Reel Life October 2020

  • Central South Island
  • 20/10/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life October 2020

Season update

The new 2020-21 season has got off to a great start but things are set to get even better.

The first Saturday in November sees your opportunities double with our high country waters opening up.

Our high country fisheries are the very creeks, rivers and lakes you see in paintings, postcards and advertising campaigns that draw overseas tourists to our spectacular country.

If you haven’t got your new 2020-21 sports fishing licence yet, grab your wallet and click here to buy one online and learn more about what licence suits you best.

Alternatively, pop down to your local fishing shop and buy one while you are picking up some new tackle.

If you’re still deciding where to fish or are new to the CSI region, our “fishing locations and access” info may steer you in the right direction.

You could also give us a call at the office (03 6158400) or email (

Above Right: Lake Poaka is a scenic spot to fly fish on high-country opening-Credit R Adams

High Country opening

RLCSI1 The Western Shoreline of Lake Tekapo provides excellent trout fishing options in November Credit R Adams

The western shoreline of Lake Tekapo provides excellent trout fishing options in November'-Credit R Adams

It’s time to fine tune plans with friends and family for CSI’s High Country Opening Weekend.

This year it all kicks off on Saturday the 7th of November.

In CSI, anglers favour spots like Lake Heron, Lake Alexandrina and the Tekapo, Twizel and Hakataramea rivers for the opening weekend.

Please be aware 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.

Four quick fishing ideas for November

  1. November is a great month for targeting sea-run brown trout at river mouths and lagoons – use life like ‘smelt’ soft baits.
  2. Water levels at Lake Tekapo are low and that gives great shoreline access for spin fishing – use a 14g hex wobbler.
  3. Trolling in shallow water 2-3 metres deep near the shoreline at Lake Benmore is super productive in November – use tassie devil lures.
  4. Use shrimp or prawn bait in the Mackenzie hydro canals near the salmon farms and give yourself a chance to catch the biggest trout of your lifetime.

Regulation Change – Lake Heron

RLCSI2 Jared Heney from Ashburton fishing from his kayak at Lake Heron high country opening 2019 Credit R Adams

Jared Heney from Ashburton fishing from his kayak at Lake Heron - high-country opening 2019- Credit R Adams

Lake Heron is a hive of activity every High Country Opening Weekend.

It commonly attracts over 100 anglers, most of whom return annually for their traditional family and friends fishing trips.

There is some fantastic trout fishing on offer, but most anglers are there to target the lake-type Chinook salmon.

Very little is known about the contribution these lake-type salmon make to the returns of sea-run salmon of Lake Heron.

Over the last two years, CSI Fish & Game collected otoliths (ear bones) from lake-type and sea-run salmon and is funding research to learn more about their interactions.

While this research is underway a precautionary approach to harvest of lake-type fish has been taken.

The daily bag limit has been reduced to four sports fish for the 2020-21 fishing season.

Check out the 2020-21 regulations here, Lake Heron is listed on page 39.

Salmon season starts

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

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

In recent season our sea-run salmon numbers returning to spawn have been poor.

We are asking anglers to voluntarily limit their total sea-run salmon harvest this season to four or less as a conservation-minded approach to ensuring more salmon make it to the spawning grounds this season.

Tagged Tekapo Canal Trout

Thanks to those anglers that have reported catching tagged trout, we have 47 records so far.

34 of the 47 tagged trout captures have been within a few hundred metres of the release site – the upper most bridge on the Tekapo Canal and only a small number have been caught down by the salmon farms so far, but we anticipate this will increase over the summer months.

Check this video out for more info on the Tekapo Canal tagging project.

If you catch a tagged trout please get in touch and let us know the unique four-digit tag number, location, whether it was kept of release and an estimate of size. Contact – email, phone 036158400

Kids Salmon Fishing Day

Due to COVID-19 implications we will not be holding the annual Kids Salmon Fishing Day in November at Loch Cameron in Twizel.

Tight lines

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer

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