Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 25th October 2019

  • North Canterbury Central South Island
  • 24/10/2019
  • Richie Cosgrove

Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 25th October 2019

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. 

The weather has been messy this week. 

At the time of writing (Wednesday), almost all the rivers were running a little high and discoloured. 

This should settle down by the weekend. 

Right: Flynn Brakey with the result of a successful 2018 high country opening at the Henrietta Lakes.

The weather for the weekend is back to a North West flow. 

This will bring some more rain to the main divide later on Sunday.

So what are the prospects for the weekend? 

The main alpine rivers will probably be marginal for fishing. 

There is a fair amount of snow around the moment which will delay the clearing. 

There has been some sea run trout active at the mouths over the last couple of weeks. 

A lot of this depends on the whitebait. 

Rivers are a bit cold this week due to the recent rain and snow, but they may get a lift in temperature on the weekend as the air temperature will be quite warm. 

Conditions will be pleasant for fishing at the mouths and that alone is a good reason to get out.

Foothill streams such as the Ashley and Selwyn received a lift in flows this week. 

The Selwyn is flowing at 5 cumecs right from the hills to the lake at the moment. 

Which is a rare occurrence during the fishing season. 

Lake Ellesmere is also open to the sea.

This means that as the lake drops it creates a better flow in the lower Selwyn near the huts.

If the lake is high the river tends to back up and become quite stagnant.

This will mean the present conditions will make it ideal for softbaiting which I will explain later.

Back country fishing is going to be challenging this weekend.

Rivers will be high and clear, but the wind is going to be strong.

Not ideal for fly fishing.

There will be some rain on Sunday afternoon. 

Towards the middle of next week, the weather looks to be a lot more settled and a high will bring calm conditions to the back country.

High Country Opening

The first Saturday in November marks the opening of high-country lakes in the North Canterbury Region. 

This year it lands on the 2nd of November. 

This opening tends to have more hype than the traditional October 1st opening. 

This is because the high-country lakes collectively make a large proportion of angling effort in this region.

The purpose of the delayed opening is to give fish a decent break from angling pressure.

Particularly those lakes which have rainbows present as they spawn in September/October.

The high-country lakes are looking good this year. 

Lake levels are full due to some late snow falls and rain this winter. 

In early November trout will be cruising the edges. 

In windy conditions they will be in the waves feasting on nymphs that get disturbed in the wave action. 

This provides good opportunities for the shore angler.

As well as the lakes, the Porter and Broken Rivers also open on the 2nd of November. 

These are mainly dominated by rainbows hence the later opening. 

These are fast broken rivers with not much holding water. 

However, rainbows do hold just out of the current and can be hard to spot. 

So, any likely looking water should be fished blind. 

Please remember that the Ryton, Harper, Avoca and Wilberforce diversion are still closed until the 1st of December. 

This is because the spawning run of rainbows in these fisheries can be very late.

Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition

This year, the opening of the North Canterbury high country lakes is Saturday 2nd 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 many spot prizes. 

The competition will be based at Ryton Bay 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 to hold the competition in the paddock on the left as you head down to Ryton Bay. 

The paddock on the right is being sown with grass so that will be locked. 

If you are staying the night please take all your rubbish with you, use the toilet down at the lake and no dogs are allowed due to lambing.

Thanks, and good luck for the competition.

Technique of the week

Softbaiting the lower Selwyn

WFR 1 Lower Selwyn River. Ideal water for softbaiting

Lower Selwyn River, ideal water for softbaiting

In years like this one when the Selwyn has a god flow, the lower reaches can be rich with life including smelt, whitebait and bullies. 

This combined with the lake and the canal like reaches of the lower Selwyn can create some fantastic habitat for breeding large fish.

The character of the lower river lends itself to softbaiting. 

The river is deep and slow moving from the mouth to about 5km upstream above the upper huts. 

This section can be fished a lot like the canals in the Mackenzie.  

There is a stop bank that follows the river giving easy elevated access. 

Soft baits should be reasonable light. 

Probably a 1/12oz or a 1/16oz jig head would be ideal. 

The baits should be natural colours to imitate smelt or bullies. 

Paddle tail baits are best for bullies, while the larger softbaits with a well defined definition of the belly would be good for smelt.

As the angler works upstream, these should be cast at a 45 degree angle upstream with a slow retrieve letting the current carry down the bait opposite and slightly downstream of the angler.

Remember the most important thing with soft baiting is to keep the line tight and maintain “contact” with the lure. 

Takes on softbaits can feel very soft especially with the larger trout.

There is plenty of water to cover here. 

Sometimes the water at the mouth can be murky, but this shouldn’t deter anglers as the fish numbers are high enough to justify fishing blind. 

Further upstream near the upper huts fish can be spotted from an elevated position on bright sunny days. 

A light North Wester is ideal for fishing the lower Selwyn as the large trees on the true right provide some shelter. 

An Easterly wind can be horrible as it tends to blow straight down the river, creating a ripple on the surface that can make spotting trout difficult.

Tight lines.

Tony Hawker

Fish and Game Officer

North Canterbury Fish and Game Council

More Posts