Reel Life October 2022

  • North Canterbury
  • 20/10/2022

Reel Life October 2022

Lowland fisheries

We've had reports the lower reaches of the big rivers (Waimakariri and Rakaia) are holding beautifully condition sea run trout that anglers are catching in good numbers.

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere was open to the sea for the early part of the season, and this is probably responsible for the reports of some stonking fish (over 12 pounds) being caught in the tributaries of the lake like Harts Creek (pictured right).

Though most anglers are quite guarded in telling us exactly where they've caught these fish, just saying "a tributary" of the lake.

Being very close to Christchurch, this lake is a great option for a quick fishing trip.

Lake Coleridge competition is back this year


In the 2020 competition, Danny Pye caught this 3.8 kg brown trout in Lake Selfe

It’s only 14 sleeps till the Canterbury high country fisheries open, and this year the annual Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition is back on.

The competition is one of the most popular events for North Canterbury anglers with over 300 attending the prizegiving in past years.

It is generously sponsored by the Ashburton, North Canterbury, and Christchurch Hunting & Fishing stores.

There are over $7500 in prizes up for grabs this year, with the spot prize draws alone having $2000 in prizes available, including a $500 rod & reel set & sling bag set.

Timed for the opening morning of the High-Country fisheries on November 5, North Canterbury Fish & Game will be operating a weigh-in tent at the turn-off to Ryton Bay from 9 am till 1 pm with a prize giving at 1.30 pm.

You don’t need to catch a fish to enter the spot prize draw, just present your licence at the tent to go in the draw.

Once again, the landowners have kindly allowed anglers to camp in the paddock by the Ryton Bay turn-off for the Friday night before the opening.

No dogs, fires or fireworks are allowed, and anglers must take all their rubbish with them

Broken and Porter Rivers

The Broken and Porter rivers open on the first Saturday in November, but this year they close on May 31.

This aligns them with similar high-country rivers in other South Island regions.

If you need to check any regulations for the region you download a copy of the regulations booklethere.

Old Fishing Licence

FGNZ6377BAs an aside, the team at North Canterbury Fish & Game was recently given a trout fishing licence for the Avon River from 1876 in immaculate condition.

1876 was just the second year that trout fishing was allowed in New Zealand.

Only about 16 licences were issued in 1875; in 1876, 26 were issued for the Avon River and one tributary.

The purchaser of the licence wasRichard Marby Cotton; Richard owned Lake Coleridge Station from 1875 to 1890 (although he died in 1886).

The cost for trout fishing for this one river was one pound; using the Reserve Bank’s Inflation Calculator, today's price for that licence would be $175, and only for the one river.

The only other river fishable was in Otago, the Leith, and a licence to fish for trout would have cost you an additional one pound (so another $175 today) plus getting to Dunedin 145 years ago.



A Ranger checks licences with anglers in the Te Waihora/lake Ellesmere area.

This season our team of 25 honorary and staff Rangers will be out and about checking angling compliance across the region.

We generally get great compliance from North Canterbury anglers, who are more than happy to see us.

We have undertaken some training in the off-season with the Team from Central South Island Fish & Game, which has shown us some new tips and tricks to use whilst out Ranging.

The CSI Team detects the most offences of any Fish & Game region and has the most successful record in dealing with those offences.

Therefore they are the benchmark that all Fish & Game Rangers should compare themselves to, hence why the North Canterbury team has been training with them and adopting their techniques and procedures.

We will be using these new methods this year, so don't be surprised if you find us hanging around for quite some time at the usual (and some not-so-usual) hot spots of angler activity.

And remember, it is a requirement for anglers to have their licences on them when fishing.

Take A Kid Fishing Day


Three-year-old Sierra gets a helping hand with her salmon from dad Fletch, right, and great aunty Clare.

Over 1000 people attended The Kids Fishing Charitable Trust's annual Take A Kid Fishing Day on Sunday, October 16.

Starting at 9 am, it was all action as young anglers cast out into the four ponds at the Junior Fishing Lakes at the Groynes, near Belfast, Northern Christchurch.

Around 200 fish were caught during the day

With the long weekend coming up and some good weather forecasted, a visit to the junior fishing lakes for a family outing or picnic would be a great way to spend an afternoon.

The lakes are for Children or Junior licence holders fishing only, and the bag limit is one sports fish per day.

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