Reel Life January 2023

  • Central South Island
  • 24/01/2023

Reel Life January 2023

February means summer-style fishing!

The Christmas holidays are behind us, but we can still make good use of the weekends and Waitangi Day.

February is the classic “summertime” fishing month and brings with it favourite fishing adventures like cicada fishing at high country tarns and salmon fishing in the surf.

It can get too hot, though, so it pays to be flexible and to start fishing early in the morning on days forecast to get hot and sticky — siesta or swim in the afternoons.

Don’t forget to slip-slop-slap and wrap too – NZ’s sun can be seriously sizzling.

Sun gloves and neck and face gaiters are products well worth checking out if you spend long hours fishing in the sun.

Above Right: February is a great month for fly fishing at high country tarns-photo by Rhys Adams.

Weekly Fishing Reports

If you enjoy reading this Reel Life newsletter, guess what, it gets better.

We join forces with North Canterbury Fish & Game to produce the ‘weekly fishing report’ every Thursday afternoon from October till April.

To sign-up visit our website here.

Recent editions of the weekly report can be viewed here.

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

RLcsiJAN2 Sea run salmon fishing requires you to carry your licence season bag card and a pen Credit Rhys Adams

Sea run salmon fishing requires you to carry your licence, season bag card and a pen-Photo Rhys Adams

The sea-run salmon season is in full swing with a few nice fish reported from the Rangitata and Opihi rivers.

The Waitaki River is a late starter traditionally, we anticipate the first of the salmon runs will come through in February.

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the 2022/23 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 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 and a pen 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 targeting other species like trout or kahawai.

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, for a $5 charge.

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

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 2022-2023 sports fishing regulations guide – South Island edition.

Catch and Release with Care

RLcsiJAN3 laying your fish in the water makes for a nice photo and means you dont have to remove the fish from the water a great option for summertime catch and release photo R Adams

laying your fish in the water makes for a nice photo and means you don’t have to remove the fish from the water – a great option for summertime catch and release-photo R Adams

Careful catch and release is critical during the height of summer as high water temperature can make it more difficult for a fish to recover after the fight.

Here’s our ‘Quick 5’ tips for handling fish with care:

  • Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.
  • Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.
  • Do not squeeze the fish and never touch the gills.
  • Photograph the fish in or over the water and make it quick - the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.
  • Revive the fish facing into the current long enough for it to regain its swimming strength.

In the unfortunate instance that a fish you intended to release does end up bleeding from the gills or is unable to recover its swimming strength, so long as you can legally take that fish, you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it.

Tight lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

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