Reel Life February 2024 - North Canterbury

  • North Canterbury
  • 26/02/2024

Reel Life February 2024 - North Canterbury

Have you ever fished the Designated Waters in North Canterbury before?

This is the first year where we have brought in this new system onto some of our back country rivers.

Its main objective is to displace non-resident anglers and get them to fish other waters, so everyone gets a good experience when they fish these rivers.

It also means the fish themselves don’t get as stressed and can stay out feeding for longer.

The rivers in our region that are classed as Designated Waters are the Upper Waiau, Lewis Pass Fishery (This includes the Hope, Doubtful, Boyle, Lewis, and Nina rivers) and the Hurunui North and South Branches.

For more information on these rivers check out the link below.

To fish these rivers you do require an additional licence which for a resident costs $5 per region and resident anglers can fish these rivers as much as they want throughout the season.

For non-resident anglers, they will have to purchase a whole-season non-resident licence and an additional $40 designated waters day licence and they can only fish these rivers for a maximum of five days per season per region.

They have to fish either rivers or lakes that aren’t a Designated Water or fish in another region's Designated Waters which the same rules apply.

For more information on the licence process check out the link below.

While these fish are challenging to catch, it means that you must be on you’re A game.

Make the most of every opportunity, as you tend to only get one or two chances at these fish before they either spook off or they simply just stop feeding and will ignore everything that you put in front of them.

There are still two months of the season to go so I’d suggest getting yourself a Designated Waters Licence and making the most of it as from now until the end of the season is a great time of year to target these back country rivers.


Over the past month, the team at North Canterbury and our Honorary Rangers have been out and about throughout the region checking licences.

Some anglers are very surprised to see us in certain locations, and most have been great at producing their licences, making it very easy for us.

Below is a table of the various locations that we have visited.













While we haven’t visited as many areas as in previous months, we have spent more time in the areas listed above.

Tight Lines 

Harry Graham-Samson, North Canterbury Fish & Game

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