Reel Life January 2021

  • West Coast
  • 20/01/2021
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life January 2021

Summer angling opportunities

Confirmed reports of salmon being caught and cicadas out in high numbers, 2021 sure is off to a great start!

There has been confirmed catches of salmon around central West Coast area and its more than likely they are being caught in South Westland we just haven’t heard about it yet.

Right: Baylee and Harrison Kersten with a perch caught in LakeMahinapua. (Photo Georgia Kersten)

The main run usually enters the river around mid-February so its very promising to see salmon arriving already.

As for the trout fishing, with insect activity high and water temperatures optimal, anglers are reporting high angling success.

Although clear rivers can make for great sight fishing, trout can be spooky so try going out after a fresh if you’re finding the fishing tough.

Perch have also been a popular choice this summer, with families being seen targeting them with great success particularly in lakes Kaniere and Mahinapua.

Perch are a great fish to target with young kids as they are typically readily catchable in summer.

Your best to cast in around structure and slowly retrieve when targeting perch.


The Buller River lower reaches looking fantastic. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

Rivers & Lakes in Top Shape

As mentioned above fishing conditions are ideal, especially following this wet snap topping up our waterbodies and ensuring they don’t get too warm.

Compliance has seen a few anglers over Christmas, but a lot were fishing easily accessible locations with high fish densities.

Therefore, the fishing pressure is still relatively light and gives kiwis twice the reason to get out exploring.

With trout receiving little pressure and high numbers of cicadas about, the surface fishing action should be full on!

Spin anglers don’t forget using a bubble and fly combo if you too want to get amongst the excitement.

Salmon also will have appreciated the recent rain event, encouraging them into our rivers and lakes early.

Field Work Update


Russel Pilcher fishing on Lake Brunner during the Christmas Break. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

Over Christmas break compliance rounds were completed with no offences detected. It was very pleasing to see so many anglers out making the most of the great weather.

Drift dives are still underway and in recent dives have seen both some exceptionally large trout but also good numbers of small trout.

Staff recently met with the walking access commission to discuss access issues. If you have experienced any fishing access issues, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

If you catch a salmon, especially if its fin clipped or caught in the Buller River, please notify us at West Coast Fish & Game.

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.

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