Reel Life October 2023

  • Central South Island
  • 19/10/2023

Reel Life October 2023

Above Right: Rakitata River mouth was a hive of activity last season on this stunning Central South Island day– Photo by Nikki Dellaway

Salmon Season Starts

Mid-November usually sees a dedicated local angler catch the first sea-run salmon of the new season in the Rakitata River.

Other salmon rivers like the Ōpihi and Waitaki usually produce fish further down the track.

Last year we met the spawning threshold that maintains the salmon season bag limit at 2 fish for the 2023/2024 season.

Hopefully, by now you’ve received your new salmon season bag card in the post with your full season licence.

Remember to carry this and a pen with you when fishing for sea-run salmon!

You can always get it here if you haven’t already.

When you do catch your first keeper of the season, be sure to snap a good photo and send it into us at

Wash off any blood and show off the fish’s natural colour to the camera.

If you are going to release a fish always practice good catch and release technique as described in North Canterbury’s article on page 82 of the 2023 fishing magazine.

Something for everyone this long weekend

Ben McBreen with a couple of pan sized perch at Lake Hood last season

With the Labour Day long weekend this weekend, we hope to see many of you ‘out there doing it’ with fishing suited to everyone available.

  • Perch and tench will be actively feeding now as the water starts to warm up. A traffic light or any red lure should secure a perch at Lake Hood.
  • November is a great month for targeting sea-run brown trout at river mouths and lagoons – life like ‘smelt’ soft baits are the ticket at the moment.
  • Lake Tekapo|Takapō is low and that gives great shoreline access for spin fishing – try out a 14g hex wobbler.
  • Trolling in shallow water 100 metres off the shoreline at Lake Benmore is super productive in November – a tassie devil lures should see you right.

For other fishing destination options check out this locations and access page. Do read your regulation guide before heading out, especially if going somewhere new. CSI region starts on page 34.  

Hard Labour at the Canals 

The Hard Labour multisport event is on in Twizel over Labour Weekend.

Saturday the 21st is the one morning of the year that anglers must be patient and courteous to the kayakers racing from Lake Ruataniwha, through the Ōhau B and Ōhau C Canals and out into Lake Benmore via the Ōhau C Tailrace. 

Lake Ruataniwha is closed to all powered craft from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. 

Kayak racers will be entering the canals from Lake Ruataniwha about 8:30 and finishing at Lake Benmore around 11am. Please do not fish while kayakers are passing by. 

This annual event has Meridian approval. 

High-Country Opening – 4 November 2023

Johan Swanepoel fishes the Twizel/ Whakatipu River on High-country opening day last season. – Photo by Rhys Adams

The first Saturday of November sees most of our high-country waterways open for fishing.

This is not to be confused with some of our neighbouring regions' High-Country Opening Days being the first of November.

Two “classic” offences found by rangers around high-country opening include:

  1. Fishing a high-country waterway on the 1st of November instead of the first Saturday in November opening day
  2. Fishing the upper Ahuriri River – the Ahuriri River and tarns upstream of its Longslip Creek tributary remain closed until the first Saturday in December – that is the section of river accessible from Birchwood Road.

Lake Heron/ Ōtūroto, Lake Alexandrina/ Takamana and the Tekapo/ Takapō, Twizel/ Whakatipu and Hakataramea rivers are some of the options opening on the 4th of November.

Some of our dedicated high-country anglers don’t pick up their licence until closer to High-Country Opening Day.

This can be bought online here or pop in-store to support your local businesses and treat yourself to a new fly or lure (or 2).

Pick up a mayfly nymph like a size 14 pheasant tail to use in the stony bottom rivers.

In your high-country travels, please be mindful of farmed stock and seek permission to cross private land.

Kids Salmon Fishing Day

11 year old Vlad Novikov with a fish on in Loch Cameron at last years Kids Salmon Fishing Day – Photo by Nikki Dellaway

Thanks to Mt Cook Alpine Salmon our Kids Salmon Fishing Day will once again be held at Loch Cameron near Twizel.

Anglers aged 4-11 will have the opportunity to fish for salmon.

The event will be held on Saturday November 4, 2023.

Registration is on the day from 8:30am - fishing starts at 9:00am.

A few spot prizes may also be available, donated by your local businesses.

Click here to visit our website and find all the details. 

CSI Fish & Game and Meridian sign agreement 

Central South Island Fish & Game (CSIFG) and Meridian Energy recently signed an agreement as Meridian Energy applies to renew their resource consent to take and use water for the nationally important Waitaki hydroelectric scheme. 

The new agreement builds on a former agreement, increasing funding available and expanding the reach of projects that CSIFG can apply it to – a great boost to sports fishery and ecosystem projects in the Waitaki Catchment. 

The full media release can be viewed here

Tight Lines

Nikki Dellaway, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

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