Reel Life March 2023

  • Central South Island
  • 15/03/2023

Reel Life March 2023

Outlook for April

April is the last month of the main “summer season” and with Easter and ANZAC holidays to utilise there is plenty of time left to get out on your local or high-country waters before the “summer season” wraps up on April 30th.

Winter is just around the corner so why not get out on the water right now while mild autumn conditions allow – this is especially important for young and old who are prone to cold fingers and toes.

Above Right:April is a great time to get the kids out fishing in the mild autumn conditions-photo by Rhys Adams

Sea-run salmon anglers should be aware that the implementation of the season bag limit has allowed sea-run salmon fishing to return to some waters of the Central South Island Region for the month of April.

For example, the “lower half” of the Waitaki River remains open for sea-run salmon fishing for April.

The lower half is that part of the river between the sea and the powerlines that cross the river between Bortons Pond on the South and Stonewall on the North.

Be sure to check out the regulation guide first-hand online here, and if in doubt contact a Fish & Game staff member for advice phone: 03 615 8400 or email

For fly anglers, April can provide excellent mayfly hatches but be sure to carry a range of flies of varying size and colour as matching the hatch can be critical.

April is also a pre-spawning time for brown trout, and they can start to get aggressive and chase each other around – in this case swinging a bead head woolly bugger, or similar could get their attention the bite.

April often heralds the last trip out on the boat for the season, especially for those who pack up their campsites at the Waitaki Lakes over Easter or ANZAC holidays.

Our advice is just to stick to your favourite trolling spots and enjoy the crisp autumn air and the well-condition trout.

We do hope you enjoy your time on the water this April and if you are looking for access info or some ideas of a new spot to try then check out our fishing locations and access info page here.

April is the first month that our Winter Licence is available – if you need a fishing licence, winter licences may fit your needs — they’re on sale from 1 April.

Sea Run Salmon Season Bag Limit Card must be returned by May 7

RLcsiJAN2 Sea run salmon anglers must carry a fishing licence season bag card and a pen to be able to adhere to the regulations Credit Rhys Adams

Sea-run salmon anglers must carry a fishing licence, season bag limit card and a pen to be able to adhere to the regulations' Credit Rhys Adams

The current 2022/23 sports fishing season is the second-ever season with a sea-run salmon season bag limit in place across the waters of the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game regions.

All anglers who target sea-run salmon or intend to keep a sea-run salmon caught while targeting other species must obtain a sea-run salmon season bag card.

Catch details of any sea-run salmon kept must be recorded on the season bag card immediately, that means there and then on the riverbank without undue delay.

Be sure to always carry your season bag and a pen – failure to produce your season bag limit card to a Fish & Game ranger and failure to immediately record your salmon kept are offences.

All holders of a sea-run salmon season bag limit card must return the card to Fish & Game by May 7, even if the cardholder did not go fishing or keep any salmon.

Returning your card details via ouronline return form here is quick and easy.

Canal Angler survey

RLcsi3 A Fish Game Ranger on duty at the Ohau B Canal

A Fish & Game Ranger on duty at the Ohau B Canal

Over the length of the 2022/23 fishing season, our staff rangers are undertaking a survey while on licence and regulation checking duties.

The survey is all about proactively gathering information about canal anglers’ fishing activity and values – this information will support the management of the canal fishery.

For example, from time to time, a small number of anglers have commented they would like to see bait fishing removed from the permitted methods at the canals.

To gather more information on the impact method-based regulations changes could make to anglers, the survey asks, “What methods do anglers use at the canals?”

Our preliminary survey data to date, spanning October 2022 to February 2023 only, indicates that over 80% of canal anglers interviewed fish with bait at the canals, including those that fish with bait solely and those that use bait and other methods too.

Data like this suggests that any possible changes to the bait fishing regulations at the canals would impact thousands of anglers.

The survey continues through to September 2023.

Tight lines!

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer

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