Reel Life February 2021

  • West Coast
  • 17/02/2021

Reel Life February 2021

Autumn angling opportunities

With the temperature starting to cool off after a warm summer and fish trying to pack on condition before spawning, it's a great time to be out fishing.

I’d even go as far as to say that Autumn is the best season for angling.

Right:JesseVan 'T Hul with her first perch caught in Lake Mahinapua. (Photo Luken Bisley)

March is typically the best month to target salmon on the West Coast, especially in the South Westland lakes.

Anglers fishing the lakes recently have reported tough conditions with the warm water temperature, so be sure to avoid mid-day fishing if possible.

Your best bet is to go out after heavy rain with there being plenty of cold water and food for trout entering the lake.

With Perch being readily available and a great table fish they have continued to be a popular option for families and new anglers this season.

Salmon: Fresh from the sea

In the past few weeks, quite a few salmon have been caught locally.

Now is the time to be out targeting them.

Salmon spawning

High numbers of salmon spawning in winter 2020

We've had a good fresh last week and as flows drop back again from this expect increased numbers of fresh silver sea-run fish in the rivers.

It looks like some good rain is coming next week also, ideal for keeping the salmon coming.

Same goes for the South Westland lakes with them typically fishing best after some wet weather.

Last season a lot of catchments spawning counts were above average with counts of over 200 salmon down south.

Given last year's solid run and the size of fish turning up over the hill, it appears sea conditions have been favourable, so we are expecting good numbers of large salmon this season.

Reports are that there is plenty of lake salmon getting caught also so that should keep you occupied between the big sea runners.

March is your last month for the South Westland lakes so be sure to get out whenever you can.

Fishing Competitions


Fish & Game Officers Glen Newton (left) and Baylee Kersten electric fishing at one of the research sites. (Photo Harrison Calder)

The South Westland Lions Mapourika Salmon Competition is coming up; it will be held on the 5th and 7th of March.

The Ahaura Hunting and Fishing Competition will be held during the Easter break, from April 1st to April 4th.

Both competitions are good community-based events with an emphasis on getting young anglers involved.

Field Work Update

Staff conducted their second electric fish in the Mawheraiti research streams at the end of January.

The combination of a high number of good condition spawners and a stable winter has resulted in a very successful recruitment year.

Drift dives are now completed so keep your eye out for that report.

Reports can be found here on our website following their presentation at a council meeting.


No shortage of trout! (Photo Baylee Kersten)

The last dives were in our backcountry fisheries; the Mokihinui and Karamea, we were far from disappointed!

With the fisheries in great shape, it is a great chance to go exploring but be sure not to forget to grab yourself a backcountry endorsement before heading into the backcountry fisheries.

If you catch a salmon, especially if its fin-clipped or caught in the Buller River, please notify us at West Coast Fish & Game to help us better understand our fisheries.

Tight Lines

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.

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