Reel Life October 2022

  • Central South Island
  • 20/10/2022

Reel Life October 2022

Fishing for Everyone in November

November is a favourite month to fish for many anglers.

Here are some November fishing highlights for you to plan for:

  • ideal spring flows in lowland waters like the Opihi River,
  • sea-run browns are in the tidal reaches chasing silveries (common smelt),
  • post-spawned rainbows are hungry and in search of an easy feed in the canals and hydro lakes,
  • perch and tench increase in feeding activity as water temperature increases,
  • the first sea-run salmon of the season gets caught in the Rangitata River,
  • 2022 Twizel Kids Salmon Fishing Day (pictured above)
  • High-Country Opening means all but a few waterways are open,
  • public holiday for all of Canterbury on Friday 11th November.

Twizel Kids Salmon Fishing Day 2022

Thanks to Mount Cook Alpine Salmon, the Kids Salmon Fishing Day is on for 2022!

The event will be held on Saturday the 5th of November at Loch Cameron 5km from Twizel.

The event of for kids between the ages of 3 and 11 only.

Please click here for all the event information.

CSI’s “High-Country” Season Opens 5th of November

RLoctCSI2 Lake Heron is a favourite high country opening destination Photo by Rhys Adams

Lake Heron is a favourite high country opening destination: Photo Rhys Adams

High-Country Opening on Saturday, November 5th,provides a multitude of waterways to fish.

It is traditional occasion for social fishing with friends and family; some anglers havn’t missed it since they were a kid.

In your high-country travels, please be mindful of farmed stock, especially ewes with lambs.

Seek permission to cross private land.

Regulation Changes for High-Country Waters

Be sure to check out the new 2022-2023 season regulation guide here first hand.

Here is a summary of the regulation changes for the 2022/23 season that come in effect on High Country Opening:

Ōhau River– controlled fishery for October

The Ōhau River opens for all anglers that obtain their free backcountry licence endorsement on the 5th of November (high-country opening).

Only those anglers who were successful in the recently held ballots and issued with controlled period licences can fish the Ōhau River during the September and October 2022 controlled period.

Lake Emma

Fishing from unmoored boats is permitted.

Two “classic” High-Country Fishing Offences

Two “classic” offences found by rangers in November include:

1. fishing a high-country waterway on the 1st of November instead of the 1st Saturday in November opening date, and,

2. fishing the upper Ahuriri River – upstream of its Longslip Creek Confluence – before it opens on the first Saturday in December.

Do read your regulation guide before going fishing – click here to link to the 2022/23 sports fishing regulation guide.

Who will catch the first sea-run salmon of 2022/23?

The first sea-run salmon caught for the season is often at the Rangitata River in November.

Anticipation of what the salmon season may bring this time around is higher than ever after last season’s improved returns to the Rangitata and Waitaki rivers.

2022/23 Sea-Run Salmon Bag Limit Cards

Anglers are required to obtain a sea-run salmon season bag limit card to fish for sea run salmon in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions.

There is now a $5 charge for the card to cover the costs of printing and postage.

You can obtain your bag limit card at the point of purchase or later online at our website here.

Winter Closure of the Upper Tekapo Canal

The precautionary closure of the upper Tekapo Canal during winter has been in effect for two seasons (2021 and 2022).

CSI Fish & Game undertook surveys before (2019, 2020) and after (2021) the closure to assess the effects of the closure on angler use and catch across the May to September rainbow trout spawning period.

Put simply, the 3-month winter closure has made a significant reduction in angler use and catch at the upper Tekapo Canal during the spawning period.

Please click here to read the full report.

Using fish for bait

Fish can be a great bait for sports fishing, but anglers must be aware that the regulations are strict about how it is used.

The First Schedule regulations define fish bait as “Natural fish, excluding fish ova, or any portion of a fish, or shellfish (mollusc), except where stated otherwise in the Second Schedule of this notice.”

In other words, you can use any fish if it is whole and intact.

You cannot use any part or portion of a fish, including its eggs (ova).

You cannot use any shellfish (molluscs) for example mussels and squid.

The only exceptions to any First Schedule regulations can be found in their Second Schedule (regional regulations) that explicitly allows a certain type of bait.

There are no exemptions in the CSI Region.

So, let’s look at an example. You hear that anchovy is a great bait at the canals, so you buy a bag of frozen anchovy and head to the “Tekapo fish bowl”.

Your anchovy seems a bit big, but it is illegal to use a portion of it so you can’t cut it up into pieces.

You decide to put a hook in its middle and a keeper hook in its tail and use bait elastic to secure it all together.

You get a bite and retrieve it to check if you still have bait on your hook – you find out the head of your fish has been ripped off but the hooks and bait elastic are still holding three-quarters of the fish on the hooks.

You now have an illegal bait on because it is only a portion of a fish - it’s not whole and intact anymore.

You now have no choice but to remove this bait and rig up a new anchovy, whole and intact.

If this all sounds like a hassle to you, then why not use any one of the other legal baits that can be used whole or as a portion like worms, insects like huhu grub and crustaceans like prawn or shrimp.

Two tagged rainbows exceed 20lb

RLoctCSI3 Jordan Ryder releases his 24lb tagged rainbow from the Tekapo Cana photo by Jacob McCarthy

Jordan Ryder releases his 24lb tagged rainbow from the Tekapo Cana - photo by Jacob McCarthy

Our Tekapo Canal trout tagging project has reached a new milestone – two tagged rainbow trout have reached 20-pounds!

This September, Ross Cooper caught a tagged 21-pounder, and Jordan Ryder caught a tagged 24-pounder.

Unfortunately, in their haste to release the fish, the unique 4-digit tag numbers were not collected —so we can’t precisely trace their growth rate.

However, we do know that the earliest they could have been tagged was 2.5 years ago and that the biggest rainbow we have tagged in the programme was measured at 582mm – estimated to be no bigger than 5-pounds.

From this information we can confidently say that their growth rate was at least 6.5 pound per year for the total time they have been in the canal.

Over the winter we have received 18 tag returns – thanks very much and keep them coming please.

Please check out this YouTube video to find out all about the tagging programme.

Tight lines

Rhys Adams, Fish & Game Officer

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