Reel Life March 2023

  • West Coast
  • 15/03/2023

Reel Life March 2023

Fishing has improved across the coast with recent rain cooling our lakes and river down.

Trout fishing in lakes especially has improved as the lakes cool down from their summer peak temperatures.

Right: A photo sent in by Blair of histrip to West Coast lakes followingrecent rain.

Fishing will only continue to improve over April and into the winter (for the lakes that remain open).

The lakes got a bit too warm this summer and trout activity likely dropped off; therefore, the trout will be feeding aggressively to pack on condition ready for spawning.

As for the rivers, many have fished well that run cool, with trout feeding well and fish densities being higher given there being less water.

The mid reaches of larger rivers have been great fishing and are well worth a visit in the coming months ensuring you check the regulations come May.

It has remained quiet on the salmon front, likely due to such tough fishing conditions.

With the rain only really arriving in the last two weeks, some good late-season fishing may be experienced in the rivers.

If we continue to regularly have freshes in the river and with things cooling down as Autumn sets in, conditions will be ideal.

Keeping in mind the Okarito River, Windbag Stream, and lakes Ianthe, Mapourika, Paringa and Moeraki close for salmon fishing on March 31st.

While all other fisheries (excluding McDonald's Creek which is closed year-round) are open to salmon fishing until April 30th.

river level for whataroa

A screen grab from the WCRC website showing the recent floods.

Tips For Planning Your Fishing Outing

Firstly, I recommended checking the weather forecast.

I highly recommended Yr weather, it is very spital sensitive which is very important with our rugged landscape.

Be sure to search for the immediate area you plan on fishing.

Next, I recommend using WCRC river flows and rainfallto assess the fishing conditions of different locations.

Often there is great fishing after rain, but you don’t want to get there too early when there are still logs drifting down!

Lastly use the Outdoor Access Commission maps, which show publicly accessible areas, tracks, conservation land and property information across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Although it never hurts to give the local landowner a quick visit and get easy access to some of the harder-to-reach spots.

Field Work Update

Drift Dives have been completed in the Reefton area during March.

Sites have varied in results, with flood damage from last February affecting some locations more than others.

Although overall numbers of large and medium trout have been around average so the fishing currently should not be impacted.

Notably, the Inangahua system felt last year’s flood more than the Grey River system, and it has been reflected in the counts of juvenile trout.

It’s not uncommon for the Coast to have some average recruitment years and given we had a couple of stable years prior; the fisheries are still in a healthy state.

Fishing Competition

The Ahaura Hunting and Fishing Competition will be held during the Easter break, Thursday 6th - Sunday 9th of April.

Further information can be found by clicking here.

Staff will be present at the event and look forward to seeing you there.

Hope to see you out there!

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.

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