Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 6th March 2020

  • North Canterbury
  • 5/03/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Fishing report for the North Canterbury Region Friday 6th March 2020

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report, the weather looks to be quite reasonable this weekend. 

There is another front moving up the West Coast, but this won’t be until late Sunday. 

There may be some wind in the high country but other than that it looks very pleasant.

At the time of writing (Wednesday), there has been a small fresh come through the main alpine rivers. 

This is on top of the rain that fell in the headwaters last Friday. 

This will make the main salmon rivers unfishable for the next couple of days. 

They should be fishable by the weekend though. 

Salmon are being caught throughout all the rivers and this fresh will help get the fish moving through.

Hill fed streams are still very low.  There has been a little rain in these catchments but not enough to give them a lift and a fresh to clean out the periphyton growth. 

Trout in these streams will be taking refuge in the deeper pools and gorgy sections of the rivers.  When this happens trout can become challenging as they start circling and chasing each other.  Evening fishing can be successful.

High country lakes are continuing to fish well.  The wind does not look excessive this weekend so I would still go if I had the opportunity. 

March can provide some good fly-fishing action on the lakes as there is plenty of terrestrial insect life around.

Back country fisheries will be clear and fishable by the weekend. 

The rivers will have some much-needed flow in them after a low period. 

Especially in northern Canterbury where the rain fall has been substantially less than the Rakaia and Waimakariri catchments. 

Fish will be wary, but well-presented dry flies on the first cast should stand a good chance of success.

Technique of the week - Surf Fishing for Salmon


Surf casting for salmon

Those of you keen to have a crack in the surf for a salmon need to be aware of a couple of things.

Firstly you need the conditions to be calm enough for you to cast, so keep an eye on the surf report;, an off-shore breeze and a one meter swell would be ideal.

Then spend some time perfecting your cast before you head out into the surf.

Take your surf rod down to the local field and see what distance you can cast.

Those who specialise in surf casting for salmon can cast out to 130-140 meters, with newcomers averaging 50-60 meters.

Retrieve your line quickly and keep your gear high in the water - except for very dirty water.

Remember dirty fresh water sits on top of the saltwater, so a clear patch of water can appear from nowhere or you may be able to allow your gear to drop below the dirty layer.

North West rain and unfishable rivers is a regular occurrence in Canterbury, leaving the larger rivers high and dirty, and therefore unfishable.

A big flood will often push a number of salmon back out of the rivers, where they will clear the silt from the gills and begin their run over again.

These fish are called ‘wash backs’ and can generally be identified by the scraping on their undercarriage and tails.

Kahawai can be just as much fun and depending on who you talk to, just as tasty.

If bled and put in the chilli-bin with ice or a couple of frozen water bottles they make great eating.

These fish are under rated as an edible fish and make great eating a number of ways, either raw as sashimi dipped in a mix of soy sauce and wasabi or fried fresh that day and they are also great smoked.

I find that trimming the darker flesh off when preparing the fish before cooking ensures a much better-quality result. 


POSTER 2On Saturday 21st March the Little Rakaia Huts bi-annual Wild Food Festival is happening and the Entertainment committee who organise the event on behalf of the community have nominated the Little Rakaia Boating Club as one of the recipients of the funds raised.

It is a great day and a lot of fun.

Anyone that feels like a fun day out, trying out different foods, enjoying the entertainment and trying some of the activities offered are encouraged along to support the event. 

It is a BYO day so bring a rug or seats, some money for the raffles etc and have a fun day relaxing in the atmosphere of the event.

Tight lines

Tony Hawker

North Canterbury Fish & Game Council


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