Central South Island & North Canterbury Weekly fishing report for September 29 2022

  • North Canterbury Central South Island
  • 29/09/2022
  • Richie Cosgrove


Welcome Back

Welcome to the first Central South Island (CSI) weekly fishing report for the 2022/2023 sports fishing season, soon to open this Saturday - the first of October!

This weekly report is written by the staff at CSI Fish & Game for your benefit.

Above Right: Lake Opuha is a great option for fishing opening day and the October school holidays-Photo: Richard Cosgrove

If you want to get in touch with any suggestions for report content, questions, or pass on your Central South Island-based fishing stories and photos, feel free to email me, Rhys Adams: radams@fishandgame.org.nz

Outlook for Opening

The focus on opening day for many will be the re-opening of our lowland waterways, although some anglers do celebrate the opening at other year-round fisheries that offer great fishing at this time of year, like Lake Benmore.

Lake Opuha and the Opihi River and tributaries usually see a good number of anglers out and about for opening, as does the Waitaki River – especially by those anglers that launch their jet boats at Kurow.

If you’re new to fishing the Waitaki River, please read our Waitaki access guide here for tips on managing your fishing trips around fluctuating flow levels — flow levels can be viewed at ECan flow website here.

Be sure to refer to your new 2022/23 regulation guide, as many of our waterways remain closed until CSI’s high country opening on the 5th of November.

The weather for the opening weekend is look pretty darn good!

However, region-wide rainfall is predicted for Thursday and Friday – so it will pay to check the Environment Canterbury’s river flow and rainfall website before heading out.

In many cases, fishing a receding flow after a small rain event is a great option – especially for those spin or bait fishing small rivers and streams.

Higher flows can deliver more food for trout actively picking food items out of the drift, and this can mean trout are easier to catch when compared to low flow conditions.

Some extra ‘colour’ in the water associated with high flows can help, too, as the fish have a lower chance of figuring out that your lure is unnatural.

For tips on worm fishing local rivers, check out page 81 of Fish & Game Magazine here.

WFR2223.02 Opihi River near SH1 just a couple days before opening 3 trout were spotted in this run Photo by Rhys Adams

Opihi River near SH1 just a couple days before opening - three trout were spotted in this run' - Photo by Rhys Adams

Opening Day this year falls smack-bang on the first day of the school holidays.

I’m forecasting that the kids will need some outdoors entertaining – why not take them fishing?

The easiest form of trout fishing for kids is bait or spin fishing from a lake shore. Garden worms or shrimp/prawns are good options for bait.

Lakes Opuha, Waitaki, Benmore and Tekapo a worth a trip with the kids this October.

If you are stumped for a spot to fish, then please review our location and access information including access maps for our popular waters, Click here.

The new 2022/2023 season

There are a few important matters to cover as we head into Opening Day on October 1st.

Firstly, be sure to get your new 2022/2023 season sports fishing licence, valid from 1 October.

With the new season opening on 1 October, that means every person needs a new season 2022/2023 licence as all past-season 2021/2022 licences expire on 30 September.

Licences can be purchased from the Fish & Game NZ website, click here, and in-store from your local licence agent.

If you usually get a ‘Loyal Senior’ licence, be sure to tell the sales assistant that information, as they will be unaware of your licence buying history.

Please note that there is now a $5 charge for the sea-run salmon endorsement/ season bag card; this is to cover the cost of printing and postage.

Your sea-run salmon season bag limit cards will arrive in the mail separately from your fishing licence card, typically many days later.

You will receive a temporary salmon bag card by email to print out and carry in the meantime.

As with backcountry endorsements, you can obtain a sea-run salmon endorsement any time after purchasing a whole season licence by visiting our endorsement webpage here.

Regulation changes for the new 2022/23 season

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

Here is a summary of the regulation changes for waterways that have open seasons in October 2022:

Ohau River Backcountry Fishery – controlled period for October

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.

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

Wairepo Arm and Kellands Pond

Fishing from non-motorised boats is permitted.

Central South Island Fish and Game Notice Board:

Waitaki River Access Advisory – Old Slip Road 

Access Point 18. The landowner at the “powerlines” access point on Old Slip Road has advised that access is closed for lambing; access re-opens on Saturday, 8th October. 

Please respect these provisions to ensure we can enjoy ongoing angler access to these areas that cross private land. 

This access advisory applies to access point 18, as displayed in the Waitaki Access Guide here

Te Ana a Wai River (Tengawai) – instream works advisory

Opuha Water Limited has notified that instream works are required to re-establish a flood-damaged irrigation pipe that passes under the bed of Te Ana a Wai River.

Anglers can expect temporary discolouration of the river from Monday, 3rd October, in the lower 3km of the river from about Maze Road (Murphy’s Ford) to the confluence of the Opihi River. 

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer


It’s time to go Fishing! 

FGNZ7906AAAfter a long and very wet winter, this Saturday is time to dust off the cobwebs, break out the fishing gear and hit the water. 

We’ve been spared the disastrous flooding that the top of the South Island has had, and the abundance of water has undoubtedly helped our fisheries prepare for the summer. 

Nearly 200 anglers showed their keenness for the new fishing season by attending the second annual Trout Festival in Christchurch. 

Run in conjunction with the Canterbury Flyfishing club; anglers came from far and wide (some travelling from the west coast and South Canterbury) to learn from some skilled presenters. 

Check out the video here to see what went down, and if you couldn’t attend, we’ll be running another Trout festival next year in September 2023. 

Outlook for Opening Day

Saturday’s weather is looking cool but clearing, so perfect for the first day of the season, and being the first day of the school holidays, it makes it a great family activity.

Lake Ellesmere was opened to the sea this week, meaning all those sea run trout will have been able to enter the lake. 

The lowland fisheries that feed into the lake have had consistent flows all winter and will be very enticing to fish patrolling around the lake. 

The big rivers in the region have all seen good flows and are looking in excellent condition. 

New signage 


Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson placing new signage in the Lewis Pass area.

North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson has been out braving the elements repairing and replacing angler access signs around the region. 

You can read about our signage update here: 

With over 400 access signage points in the North Canterbury region, Harry will be busy for some months to come, but keep an eye out for him out and about in the region. 

Salmon returns 

With our rivers running later than those further south, our annual salmon report only went to the council in September. 

A summary of the report says: Overall, 9438 salmon endorsements were issued to anglers, much higher than the previous year’s estimates for active salmon anglers. 

The cost of sending out all those cards to anglers necessitated the introduction of a $5 charge on the 2022/23 salmon endorsement.

The fee is specifically to recover the cost of producing the season bag limit cards, which is a fundamental tool to manage the season bag limit and harvest. It provides us with the robust harvest information we need. The regional and National Councils decided that this fee was the fairest way to recover the costs associated with the sea-run salmon season bag limit. 

Salmon escapement counts were conducted between March and July 2022 in the Rakaia catchment), Waimakariri catchment, Hurunui catchment and Waiau catchment. 

Escapement numbers were estimated to be 3217 salmon on the Rakaia and 548 on the Waimakariri. 

The salmon bag harvest card provided a new resource for gathering valuable information on salmon anglers and salmon harvest.

22656 FG Salmon Harvest Card Updates Jul22 Sample22

The new 2022/23 Season Bag Limit Card

 However, voluntary card returns of only 11% highlighted the need for email prompts and extra phone surveys to complete harvest estimates.

From all harvest returns and estimates, an estimated 453 salmon were harvested from the Rakaia, and the harvest proportion of the total run is estimated to be 12.3%. 

An estimated 150 salmon were harvested from the Waimakariri, and the harvest proportion of the total run is estimated to be 21.5%. 

Overall, both rivers saw a reduction in harvest by over 20% from the previous season and a reduction of over 30% from average harvest proportions between 1993 and 2021. 

With these results, we can confidently say that the introduction of the season bag limit has successfully helped in constraining salmon harvest. 

In addition, the difficulties that arose during this new process have allowed us to make improvements across the board for next season to significantly improve the ease and accuracy of harvest estimates going forward. 

Regulation Changes 

The main regulation changes for the coming 2022/23 fishing season in North Canterbury are: 

-       The Broken and Porter Rivers will remain open till May 31 each season.

-       No salmon can be harvested from Lake Sumner and Loch Katrine

-       The bag limit on the Childrens fishing lakes will drop to one fish

-       The bag limit on Lake Coleridge is four sports fish to clarify the confusing regulations that existed prior. 

North Canterbury Fish and Game Notice Board:

-       North Canterbury Fish and Game Council  Annual General Meeting 17 November, 6.30 pm at 595 Johns Road.

-       The Kids Fishing Charitable Trust's annual Take A Kid Fishing Day is 16 October.

-       High Country Opening Day is 5 November, and a Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition sponsored by Hunting & Fishing will be held this year.

-       A survey for women anglers will go out next week.

Tight Lines 

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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