Fishing Report for the North Canterbury Fish & Game Thursday 22nd October 2020

  • North Canterbury
  • 22/10/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Fishing Report for the North Canterbury Fish & Game Thursday 22nd October 2020

At long last the weather looks to be good for fishing over the weekend. 

The forecast is for warm conditions and light winds for both the high country and the plains Friday and Saturday, with winds likely to pick up from the west on Sunday followed by another nor-west front spilling over the alps in our headwater catchments making the rivers un-fishable again. 


Above Right: Lake Coleridge on a rare windless day, let’s hope for a similar opening day this year!

Saturday should see perfect conditions for fishing some of the high-country lakes that were opened on the 1st October this year such as Pearson, Taylor, Lyndon and Selfe. 

Most of the rivers were running high earlier this week, but have dropped and should be in great condition for the weekend.

Headwater and back country fisheries will be clear and fishable and would be a great place to get to this weekend with the favourable weather forecast.

Foothill streams are running high and clear and Ellesmere tributaries such as the LII, Halswell and Harts Creek would all be well worth a look in the warm evenings coming this weekend. 

High Country Opening

The traditional high-country opening is only two weeks away and this means that all of the high-country lakes will be open to fishing.

The lakes are looking in good condition and levels are very full after the late snowfalls this year.

Trout numbers appear to be very good with lots of fish seen cruising around the edges.

Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition

This year, the opening of the North Canterbury high country lakes is Saturday 7th  November, which will be celebrated again with a fishing competition at Lake Coleridge, with a great prize pool generously sponsored by Hunting and Fishing.

The focus of the competition is on participation, and every angler who shows their licence at the weigh-in will be in the draw for spot prizes.

The competition will be based at the Ryton Bay Bridge where there will be a Fish & Game tent and weigh station.

Weigh-in is from 9am – 1pm, with the prize draw around 1:30pm.

Please ensure you arrive at the weigh-in before 1pm to avoid missing out.

All fish must be caught in Lake Coleridge or the nearby Coleridge lakes.

They must be whole and not gutted for the weigh-in.

There will be a free sausage sizzle all day. Lake Coleridge is the most popular lake in the region for fishing and this event is a great way for anglers to celebrate the traditional high-country opening. 

Please note that the landowners are giving us permission for anglers to camp in the paddocks either side of the road at the Ryton Bay Bridge.

If you are staying the night please take all your rubbish with you, use the toilets provided by Fish & Game and no dogs are allowed due to lambing.

Technique of the week - catching fish in the Coleridge lakes on opening day

Fish & Game have now been running the competition at Lake Coleridge on High country opening day for over eleven years now. 

Opening day on the Coleridge lakes can be mayhem. 

There are a lot of anglers present not driven so much by the competition itself, but rather the tradition of having an iconic opening day. 

NCFG WFR 20201022 Picture2

Lake Coleridge - Harper Delta and Oakden Canal in the distance, productive for shore anglers.

The number of anglers can sometimes reduce the odds of catching fish, but there are a couple of observations that we have made during the running of this competition.

Most fish are caught in Lake Coleridge by trolling from a boat. 

A large proportion of the catch are salmon which are generally caught by trolling, apart from a couple of spots around the Mt. Oakden/ Harper Delta end of the lake where shore anglers usually pick up a fish or two.

Most fish are caught at first light, the majority of anglers are spin fishing and this is usually the best time for that method. 

Also when there is an event attracting a lot of anglers, the fish often get spooked by the sheer number of shore anglers and will go off the bite.  

Often for high-country opening the weather is appalling and anglers are usually battling gloomy conditions and strong winds. 

The best area to fish for both spin and fly anglers alike in these conditions is at the windy end of the lake casting into the waves. 

When the waves are breaking into shore it stirs up a lot of food and trout can often be seen cruising in the waves actively feeding.

Thanks, and good luck if you are planning on heading up for the competition. 

Steve Terry, North Canterbury Fish and Game Officer.

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