Reel Life January 2022

  • Central South Island
  • 8/12/2021

Reel Life January 2022

Holiday Season means fishing time!

The holiday season is here and fishing in the CSI Region has got to rate highly on your to-do list.

This is the season of: leisurely trolling on the Waitaki lakes; willow grubbing browns on our low country streams; dry fly action in the high-country; scenic sunrises chasing sea-run salmon and trout at the river mouths; soft baiting for super-trout in the canals - the list goes on!

And if your Christmas shopping is not quite complete, why not buy someone a fishing licence and take them fishing!

Click here to buy your licence online and learn more about what licence suits you and your loved ones best.

Alternatively, pop down to your local fishing shop and buy one while you are picking up some new tackle.

Right: Trolling on Lake Benmore is a favourite holiday activity for hundreds of anglers – Photo Richie Cosgrove

Four quick fishing ideas for the holiday period

  1. Try night fishing – scout out the area and research the water levels, snags and hazards beforehand. For rainbows and salmon try luminescent lures, for brown trout try dark lures.
  2. Try some advanced spin fishing techniques on fussy brown trout as detailed in this how-to guide.
  3. Try trolling for sockeye salmon on Lake Benmore – here a video showing you how-to.
  4. Fish early morning while the water is coolest and the wind is calmest – and then have a siesta in the afternoon – you will deserve it.

Sea Run Salmon Season Bag Limit Card required for Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions

Pic RL dec CSI 4 A scenic sunrise for salmon anglers to enjoy at the Rangitata River mouth Credit R Adams2

A scenic sunrise for salmon anglers to enjoy at the Rangitata River mouth

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the 2021/22 sea run salmon regulations for the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game Regions.

For sea run salmon waters, it’s not just a case of grabbing your licence and rod and heading down to the river anymore.

The poor current state of our sea run salmon fishery has led to the introduction of a season bag limit, a sea run salmon endorsement and season bag limit card; there are several new rules you need to adhere to.

The season bag limit card must be carried with you while fishing sea run salmon waters if you have any intention to catch a sea run salmon or keep one incidentally caught while trout fishing.

All the information you need to know can be found at our website here including how to obtain your sea run salmon endorsement and season bag limit card, free of charge.

The list of sea run salmon waters can be found in the first question of our FAQ’s for sea run salmon anglers.

If you need any clarification of the new regulations, please contact our Temuka Office: phone 03 6158400, email

Fishing locations and access

RL dec CSI 2 These CSI angler access guides can be found online2

These CSI angler access guides can be found online.

If you are new to the Central South Island Fish & Game Region (CSI) or just looking to fish a bit further afield then you may find our “Fishing locations and access” webpage valuable.

The information covers: Ashburton Catchment, Rangitata River, Waitaki River, popular river fisheries, popular lake fisheries and the hydro canals.

For some of these fisheries a downloadable pdf brochure is available including a map to aid access.

Click here to visit the CSI fishing locations and access page.

Rules and Regulations

What is the bag limit again… can I bait fish here…?

The regulation guide is available online 24-7 at the

Click here to link to the 2021-2022 sports fishing regulations guide – South Island edition.

Simply spin

Not everybody is a seasoned-pro and it pays not to get caught up in the technical aspects of fishing if you are relatively new to the sport.

Southland Fish & Game put together some videos to show just how simple and easy spin fishing needs to be.

Here’s a video of spin lures that work, and basic spin fishing tips.

Perch Fishing – how-to

RL DEC CSI Lake Hood offer great perch fishing in a family friendly setting Photo Rhys Adams

Insert: RL DEC CSI 'Lake Hood offer great perch fishing in a family friendly setting - Photo Rhys Adams

West Coast Fish & Game had put together this helpful video on how to target perch – a great option for the family over the summer holidays.

Perch can be found in these CSI waterways: Lake Hood near Ashburton; lakes Clearwater, Camp and Lake Emma at the Ashburton Lakes; Saltwater Creek in Timaru; Waihao River Lagoon near Waimate; and Island Stream near Maheno in North Otago.

Tekapo River spill flow advisory

Genesis Energy are currently spilling water to the Tekapo River via the Lake George Scott Weir.

Spilling is likely to occur over the holiday season.

Tekapo River flows may rise rapidly during spilling and all river users are urged to take extreme caution to avoid rising river flows.

Spill flows can be viewed at the Genesis website here.

Tekapo River flows in the lower river, downstream of the Mary Burn confluence, can be view on the ECan website here.”

Check, Clean and Dry

Check clean dry

Invasive aquatic organisms are scattered around New Zealand’s waterways, let’s do our bit to stop them spreading any further.

For example, lakes Benmore and Aviemore have an infestation the aquatic weed Lagarosiphon major (oxygen weed) and there is a huge cost to keep it at suppressed levels.

Over 1 Million dollars gets spent each year to control Lagarosiphon in Benmore and Aviemore for the benefit of recreational users, biodiversity and power generation.

Let’s do our bit to make sure Lagarosiphon doesn’t get transferred to our other iconic lakes like Ohau, Pukaki and Tekapo.

There are other nasties out there too, and the only way to ensure none are spread around is to always check, clean and dry before going to a new waterway.

This helpful Check Clean Dry pocket guide gives you great information on how to clean all types of equipment.

Kick back, relax and read – a Fish & Game project report

RL csi Dec 5 Find out how many anglers fish the upper Tekapo Canal fishery and what they catch in our online project report photo Rhys Adams2

Find out how many anglers fish the upper Tekapo Canal fishery and what they catch in our online project report

If the Nor Wester cuts up rough or you just need a day out of the sun, how about relaxing and reading a Fish & Game project report.

If the follow statements or questions spark your interest then click on the link that follows to access the associated project report.

  • More big fish and lots of satisfied anglers ahead of the winter closure of the upper Tekapo Canal!

Find out more in this Tekapo Canal angler catch survey report here.

  • Why is the upper Ohau River Spring Season a one-of-a-kind trophy fishery?

Find out why in this upper Ohau River Spring Season management report here.

Tight lines

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer

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