Reel Life November 2023

  • Central South Island
  • 22/11/2023

Reel Life November 2023

Great season so far – and more to come.

There have been some awesome catches reported so far this season.

We’ve had multiple reports of good condition sea-run trout at the Ōpihi River mouth, bag limits of salmon at the Tekapo Canal “fish bowl” and we’ve had photos of recent Lake Tekapo/ Takapō salmon catches.

These Lake Takapō salmon originate from our put-and-take salmon stocking programme supported by Mount Cook Alpine Salmon.

It’s best to target salmon around drop-offs and anywhere near inflowing streams.

Tekapo salmon are not particularly fussy and will take any silver lure – it is all about finding where they are.

Ranger Allan Gillespie was active at Lake Alexandrina and McGregor on High Country Opening Day checking on 26 anglers that fished from the lakeshore for the morning.

A total of ten trout were landed, the biggest a 5-lbs/ 2.25kg rainbow.

Allan spoke with Wayne Young (pictured above right) who kept this good-sized brown on a yellow, spotted tassie lure.

December is a great month for fishing

December offers so many fishing options from sea-run salmon, to backcountry trout fishing, to night fishing local streams and trolling the drop-offs at our large hydro lakes; and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you’re keen to check out a new spot this December you can find some inspiration from our ‘Fishing Locations and Access’ webpage, click here.

Do be aware, that it’s bird nesting season so please stick to formed tracks when four-wheel driving on riverbeds.

Six quick fishing ideas for December

  1. December is a great month for targeting sea-run brown trout at river mouths and lagoons – use life-like ‘smelt’ soft baits.
  2. Target perch at Lake Emma using small bright lures. 
  3. Fish the evening/night-time caddis rise on the Waitaki River near Kurow.
  4. Target tench at a designated coarse fishing water like Island Stream.
  5. Troll for sockeye salmon at Lake Benmore – see the video here for tips.
  6. Bait fish with worms or shrimp at lakes Tekapo / Takapō, Pūkaki or Ōhau.

Sea-Run Salmon Season Bag Limit Card required for Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions

Salmon and Kahawai anglers fish the Rangitata River mouth last season’ – Photo by Nikki Dellaway

This is a timely reminder to familiarise yourself with the 2023/24 sea run salmon regulations for the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game Regions.

For clarification contact our Temuka Office: phone 03 6158400, email

For sea-run salmon waters, it’s not just a case of grabbing your licence and rod and heading down to the river like in the days of old.

The season bag limit card must be carried, along with a pen, while fishing sea-run salmon waters if you have any intention to catch a sea-run salmon or keep one incidentally caught while targeting other species like trout or kahawai.

All the information you need to know can be found at our website here including how to purchase your sea-run salmon licence and to receive your season bag limit card.

Rangers have been checking on sea-run salmon anglers as the season kicks off.

We are yet to hear of the first sea-run salmon caught in the Central South Island Region but expect this will be sometime soon.

Let me know if you see or catch any and send photos of keepers to

After dispatching the fish, wash off any blood and get the water in the backdrop to make it an attractive photo.

Kids Salmon Fishing Day 2023

6-year-old Airi Naka shows off her Mt Cook Alpine Salmon.- Photo by Blake Harper

Thanks to Mt Cook Alpine Salmon we held the annual Kids Salmon Fishing Day on Saturday the 4th of November at Loch Cameron.

81 kids aged 4-11 attended and caught about 55 fish by lunchtime.

We had Goldilocks weather for the duration of the event - not too hot and not too cold.

Each kid went home with a Kilwell lure and some lucky anglers won spot prizes donated by Shaw’s Hardware, Southern Apls Outdoors and Meridian Energy

We encourage you to take a child or Junior angler out fishing to Loch Cameron over the next few weeks while this opportunity lasts – there are still plenty of salmon about at the loch thanks to Mt Cook Alpine’s generosity. 

Loch Cameron is a favourite swimming and picnicking spot so please keep it pristine - if you are lucky enough to catch a salmon, please take all fish waste with you to dispose of appropriately elsewhere. An option would be the skip bin located near the Ōhau A Power Station intake – this bin is supplied by Meridian for anglers to use.

A slide show of photos from the 2023 Kids Salmon Fishing Day can be viewed here.

Men’s Health Month - Check in on your mates.

Whether you call it a crumb catcher, the caterpillar, a lip scarf or a ‘tache, you have probably seen an increase in facial hair about this month as many men stop shaving to support the ‘Mo-vember’ movement.

Movember shines a spotlight on and raises funds for men’s mental health and suicide prevention as well as prostate and testicular cancer. 

Take the time to check in on those in your circles this month, even those that seem business as usual.

Click here for some conversation starters or follow the simple steps below

  1. Ask how they’re going (really).
  2. Listen to their response – and ask open questions.
  3. Encourage action – Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition and/or professional advice if someone has been feeling low for more than two weeks.

Check out the article on page 28 in Fish and Game’s most recent magazine issue 57 (or click here for the online version). Author Bruce Quirey outlines the positive effects that being out in nature and fishing can have on the human mind.

Any time or place is the right time for this chat but out on the riverbed or lakeshore while getting some sun and exercise with a bacon and egg sammie in the chilly bin sounds pretty good to me.

All of this applies to yourself as well. You can’t effectively help someone else when you’re running on empty.

Upper Ahuriri River and lagoons remain closed

The Ahuriri River and tributaries upstream of and including Longslip Creek remain closed until the first Saturday in December. This includes the lagoons.

The regulations for the Ahuriri River are listed on page 37 of the 2023/2024 sports fishing regulations here

Keep up to date

Every Thursday afternoon during the main fishing season we link up with our neighbours North Canterbury Fish & Game to email out the ‘Weekly Fishing Report’.

Why not join 34,000 weekly report readers by signing up today – click here 

Tight Lines,

Nikki Dellaway

More Posts