Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 18th January 2019

  • North Canterbury
  • 17/01/2019
  • Richie Cosgrove

Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 18th January 2019

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report, the weather this weekend will be dominated by a front moving up the West Coast on Saturday which will bring North West winds to Canterbury. 

On Sunday the weather changes to a cooler south westerly flow.

At this stage it is unclear how much rain this will bring to the Canterbury headwaters. 

The main bulk of rain is Saturday evening. 

Even if this rain is heavy it will take a while for the main alpine rivers to start rising in the lower reaches. 

This will give anglers an opportunity to target these rivers for salmon and sea run trout. 

Currently the rivers are ideal for salmon fishing and will continue to clear heading into Saturday. 

There are salmon being caught at the Hurunui and Rakaia and also good reports of sea run trout being caught.

Foot hill streams such as the Ashley and Selwyn are flowing well. 

The Selwyn has only just disappeared sub surface at State Highway One. 

There are still good flows further down at Coes and Chamberlains Ford.

High country fishing will be challenging with the wind this weekend. 

High country lakes are continuing to fish well and the windy conditions will only encourage trout feeding. 

They are often seen feeding in the waves as insects get stirred up by the wave action. 

The challenge can be casting into the wind if you are fly fishing. 

Often wading out and casting side ways is the best option. 

Spin anglers should target the rougher end of the lakes and cast into the wind. 

The trout can be in quite close in these conditions. 

Boat anglers will be able to tuck in in calmer areas. 

Fish are still rising well in calmer areas of the lakes.

Back country rivers will be low and clear heading into the weekend but they may receive some rainfall Saturday night and the conditions are going to be very windy. 

Not ideal conditions for fly anglers.

Recently we had a report of anglers jetboating the Hydra Waters which is the most significant spawning and rearing stream in our region. 

In the past there have been signs at the Hydra waters informing jet boaters that it is an offence to disturb spawning grounds. 

These signs had washed away in flood, so staff will be installing new ones next week. 

We do not have sings at all the spawning streams, they are just at the Hydra waters as jetboating there is a reasonably common occurrence. 

We urge anglers to use common sense at other areas such as spring creeks which are sensitive areas.

There are also some other rules that anglers should be aware of from the Environment Canterbury website. 

I’ve summarised these below

All boats in Canterbury – including jet skis – now need an identifying number or name on each side of the hull. The ID must be at least 9 centimetres high and visible from 50 metres away. It could be printed on a sticker from a sign shop or it could be painted on (see image below). 

What ID do I use?

  • If your boat is towed on a trailer, your ID will usually be the same as your trailer registration number.
  • If your boat is not towed on a trailer, your ID could be your VHF radio call sign or an existing Maritime New Zealand registration number.
  • If you belong to a sporting body or boat club, check with them as they may have had an ID approved by us already that you can use on your boat.

What are the exceptions?

Non-powered vessels (measuring six metres or less), paddle craft, and vessels solely powered by oars only need a contact name and phone number written somewhere on board.

It’s as simple as using a marker pen and writing it on.

This applies to stand-up paddleboards, row boats, sailing boats (if they are under 6 metres), canoes, kayaks, etc.

Unfortunately some bad news now. 

There have been a couple of outbreaks of toxic algae in the Ashley by the Rangiora bridge and the Waimakariri at the confluence with the Otukaikino.

There are also other access points along the Ashley / Rakahuri River that may have cyanobacteria present and people are advised to check for the presence of cyanobacteria and avoid contact.

People and animals, particularly dogs, should avoid these areas until the health warning has been lifted. 

Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says the algae look like dark brown to black mats and can produce toxins harmful to people and animals.

“Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips,” Dr Pink says.

“If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately, also let your doctor know if you’ve had contact with dark brown/black algal mats or water in this area.”

“No-one should drink the water from the river at any time, even after boiling the water from the river, it does not remove the toxin therefore should not be consumed,” Dr Pink says.

Pets should be taken to a vet immediately if they are showing signs of illness after coming into contact with algal mats.

People and animals should remain out of the waterways until the warnings have been lifted.

Environment Canterbury is monitoring the sites and the public will be advised of any changes in water quality.

Facts about cyanobacteria: 

  • Appears as dark brown/black mats attached to rocks along the riverbed
  • The algae occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months
  • It often has a strong musty smell and algal toxin concentrations can vary over short periods with changing environmental conditions
  • Although high river levels will remove the algal bloom, detached mats can accumulate along the shore and increase the risk of exposure to toxins
  • If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the water
  • Although district or city councils may place warning signs, these may not be seen at the numerous river access points, hence the need for people/ dog-walkers to treat every low-flowing river cautiously. 

For further information visit 

Tight lines.

Tony Hawker

Fish and Game Officer, North Canterbury Fish and Game Council

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