Reel Life September 2022

  • Nelson/Marlborough
  • 15/09/2022

Reel Life September 2022


Making a prediction on how the fisheries may be going into a new season is always challenging, however let’s take a quick glance anyway.

The winter has not exactly been a good one in the top of the South, with periodic rainfalls meaning it was, in fact, one of the wettest winters on record.

There was one notable rain event that will be remembered by those who live in East Nelson and the Rai/Pelorus area for a long time to come, however many of the other rain events over winter, though regular, were of relatively minor nature.

Starting with the Pelorus catchment, there is little doubt the resident trout population would have taken a beating, including this year’s recruitment, however, trout always surprise us with their tenacity (as shown in the Motueka last year), and we won’t know until the reports start flowing in and some drift dives are completed.

The Wairau catchment has had a rough ride over the past few years through a series of high water and low water events.

As such, the fishery is definitely in a rebuilding phase, and the likes of the once stable Goulter River are expected to have lower numbers of fish than what we were accustomed to for this favourite backcountry water.

In fact, reports from this river have been very poor over the last couple of seasons.

The Motueka catchment is probably the pick of the region in terms of lowland waterways.

Even though the water has barely been fishable since May, floods have been relatively minor in nature over the course of the winter, and anglers are reporting a few fish about in the open water winter fishery during September.

There are, of course, a number of great tributaries that should hold decent numbers of fish.

Our array of wilderness waters are accustomed to short, sharp flood events, which are a feature of mountainous terrain, and generally clear quickly, and we expect these to be in fairly reasonable shape.

So, the best thing you can do is head to your favourite waterway and enjoy Opening Day regardless of what has gone before or what others say.

Of course, October 1 falls on a Saturday this season, meaning there may be more anglers out than usual, so if you bump into others, remember to be considerate and come up with an amicable plan where everyone gets a chance at some fish.

Let’s hope for a continuation of the fine weather leading up to October 1. Tight lines!

Above Right: Incredible scenes in the Rai Valley area, with a once-in-a-generation flood event.


The Annual Fisheries Report is now available online.

To check out what your F&G team got up to over the 2021-22 season, click here.


Kokorua farm cleanup

The Kokorua clean-up team.

Following the massive Rai/Pelorus flood event, Fish & Game has organised some farm clean-up days on properties that were badly affected.

The Nelson Trout Fishing Club have been instrumental in providing assistance here, as they did with the Motueka flood event last year.

So far, we have been on a property at Kokorua and in the Opouri Valley, clearing debris from fences and removing woody material off paddocks.

We expect to undertake more days over the coming month, so if you want to get involved, email Jacob Lucas here.



Staff and voluntary rangers recently undertook safety training in Nelson.

We recently held our tri-annual Situational Safety and Tactical Communications course in Nelson, attended by 16 rangers (voluntary and staff).

Though things rarely go wrong regarding compliance matters in this region, our staff and volunteers do have to be prepared in the event that our compliance interactions do go wrong.

Nearly all our rangers are voluntary, are passionate about our angling and hunting resource and want to give back.

This season, we will be increasing our compliance efforts across the region, particularly so on our ‘backcountry rivers’, so expect a friendly face to come for a chat at some point this season.

Tight Lines

Jacob Lucas, Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game

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