Reel Life September 2020

  • West Coast
  • 18/09/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Reel Life September 2020

New Season Opportunities

With border restrictions in place there will be reduced angling pressure this season, anglers therefore can expect to find an increase in catchability of trout.

This season is the perfect time to introduce someone new to the sport, with their likelihood of success higher.

Right: Christopher McLoughlin winter fishing at Lake Brunner. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

Reports of large trout remaining from last season are circling so if you didn’t manage to connect with one last season, you might be still in luck!

It has been a very mild and relatively stable winter, resulting in favourable spawning conditions.

Therefore, the West Coast fisheries should be in good shape both this season and the next couple as this year’s offspring mature.

That being said, trout are known to predate on their young, so a good spot to try for a large trout is where spawning streams enter larger waterbodies.

There is no change to sportfishing regulations for the 2020-21 season but be sure to refresh yourself with regulations to be sure you don’t get caught out making a fool of yourself.


A trout recently caught in the lower reaches of the Grey River in great condition. (Photo Baylee Kersten)

Spring Angling Spots

Come October, anglers are typically quick to go check out headwaters and spring creeks rested over winter.

What should not be forgotten is the lower reaches and the lakes, which are both locations where trout will have return to post spawning and are now aggressively feeding to regain weight.

It’s not uncommon for lower reaches of rivers to produce 5-10 pound trout on the Coast so be sure to check your knots!

Winter angling was popular this year, and given the success many anglers had, they’ll likely be back.

Their success is also great news for those of us who gave the rod a rest over winter, as the fishing is only going to get better as the water warms up so we have some good angling coming our way.

Lake Ianthe Salmon Releases


Salmon being released into Lake Ianthe May 2020. (Photo Dean Kelly)

Lake Ianthe has again been enhanced, with over 5,000 juvenile salmon being released.

The salmon will likely predate on the blooming Rudd benefiting both anglers and the lake's ecosystem.

Results so far are very encouraging with both the lake resident, and migratory fish providing some excellent fishing over the past 5 years.

Field Work Update

Spawning Surveys were completed over late autumn and winter for both salmon and trout.

Salmon numbers were around or above average in South Westland, meanwhile our local rivers seen salmon spawning in non-traditional sites and resulted in below average counts.

As for trout spawning surveys, some exceptionally large trout were observed spawning and good numbers of them, so there should be plenty of fry about with bigger hens typically producing a lot more eggs.

Over the winter, staff tidied up existing access signage and add a few additional sites, so be sure to keep an eye out for them!

Lastly Fish in Schools up running again on the West Coast with Lake Brunner School rearing trout in their classroom.

Best of luck for the 2020-21 fishing season from the crew here at West Coast Fish & Game!

Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.

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