Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 28th September 2018

  • North Canterbury
  • 28/09/2018
  • Richie Cosgrove

Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 28th September 2018

Hello and welcome to the first North Canterbury region fishing report for the 2018/19 fishing season. 

Opening day is on a Monday this year so it may not suit everyone but I am sure some of you will be taking the day off or at least going for a fish in the evening after work. 

Above: An idyllic looking lower Selwyn on a sunny afternoon just a few days before opening.

So, what are opening day prospects looking like?  Well over the last couple of weeks Fish & Game staff have been in the high country working on a salmon project. 

I can tell you that the back country rivers look fantastic at the moment.  They are relatively low for this time of year.

The water is clear and stable and there is a nice lining of algae covered rocks on the edges suggesting there has not been a flood for many weeks. 

This is great news for trout feeding up after the spawning months.  They should be in great condition come Monday.

Unfortunately there is some heavy rain forecast on Sunday evening for the high country. 

It is possible that it may dump most of the rain further south before it gets to our region. 

It would pay to check the flows and rainfall on the Environment Canterbury website before leaving in the morning.

The actual forecast on Monday is clearing with a South West change. 

This will mean quite a nice day around coastal areas and lowland Canterbury. 

The high country will probably be windy but fine.

So with heavy rain in the divide it could mean the main alpine rivers come down dirty later on Monday. 

This does provide a window in the morning for those targeting the river mouths and lower reaches. 

Just don’t get caught out from rising waters if you are out in the riverbed!

Lowland streams will be unaffected by the NW weather and will remain clear and fishable for opening. 

These would be a good option for fly anglers not wanting to compete with the wind up country. 

They have healthy clear flows at the moment and do contain fish. 

Lake Ellesmere has been open for the last couple of weeks which would have meant an influx of trout and things they like to eat such as smelt and whitebait. 

So far I haven’t managed to spot many fish in the lower Selwyn River but there will be some there. 

The river is looking very fishable at the moment with just a light smothering of weed on the bottom. 

Monday evening would be the best time to target these fish.

Foot hill streams such as the Ashley and Selwyn should not be affected by the rain further West. 

The flows in these streams at the moment is perfect for fishing. 

They are a bit low for this time of year so early season is probably best before they get too low and warm.

Remember that rivers such as the Ashley and Hurunui have many kilometres of fishable water in the middle reaches that offer some superb trout, so it isn’t always necessary to crowd the top of these catchments.

For those heading into the high country, as above, just have a final check of river flows first thing Monday morning.  Be prepared for some wind, a South Wester can be unpredictable at times. 

Nowadays with ultra light spinning and soft bait gear this method can be just as effective in the high country as fly fishing and can be a better option on those windy days.

The weather will be improving slightly mid week, but will then be building North West again by the end of the week. 

Nothing unusual for October most people who have fished in Canterbury for many years will be used to the wind.

Remember the majority of lakes will not be open on Monday. 

Only Loch Katrine, Lake Sumner, Forsyth and Ellesmere will be open. 

The other high country lakes will open on the first Saturday of November which is the 3rd of November not the 4th as stated in our regulations. 

So to be clear the regulations are a mistake and the high country opening as always will be open on the first Saturday which this year is the 3rd of November.

Silverstream Restoration Project


Emily Arthur-Moore is leading the restoration of the Silverstream

Fish & Game and the Water & Wildlife Habitat Trust are in the process of running a crowd funding campaign for the restoration of Silverstream.

Silverstream is an important trout spawning and rearing tributary of the Selwyn/ Waikirikiri River.

Better habitat in this stream will lead to more fish for you to catch in the Selwyn!

Visit for more information including a short video about the project.

If your browser does not like this link simply visit the Million Meters Stream website and look up the Silverstream project.

Any donation, no matter how small, will bring us a step closer to achieving our goal.

We also have opportunities for those who want to get their hands dirty and volunteer on the project.

Email Emily on to get on our volunteers database.

All the best for opening

Tony Hawker

Fish and Game Officer

North Canterbury Fish and Game Council

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