Reel Life December 2022

  • Central South Island
  • 12/12/2022

Reel Life December 2022

Holiday Season means fishing time!

The holiday season is here, and fishing in the CSI Region has got to rate highly on your to-do list.

Above Right:The summer holidays are a great time to get kids out fishing.

This is the season of leisurely trolling on the Waitaki Lakes; willow grubbing browns on our low country streams; dry fly action in the high-country; scenic sunrises chasing sea-run salmon and trout at the river mouths; soft baiting for super-trout in the canals - the list goes on!

And if your Christmas shopping is not quite complete, why not gift someone a fishing licence and take them fishing?

Click here to buy your licence online and learn more about what licence suits you and your loved ones best.

Alternatively, pop down to your local fishing shop and buy one while you are picking up some new tackle.

RLcsiDEC2 December and January are the best month to target sockeye salmon at Lake Benmore photo J Tritschler

December and January are the best months to target sockeye salmon at Lake Benmore' photo J Tritschler

Four quick fishing ideas for the holiday period

  1. Try night fishing – scout out the area and research the water levels, snags, and hazards beforehand. For rainbows and salmon, try luminescent lures; for brown trout, try dark lures.
  2. Try some advanced spin fishing techniques on fussy brown trout, as detailed in this how-to guide.
  3. Try trolling for sockeye salmon on Lake Benmore – here is a video showing you how-to.
  4. Fish early morning while the water is coolest and the wind is calmest – and then have a siesta in the afternoon – you will deserve it.

Simply spin

It pays not to get caught up in the technical aspects of fishing if you are relatively new to the sport.

Southland Fish & Game put together some videos to show just how simple and easy spin fishing needs to be.

Here’s a video of spin lures that work, and basic spin fishing tips.

Sea Run Salmon Season Bag Limit Card required for Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions

RLcsiDEC4 Summer holiday salmon fishing at the Rangitata River mouth Photo by R Adams

Summer holiday salmon fishing at the Rangitata River mouth-Photo by R Adams

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the 2022/23 sea run salmon regulations for the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game Regions.

For sea run salmon waters, it’s not just a case of grabbing your licence and rod and heading down to the river anymore.

The poor state of our sea-run salmon fishery has led to the introduction of a season bag limit, a sea-run salmon endorsement and a season bag limit card; there are several new rules you need to adhere to.

The season bag limit card and a pen must be carried with you while fishing sea-run salmon waters if you have any intention to catch a sea-run salmon or keep one incidentally caught while trout fishing.

All the information you need to know can be found at our website here, including how to obtain your sea run salmon endorsement and season bag limit card for a $5 charge.

The list of sea-run salmon waters can be found in the first question of our FAQs for sea-run salmon anglers.

Fishing locations and access

RL dec CSI 2 These CSI angler access guides can be found online5

These CSI angler access guides can be found online

If you are new to the Central South Island Fish & Game Region (CSI) or just looking to fish a bit further afield, then you may find our “Fishing locations and access” webpage valuable.

The information covers The Hydro Canal, Ashburton Catchment, Rangitata River, Waitaki River, popular river fisheries, and popular lake fisheries.

For some of these fisheries, a downloadable pdf brochure is available, including a map to aid access.

Click here to visit the CSI fishing locations and access page.

CSI’s Chief Executive Jay Graybill Announces Retirement

The Chief Executive of the Central South Island Fish & Game, Jay Graybill, has announced his retirement after a long career with Fish & Game.

Jay has been in the role since 1991 after the former Acclimatisation Societies were merged to create twelve Fish & Game Regions.

Claire Allison from the Timaru Courier recently met with Jay to report on his announcement and career – click here the read the full story.

Rules and Regulations

What is the bag limit again… can I bait fish here…?

The regulation guide is available online 24-7 at the

Click here to link to the 2022-2023 sports fishing regulations guide – South Island edition.

Check clean dry3Check, Clean and Dry

Invasive aquatic organisms are scattered around New Zealand’s waterways; let’s do our bit to stop them from spreading any further.

For example, lakes Benmore and Aviemore have an infestation of the aquatic weed Lagarosiphon major (oxygen weed), and there is a huge cost to keep it at suppressed levels.

Over One Million dollars gets spent each year to control Lagarosiphon in Benmore and Aviemore for the benefit of recreational users, biodiversity and power generation.

Let’s do our bit to make sure Lagarosiphon doesn’t get transferred to our other iconic lakes like Ōhau, Pūkaki and Takapō/ Tekapo.

There are other nasties out there too, and the only way to ensure none are spread around is to always check, clean and dry before going to a new waterway.

This helpful Check Clean Dry pocket guide gives you great information on how to clean all types of equipment.

Perch Fishing – how-to

RL DEC CSI Lake Hood offer great perch fishing in a family friendly setting Photo Rhys Adams2

Lake Hood offers great perch fishing in a family-friendly setting-Photo Rhys Adams

West Coast Fish & Game had put together this helpful video on how to target perch – a great option for the family over the summer holidays.

Perch can be found in these CSI waterways: Lake Hood near Ashburton; lakes Clearwater, Camp and Lake Emma at the Ashburton Lakes; Saltwater Creek in Timaru; Waihao River Lagoon near Waimate; and Island Stream near Maheno in North Otago.


Summer is nearly here, and there are a few things to remember when you’re out and about near our canals and hydro assets.

  • Remember to park safely, well clear of the roadway and in designated parking areas.
  • The rocks on the edge of the canal are super slippery, and the canals quickly reach a 10M depth. Please be careful.
  • Don’t climb fences around our structures – the fences are there to keep you safe.
  • Take it easy when walking down the side of the canals -it’s easy to slip, fall and break something.
  • Our hydro station’s water intake and discharge areas have fast-flowing aerated water, undercurrents and unpredictable water releases. Please follow the safety information on our safety signs.
RLcsiNOV5 Fences and barriers are erected near power stations to keep you safe from emergency discharges like this pictured2

Fences and barriers are erected near power stations to keep you safe from emergency discharges like this pictured

Enjoy the canals and hydro assets safely over the summer!

Happy fishing!

The Meridian team

Catch and Release with Care

Here are our ‘Quick 5’ tips for handling fish with care:

  • Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.
  • Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.
  • Do not squeeze the fish, and never touch the gills.
  • Photograph the fish in or over the water, and make it quick - the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.
  • Revive the fish facing into the current long enough for it to regain its swimming strength.

In the unfortunate instance that a fish you intended to release does end up bleeding from the gills, so long as you can legally take that fish, you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it.

Tight lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

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