Reel Life March 2023

  • North Canterbury
  • 15/03/2023

Reel Life March 2023

April is awesome for fishing in North Canterbury, it's the goldilocks zone, not too hot, not too dry just right for both the fish and anglers.

There are loads of opportunities for fishing our rivers and lakes throughout the region.

For those looking for the backcountry experience, our high country rivers are open till the end of April but remember that the Broken River is open till the end of May.

One fishery that hasn't had much angler activity lately is the Lake Sumner area; the access road (Lake Sumner Road) was washed out in three places and was shut for repairs for a long period.

The road is being reopened at weekends for four-wheel-drive access only, but all of the lakes have seen very little angler activity since January so would be definitely worth a visit by anglers.

Whilst a lot of focus in this region goes on the salmon fishery, it's important to recognise we have an outstanding trout fishery in this region with some world-class trout rivers to tempt anglers with.

Above Right: Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson checks a licence on the Rakaia River.

Salmon Card returns

We are already seeing a number of sea-run salmon harvest cards being returned, mainly through the online form which you can access here.

You don't need to wait till May 7 to return your card information if you have already kept your season bag limit; use the QR code on the card or drop it off at your local Fish & Game office.

Even if you kept no fish or didn't end up going fishing, returning that data is still very important to us for factoring into our calculations of the run.

Salmon seized from Rakaia Anglers

There's been quite a bit of chatter on the river bank about Fish & Game Rangers seizing salmon and rods over in late February.

Contrary to popular belief we didn't seize 90 rods from anglers one weekend, we seized two salmon from anglers not following the regulations, and three other anglers had their rods seized for other offences.

The salmon were seized because the anglers in question had caught and kept them, but either did not have their Sea-Run Season Bag Limit Card on them or did not hold a Sea-Run Salmon endorsement.

The sea-run salmon regulations clearly state in rule 12.5: Immediately upon taking or killing a salmon from sea-run salmon waters, the licence holder must complete an entry in their Season Bag Limit Card for that fish.

I’ve emphasized the word immediately above because the anglers had landed and kept their fish a considerable time before being approached by rangers hence why their fish were seized.

This is obviously a shock to the anglers after the excitement of landing a sea-run salmon, but the rules are in place to ensure all anglers are treated equally and everyone has a fair chance at catching a salmon.

It’s the angler's responsibility to have the means by which they can fill out their Sea-Run Season Bag Limit Card

They will now be processed through our regular compliance system, but it is highly likely to say that these fish will become very expensive fish for the anglers in question.

The other offences detected involved seizures of rods from anglers who were salmon fishing without a licence or endorsement.

Our Rangers are out in force for this exact reason don’t be surprised if you see a Ranger and get asked for your licence and season bag limit card.

Rakaia Salmon Competition

On a more positive note, Rakaia River Promotions ran a successful competition over the last weekend of February.

Over 500 anglers entered the competition, and thirty-four salmon were weighed in, but a few more salmon were caught, with many anglers choosing to practice catch and release.

It was great to be able to get out and talk to anglers in numbers, and the team at North Canterbury Fish & Game want to recognise the great work that all of the people involved with the Rakaia competition do in promoting, organising and running the biggest freshwater fishing competition in the country.


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Some of the 40-odd anglers at FishSoc's Learn to Fish Day.

Many people will not have heard of FishSoc, but it is the University of Canterbury's Student's Association's Fish Society.

With 115 paid-up members, it is a group of keen anglers who will be the next generation of our sport.

Recently I joined over 40 of them for a "Learn To Fish" day held on the Otukaikino Creek, it was great to see these young men and women being supported by their peers and learning about fishing.

Many are just embarking on their freshwater fishing journey, so it was great to be able to offer them support and advice.

So if you have family studying at the University, who are interested or keen anglers, let them know about FishSoc so we can grow the next generation of anglers.

Annual Rangers Fishing Competition

The annual Fish & Game Rangers fishing competition will be held on Friday, April 21 at Kairaki beach at the Waimakariri River Mouth.

The competition is held to celebrate the end of the summer fishing season with anglers and is quite a social event, with a spot prize draw, a free sausage sizzle and a touch of fishing thrown in for good measure.

We have over $2000 in fantastic spot prizes, with more still to arrive from our generous sponsors: Hunting & Fishing Tower Junction & North Canterbury, Kilwell, Desolve Supply Co, Hunters Element, Stoney Creek, Amazing Baits

There is a trophy for the heaviest salmon caught on the day; clickhereformore details.

Tight Lines

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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