Reel Life February 2024 - West Coast

  • 26/02/2024

Reel Life February 2024 - West Coast

Autumn Fishing Opportunities

Autumn is a fantastic period to get out fishing with good opportunities to target all our sports fish species.

Salmon fishing is very popular in March, with this being your best opportunity to fish South Westland lakes before they close to salmon fishing on the 31st of March.

Staff have recently been to all West Coast lakes to collect water quality data and conditions are looking far more fishing-friendly this Summer.

Earlier this week, the majority of the South Westland lakes were sitting around 17°C at the surface, which is pretty darn good for this time of year.

Above: Lake Mapourkia looked fantastic earlier this week.

Salmon and trout are far more catchable when temperatures are cooler and are not driving the sports fish deeper in search of cold refuge.

Salmon catch reports have been limited so far but with many anglers opting to wait until March to clock up some hours, angler activity has been limited.

With frequent small rainfall events continuing to occur with El Nino conditions we are experiencing, conditions could not be better for targeting salmon.

As for the trout fishing, exceptional fishing has continued right through the summer and will on continue as things cool down in Autumn.

Trout are often in their prime at this time of year after feeding up over the summer and preparing for their upcoming spawn.

Lastly, perch, especially while the lakes are still warm, the fishing is fantastic.

Visiting angler Kevin Bennett enjoying the great lake fishing currently on offer.

Reports have been regularly coming in of them not only being plentiful but some impressive ones also being caught.

When at Kaniere recently you could see several cruising just at the boat ramp, with some good shoreline fishing on offer.

As always, perch are a great option to get the family out with a very high likelihood of success, keeping even those with shorter attention spans interested.

 Field Work Update

Staff have a very busy month in the field zigzagging back and forth from Karamea to Haast.

With staff completing Paradise shelducks moult counts, lake monitoring, salmon compliance, pressure sensitive fisheries and designated waters compliance and surveys.

Staff had the chance to catch up with many anglers while on the road and have encountered very little compliance issues.

Ranger Dan Scoltock carrying out compliance in the Mokihinui Designated Waters Fishery.

There have been some issues raised regarding angling ethics with some anglers not always necessarily putting their best foot forward.

A lot of these issues would be solved by the arriving angler simply talking to the angler already present and ensuring that their intentions don’t jeopardise the fishing of the angler already present.

In lieu of not locating the angler already present, it's best to find another access point that leaves a day's worth of fishing.

We have put signage up on many of our pressure-sensitive fisheries in the hope of trying to reduce conflict and set a base level of what is expected of anglers.

Hope to see you out there!

Baylee Kersten, West Coast fish & Game

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