Reel Life September 2023

  • North Canterbury
  • 18/09/2023

Reel Life September 2023

Above right: Anglers scouting the Rakaia River last season.

Only nine more sleeps until the 2023/24 fishing season starts in North Canterbury!

The burst of rain we are due to receive this weekend will hopefully not be too excessive, but give our rivers a nice top-up after the brief dry spell we've had recently.

Over the winter we've been getting a bunch of stuff ready for the new season, such as checking in on angler access points and updating signage where necessary, going out visiting licence agents and briefing them on the coming season, and crunching the numbers on various reports that help us manage the fishery.

Designated Waters Fisheries

Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson affixes a new Designated Waters sign in the Lewis Pass.

The biggest news for our Backcountry Fisheries is that they have now migrated across to the new Designated Waters System.

For the North Canterbury region, anglers wanting to fish the North and South Branches of the Upper Hurunui River, the Upper Waiau Uwha River (upstream of the Hope River confluence), and the Lewis Pass fishery (the Hope River and all tributaries upstream of the State Highway 7 Bridge) now require a Designated Waters Licence in addition to their whole season licence to fish them.

For resident Kiwi anglers, this $5 per region, per season licence enables New Zealand residents to fish these pressure-sensitive waters for the whole season.

For non-residents (i.e. tourist anglers) they are now only permitted to fish a region's Designated Waters for a maximum of five days, they must also purchase a $ 40-day licence per day for each of those five days in addition to the whole season non-resident licence ($264).

After they have reached their five-day limit they can no longer fish any of that region's Designated Waters waters for the rest of the season.

They can either fish non Designated Waters in that region or move to another region and fish that region's Designated Waters if they have eligible days left them.

You can learn more on this page here.

Sea-run Salmon Licence

your new sea-run salmon licence has it's own licence number and a hole for attaching to a lanyard this year.

This year your sea-run salmon bag limit card will come out in the post with your whole season fishing licence if you purchased them together.

It's also a credit card sized, to match the size of your fishing licence, and it includes a hole in it for attaching to a lanyard as many anglers asked for.

The keen-eyed amongst you will notice that it has a different licence number to your whole-season fishing licence, that is because it is its own licence and both must be carried when fishing for sea-run salmon.

You must have a pen on you to fill in the details of any sea-run salmon you harvest immediately after you harvest that fish.

Overall compliance amongst salmon anglers has been great with the new system, but there have been a few offenders who lost their fish when found not to have their sea-run salmon card on them or not to have a sea-run salmon licence.

New Regulations

There have been a number of small changes to the region's regulations this season, if you haven't received a copy of the regulations book, you can download a copy of the 2023/24 season regulations from this page.

2023 NZ Trout Festival

Tony Smith celebrates his winning of a day's guided fishing with top fishing guide Kristina Placko.

Over 500 anglers celebrated the upcoming fishing season with the 2023 NZ Trout Festival in Christchurch at the weekend.

Anglers from across New Zealand came to the Groynes Fishing Lakes and Clearwater Resort to learn from trout fishing experts from across the globe.

One of the foremost casting instructors in the world, Brian Henderson from Australia, attended and ran several sessions to train the trainers and diagnose casting issues for the anglers.

There was loads of information for anglers of all skill and experience levels, plus prize draws and free giveaways from NZ's leading fishing retailers and wholesalers.

There is a more detailed report on this page and be sure to keep an eye out for next year's event!

Lake Coleridge Competition

The Lloyd sisters, Hannah (left), Charlotte (middle) and Lucy (right) from Rangiora with their catch from the 2022 Lake Coleridge Competition.

This year's high country fishery opening day is on Saturday, November 4.

We'll be up there in force again and holding the annual Lake Coleridge fishing Competition generously supported by the three Hunting and Fishing stores - Ballingers (Tower Junction), Ashburton and North Canterbury (Rangiora).

We'll be in touch in the next issue with more details and prize info. 

The Most Popular Fishing Report in the Country

Want to get the latest intel on the fishing situation in Canterbury?

Sign up on this page here for the North Canterbury and Central South Island Fish & Game Weekly Fishing report.

Going out to almost 40,000 anglers every Thursday afternoon, it's the most popular Fish & Game report in New Zealand timed to arrive to help you plan your weekend fishing.

Tight Lines

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game.

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