Designated Waters Licences have also been sold; the Designated Waters system has replaced the Backcountry system and is designed to see Kiwi anglers get a fairer share on some of the waterways that Fish & Game’s research has shown are subject to too much pressure - around two per cent of the country’s rivers. 

The new licence category will help us manage angling pressure by spreading angling effort around so that it isn’t concentrated in certain areas, which detracts from the angling experience and also has the potential to negatively impact the fisheries. 

Over the past ten years, Fish & Game has received increasing complaints from resident and non-resident anglers regarding overcrowding in a small number of fisheries that will now be managed through the Designated Waters Licence. 

Our research and monitoring show that a small percentage of non-resident anglers will intensely fish in a local area, putting pressure on the fishery and displacing other anglers. We’ve implemented this new fisheries management tool to help address that imbalance. 

In some fisheries, angler use has gone from a roughly 50:50 resident-to-non-resident split (in the early 2000s) to an 80:20 split favouring non-resident anglers. In most cases, pressure-sensitive fisheries, now managed through the Designated Waters Licence, share common features. The rivers have very clear water, offer excellent sight fishing, hold large average-size trout, have high scenic value, and are often located in a wilderness or backcountry setting. 

Our team in Nelson Marlborough says they’ve had a stable winter, which has benefitted trout recruitment.  Currently, rivers are looking in great shape, and if this run of weather continues, we should be in for some fantastic fishing come the start of the new season. 

As we enter Spring and the weather warms, the fishing heats up too, and there is some top fishing on offer on waters that are open all year.  Pick a sunny day and prospect some ripples with weighted nymphs – you’ll be in for a treat when you hook some of the energetic fish in these waters. 

Jacob Willets caught this rainbow trout on the opening day of the Upper Tekapo Canal in 2022 photo by R Adams

A reminder from the Central South Island team that the Upper Tekapo Canal opens on 1 September after the three-month winter closure period. 

In the north, the Auckland Waikato team want to remind you to put the Lower Waikato River Comp on your spring calendar. 

The Waikato River has been fishing well, and the cool summer has likely increased the Waikato River brown trout population.  This year’s Lower Waikato River Trout Fishing Contest will be from Thursday, October 12, to Sunday, October 15. For more information, check out the competition web page   

Waikato Check Clean Dry update for power boats           

The big news this winter for Waikato anglers is the introduction of the unwanted organism, the freshwater gold clam, found in the Waikato River from Lake Maraetai (Mangakino) downstream.

There are new guidelines for how to Check, Clean and Dry your boat and gear to ensure you do not spread this or any other invasive species around when you move. 

Golden Clams

CHECK and flick off any visible matter like weed, mud or adult clams at the site. Check around the trailer, prop, and grill. Drain river or lake water, including removing the bung so the bilge water can drain. 

Then CLEAN for invasives that are invisible (e.g. juvenile clams, algae, fish eggs, weed fragments): Blast your boat inside and out with a hose, using tap water and onto grass, beside the waterway or at home, and not into a stormwater drain system. Include a washdown of the water and any other equipment in the boat. 

And, for absorbent materials, which stay wet longer: 

•   Soak in hot water above 60°C for at least 1 minute, or between 50–54°C (hot household tap water) for at least 5 minutes, or above 45°C for at least 20 minutes. OR

•   Mix household bleach in a 10% (1 in 10) ratio with water and immerse for 1 hour. OR

•   Freeze it all until solid (overnight). 

And DRY areas inside the boat where water has pooled with an old towel, then leave the boat to dry to touch, inside and out, and then to completely dry for 48 hours."         

Calling all fly-angling women 

Are you a female angler interested in fly fishing? Maybe you’re just starting or could already be an expert. 

Come along to the Women’s Fly Fishing Forum from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, September 9, at the Queenstown Events Centre. 

Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Corina Jordan will be a guest speaker at the event organised by Wakatipu Anglers Club. 

Other speakers, giveaways, demonstrations, casting clinics, and vendors will be there. 

Dive into Adventure: The New Zealand Fishing, Hunting & 4X4 Expo Fuelled by Parrotdog 

Prepare for an exciting journey at the New Zealand Fishing, Hunting & 4X4 Expo, powered by Parrotdog. From September 15th to 17th, dive into the action at Rotorua's Distinction Hotel. This event offers indoor and outdoor spaces, ensuring a dynamic adventure for all.

Going beyond the usual expo, this event seamlessly combines fishing, hunting, and 4x4 passions. Connect with fellow enthusiasts, swap stories, and explore cutting-edge gear. With an entry fee of just $5 per person or $10 for families, a portion goes towards supporting Eastern Fish and Game's conservation efforts. 

Managed by Intrinsic Events in harmony with Eastern Fish and Game's values, this expo celebrates the great outdoors. Enjoy hands-on workshops that ignite your passion for adventure. Don't miss the Parrotdog Brewery Lounge, a perfect spot to unwind and share your experiences. 

Embrace the excitement of adventure while contributing to conservation. Join us in Rotorua for a weekend that blends modern excitement with Eastern Fish and Game's dedication. Don't miss the New Zealand Fishing, Hunting & 4X4 Expo fueled by Parrotdog, where adventure and conservation seamlessly unite, both indoors and outdoors.

NZ Trout Festival 16 September 2023 

Back bigger than ever – The 2023 NZ Trout Festival returns on 16 September at the Groynes Reserve and Clearwater Resort, Christchurch. 

Canterbury Fly Fishing Club and North Canterbury Fish & Game have combined to put on the third annual NZ Trout Festival. 

Registration is essential; it's free, plus you’ll go in the midday draw to win one of two days of fishing with Fishing Guide Kristina Placko (worth $950 each). 

A big thanks to our sponsors, especially Hunting & Fishing (Tower Junction) and Epic Fly Rods. 

Special guest this year is Brian Henderson, a master casting instructor from Australia, with us courtesy of Epic Fly Rods. 

Check out the Fly Fishing Film Tour 

Kicking off on September 7 in Greymouth, the tour winds its way around the country, visiting 12 towns and cities in the lead-up to Opening Day.  

Learn more here

Fish & Game Magazine – in your letterbox soon 

If you purchased a Whole Season or Family Season Licence in 2022-23, a copy of Fish & Game NZ Magazine will shortly arrive in your mailbox. 

For past issues, you can check out our website here 

NZ Federation Of Freshwater Anglers Plea

Rakaia River Water Conservation Order Proceedings   

The NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers, along with North Canterbury Fish & Game, the Environmental Defence Society and the NZ Salmon Anglers Association, have filed counter-declarations – that ECan is responsible for monitoring adherence to the Rakaia River WCO.  

The NZFFA believe the Rakaia Water Conservation Order (WCO) requirements are not being met. 

This is a court case of national significance, Our members have generously donated funds to our case, as have the NZFFA executive, and we have procured some seed funding from the Ministry for the Environment.  However, it is not nearly enough. 

The NZFFA asks anglers to donate whatever they deem appropriate towards our legal costs.  If we fail to raise enough funds, we lose the opportunity to fight for our rivers on behalf of all anglers - Please donate to our bank account 02-0524-0112601-000. 

We will keep you all regularly informed of progress and developments - only with your help can we continue.  All monies go to our legal counsel as all NZFFA time and effort is given freely and voluntarily. 


One of our supporters is doing an anonymous brand survey; they are keen for hunters to let them know what brands they use and what outdoor activities they do. 

Click here to complete the survey and go in the draw for a $200 Prezzy card.




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