Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 4th October 2019

  • North Canterbury
  • 3/10/2019
  • Richie Cosgrove

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. 

Well the weather for opening day this year was challenging to say the least. 

Most of the water was dirty due to some heavy rain the day before around the main divide.  All the main alpine rivers were high and dirty. 

There is more rain forecast for Saturday as another front moves up the country. 

This is meant to bring rain and snow to the high country. 

Conditions are meant to improve on Sunday with sunny conditions and South West winds dying out. 

Just like opening day, clear water may be challenging to find.

At the time of writing (Thursday,) all the main alpine rivers are falling after a reasonable sized fresh at the start of the week. 

All these rivers will be marginal for fishing and will largely depend on how much rain falls tomorrow and Saturday. 

The Rakaia seems to be the one dropping the most.

Back country rivers are flowing high with only the top of the catchments having fishable water.  Fish are hard to spot but they are there in the quitter water.  Sunday will be the best day for the high country.

Technique of the Week

Too windy for casting a fly, try softbaiting. 

Opening day conditions this year were not ideal for anglers who usual stalk the trout and cast a fly upstream to unsuspecting trout. 

The rivers were full, some were dirty, and the overhead cloud and windy conditions made spotting trout very difficult. 

Above Right: Likely looking water-The soft bait is worked through the quieter water on the right before exploring the water on the other side

As much as I prefer fly fishing to other techniques sometimes you just find yourself on a river during a day that is not suitable for that style of angling. 

It may be that you have planned this trip for a long time, or it is your only day that you have free for a while. 

On these occasions it is wise to always have a spinning rod and a few soft baits on hand. 

Mine never leaves the vehicle so I don’t have to consciously think about packing it. 

It is a cheap four piece spinning rod loaded with bright green braid.  Mainly set up as a canal rod for the kids, in can be very effective at fishing small to medium sized rivers.

My favourite is a paddle tail with a 1/12 oz jig head.  

I often go for green or golden colours with a pail underbelly. 

Generally, quite realistic colours. 

This is light enough to be able to fish a slow retrieve without it snagging. 

It is just heavy enough to be able to cast, even with my cheap rod.

Often when I am fishing with this set up, I am not spotting fish. 

I am more likely to just be casting into likely eddies or quite water just out of the main current. 

The most important thing is to make sure there is no slack line. 

You need to be in “contact” with the lure so you can feel the takes, which are sometimes very subtle.

Most of the time if I am fishing smaller water, I just lift the rod up high so the braid is out of the water and it is just the fluorocarbon tippet that is in the water.

 This works well when you are casting to quieter water on the other side and you don’t want the current in the middle to drag the lure from where you want it to be.

WFR 2 A well placed cast and high rod tip means the small calm piece of water on the other side of the fast flowing water can explored with a soft bait. Sure enough there was a fish there

A well placed cast and high rod tip means the small calm piece of water on the other side of the fast flowing water can explored with a soft bait. Sure enough there was a fish there

Once you have cast to these places all you need to do then is a slow wind to keep in contact with the lure and give it some action.

The great thing about softbaits is that this retrieve can be slow as it doesn’t take much speed to give the tail an action.

So, you can often retrieve it slower than the current.  Meaning it is in the strike zone for longer.

Likely water can be quickly covered with a couple of casts and then you can move on upstream as you would when staking trout. 

Try this technique next time the conditions are too arduous for fly fishing. 

WFR 3 Blaze watches with interest as a well conditoned young fish is quickly photographed then released

Blaze watches with interest as a well conditioned young fish is quickly photographed then released.

You may find you are surprised the results. 

It is also an exciting method that has many similarities to fly fishing.

Early season conditions usually mean windy days and rivers that have heavy or dirty flows. 

This technique allows you to get out early season rather than sitting back waiting for a perfectly winless day. 

Any day out on the river is surely better than being at home or going to work!


20 October  -  The annual Take A Kid Fishing day is on at the Groynes, bring along your young (and not so young) ones for a great family day of fishing.

26 November - Hunting and Fishing Tower Junction will be hosting their annual salmon night, kicking off at 6.30pm at the store, come along for an evening of interesting info about the upcoming salmon season.

Tight lines.

Tony Hawker

Fish and Game Officer

North Canterbury Fish and Game Council

More Posts