Reel Life December 2022

  • North Canterbury
  • 12/12/2022

Reel Life December 2022

Christmas fishing options

North Canterbury has loads of Christmas fishing options for those looking for a holiday fishing mission.

Our big rivers have seen plenty of water lately, and this has put them in good condition for the summer break.


North Canterbury has some great options for fishing this holiday season.

The high country lakes are also looking good, plus they are close to the city and offer a sure bet if the rivers are up and unfishable.

Our high country rivers are also looking in great shape and are often overlooked by many anglers, but if you want to experience the ultimate in New Zealand backcountry fishery experiences, then look no further than what North Canterbury has to offer.

No need to drive for hours south when we have some awesome fisheries like the Lewis Pass, Lees valley, and the upper Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers.

Close to Christchurch, we have lots of small stream options to test those anglers who can't go too far from home over the holiday break.

Over the last couple of weeks, we've been out undertaking electric fishing training and have been astounded by the numbers, size, and activity of fish during the middle of the day in some of these streams.

Canterbury anglers really have some hidden secrets on offer, which get unlocked when you have a look through the regulations booklet.

Be adventurous and go have a look - you won't be disappointed.



Salmon anglers plan how they will attack this hole; two fish were caught from this site in less than an hour.

In the last couple of weeks, there's been a lot of excitement about salmon; as soon as the Rakaia River became fishable, salmon started getting caught.

We've been seeing the results of quite a few successful anglers' efforts in the Rakaia, and it all bodes well for the coming weeks ahead.

It's even attracted a bit of national media coverage.

Don't forget you need a sea-run salmon endorsement to fish for sea-run salmon, and make sure you carry a pen to fill your harvest card out immediately after you decide to harvest a salmon.

We've already had our first completed harvest card handed into Fish & Game on December 8 after a very successful couple of days for one angler.

Lake Sumner Ranging Trip


Richard Sinke, far right, has his Fishing Licence checked by Fish & Game Rangers Caleb Ryder, left, and Matthew Garrick, while his fishing companion Mike Menolascino looks on before they launch the boat into Loch Katrine.

Anglers in the Lake Sumner area were visited by Fish & Game Rangers, who were out in force over three days recently.

Lake Sumner area is a premier fishing location in the North Canterbury region, so we try and check on compliance several times a season.

The fishery is one of the more remote parts of the region, so the anglers were harder to get to, but by using boats and regular vehicle patrolling with a bigger team, we were able to contact over 30 anglers over the weekend.

We visited the rivers surrounding Lake Sumner, Taylor and Loch Katrine and walked into some of the more remote areas

Though we haven’t targeted the area with as many Rangers in the past, the results from the weekend mean that we will replicate this technique combined with several lower-key visits over the summer.

The anglers reported plentiful numbers of fish in excellent condition.

MikeMenolascinofrom Jackson Hole in Wyoming was fishing with Cantabrian Richard Sinke and raved about the condition of the fish in the upper Hurunui River.

Over five trophy-sized fish were caught and released by Menolascino in one day.


Richard Ballantyne tries to catch trout feasting on insects (black silhouette on the left-hand edge of frame) on the lake edge of Lake Taylor.

For a short time on one morning, anglers at Lake Taylor were treated to a unique sight where around 20 trout had a feeding frenzy in the shallows as the strong nor wester wind forced insects onto the water for the trout to eat.

Canterbury anglers Richard Ballantyne and Martin Boyce battled these winds to try and catch one of the fish that were only a few metres off the lake edge.

The only offences detected were a couple of anglers not carrying their licences on them; it is a requirement for anglers to have their licence on them when fishing.

Merry Christmas to all our anglers from the team here at North Canterbury Fish & Game.

Tight lines

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game

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