Reel Life November 2020

  • West Coast
  • 17/11/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life November 2020

Fishing Action Heating Up

Thanks to fine weather over the last two weeks, the rivers and lakes are really starting to fish exceptionally well.

The warming water temperatures increases insect activity and as a direct result trout tend to be more actively feeding.

Right: A large brown trout in great condition recently caught in a West Coast lake. (Photo Leo Kersten)

When doing field work, we are observing that trout are now holding in the head of pools and shallow water rather than seeking refuge in the depths, so if you enjoy sight fishing its time to get the rod out.


Anthony Savill with a brown trout kept for dinner (photo Baylee Kersten)

November and December are also known to be the months of when smelt turns up in great numbers so now with the white baiters out of the way, it’s a great time to visit your local river mouth.

We can now confirm that trout are in excellent condition with reports of chunky trout regularly coming in even despite the recent rain, but we did have a very stable winter.

High numbers of lake resident salmon and the occasional large trout have been caught recently in South Westland lakes.

Anglers are reminded that there is a minimum size of 350mm for salmon and trout in South Westland lakes.

The Season To Be Out AndAbout

Despite licence sales being up locally and nationally as kiwis take to their backyard, there still is rivers and lakes being neglected.

This means when anglers do get out, the fish are typically well rested and ready to accept a fly or a lure!

With the lack of non-resident anglers mid-week compliance rounds have been rather lonely with only the occasionally retiree or someone on leave.


The large brown trout hen with my two flies in her mouth (photo Baylee Kersten)

On top of this trout are in great condition this season and very large trout are regularly getting caught so the fishing couldn’t be better.

I had a perfect example of this a week a go fishing a challenging river that holds large trout.

I snapped off a good size trout on the strike… re-rigged up and caught it retrieving both my flies!

When a seven pound trout in a challenging river is willing to be that silly, you know it’s a great time to be fishing!

Upcoming Events

This year’s Annual General Meeting for West Coast Fish and Game will be held on Tuesday December 8, 2020 at the Ashley Hotel, 74 Tasman St, Greymouth beginning at 7pm with 6:30pm supper.

Remember licence holders are welcome to attend, and it’s always good to have local licence holders present.

The annual Lake Brunner Fishing Competition is taking place November 27th to 29th and as part of it, Fish & Game are running an educational family fishing skills and information session.

For more information check out last months reel life or the Facebook event by clicking here.


Field officer Baylee Kersten fly fishing (photo Richard Cosgrove)

Basics of Fly Fishing Course at the Grey River SH7 Bridge fishing Access point – Ikamatau. From 10am till 2pm on Sunday the 13th of December 2020.

We are a running a session to teach all the fly fishing basics - covering everything from casting and fishing techniques to setting up your rod and recommended beginner fishing locations.

The event will be ran by West Coast field officer Baylee Kersten with potential assistance from a few other experienced anglers if there is high attendance.

Please bring a packed lunch and a deck chair for a great day riverside.

The event will be weather dependent so be sure to check in the day prior for a postponement.

Please register your interest on our Facebook event by clicking on this link or email to be kept updated.

Field Work Update

Our first round of electric fishing in the Mawheraiti Research streams were completed this month.


Some of the trout fry from electric fishing the Mawheraiti Research streams (photo Baylee Kersten)

The results were very pleasing with high numbers of juveniles present from this winter’s spawning.

The combination of a stable winter and great condition trout producing large numbers of eggs has got this year’s recruitment off to a great start!

Although these trout currently weight around 1 gram, they will quickly grow becoming a good catchable size in two years.

Summer marks the start of the annual drift dive season.

Last year’s results can be found on our webpage for those interested along with all our other reports.

If there is any experienced divers out there who are keen to assist with our drift diving program, please get in touch with:

Hope to see you out there!

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.

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