Reel Life March 2024 - North Canterbury

  • North Canterbury
  • 21/03/2024

Temperatures have dropped and we are now starting to see snow on the mountains here in the region, which means the water temperature will be cooling down.

Trout are in prime condition as they will be trying to put on as much condition as possible before they start pairing up and head into the spawning streams.

Drift Dives

Drift dives are a valuable tool for assessing the fishery, not only for evaluating fish numbers but also the habitat that sports fish live in.

Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game supported us in this programme as we are all a new team here at North Canterbury.

This year, we drift-dived three parts of the Boyle River and one very small part of the Lewis River, some of which had never been dived before.

Because we are a new team here at North Canterbury, drift diving is one area that we are examining and assessing where we want to drift dive.

With the changes in regulations since 2020, we have prioritized rivers which need to be targeted to improve our knowledge.

The tables below show how many brown trout we counted in the rivers we dived:

Boyle River (Over the three dive sections)

Small <150mm

Medium 150mm-450mm

Large >450mm





Lewis River (Over the one dive section)

Small <150mm

Medium 150mm-450mm

Large >450mm





In the 24/25 fishing season, we aim to expand our drift dive program to better understand our region's rivers.

The team at North Canterbury would like to thank the Nelson/Marlborough region team who assisted us with these dives.

Salmon Spawning

Over the coming weeks, we will be undertaking our sea-run salmon spawning counts in the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers.

We count the various spawning streams that flow into these rivers five times and we repeat this process every 21 days.

The reason why we do spawning counts is so we know how many fish are in the are in the various streams.

With the total number of salmon in the spawning streams and the number of salmon harvested by anglers, we can then make management decisions about the sea-run salmon fishery.

This is so salmon fishing can continue into the future, if you want to learn more about it you watch this video about the science behind the salmon.

Tight Lines

Harry Graham-Samson, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer

More Posts