North Canterbury Fishing Report 13th December 2018

  • North Canterbury
  • 13/12/2018
  • Richie Cosgrove

North Canterbury Fishing Report 13th December 2018

Welcome to the North Canterbury Fish and Game weekly fishing report, the season so far has been a bit patchy as far as good fishing conditions go but this weekend could be a real beaut.

Light winds are forecast in the region and no rain inland until the next Nor-West front arrives Sunday evening.

River conditions at present are looking pretty good with lowland streams holding good flows and the main snow fed rivers are discoloured but fishable.

Above Right: Lake Coleridge is still producing nice landlocked salmon weighing around 1.3 kgs

There will be a good spell of fishable flows in the main salmon rivers until Monday when the next Nor-West front is forecast so get out and make the most of it this weekend.

The trout season to date has been pretty good.

The high country lakes are fishing very well and the main stem rivers are starting to produce trout in the tidal reaches.

There is great potential for some fantastic fishing at this time of year.

Sea run trout fishing maybe building to a peak as bait fish enter the river mouths, the high country is warming up which means more terrestrial surface feeding for fly anglers, and the first salmon of the season are in the rivers now. 

So for a change anglers are spoilt for choice this weekend, where to go?

The Ashley River is also producing some nice fish in the lower and upper reaches so that will certainly be worth a look especially with the good flows at present.

The Ashley caters for all types of anglers, fly, spin and bait in the Eastern zone.

Streamer patterns are also fished in the dark for sea run trout in the lower tidal reaches.

Rapalas and Veltics for spin fishing would be my choice.

The Ashley river trout really are beautiful looking fish and are certainly a prize catch for anglers.  

The upstream gorge area above Lees Valley will also offer some quality angling.

This area holds some very good fish, some of them can be double figured.

They are usually caught on weighted nymphs by the fly angler, or small blade spinners by the spin angler.

All our High Country Lakes are worth a look, the dry fly indicator nymph method is the most effective for fly anglers.

I like to use a Humpy pattern or Manuka Beetle as the indicator, with a small Hare and Copper or Black and Peacock nymph about 700 mm below, the length of trace will depend on the depth of water.

On a good day the Trout will be on the dry fly another tip worth remembering is when the trout are being selective try something unusually big.

A large Black Gnat or Cicada pattern, size 10# or even 8# can surprise.

On field work in the Hurunui Lakes area this week, Manuka beetles were on the wing.

These iridescent green beauties certainly make for some very exciting fishing.

They will be on the wing around 10 am if there is a breeze to dry their wings.

On a good day trout can be seen slurping and gorging themselves on these beetles.

A good imitation with that iridescent green reflection will provide some exceptional fishing.

For anglers looking to fly fish for challenging trout, in one of the regions most beautiful river valleys, the Hope and Boyle rivers have some very large Browns to try your luck with.

Generally these fish are caught on weighted nymphs with a long leader with a small dry indicator.

However on a light to medium wind day they may be fooled with a large Black Gnat or something outrageously big crash landing on the water

The searun trout are present now in the lower reaches of our snow fed rivers.

Both the Waimakariri and Rakaia River tidal areas are producing trout at present.

One or two days after a fresh, and in the evening or night is the best time to catch them.

Streamer style patterns are the best, try Parsons Glory, Black Prince, or Hopes Silvery.

The Black Prince is often a forgotten lure these days, but I wouldn’t be with out it, a simple pattern but very effective.

Please note that there are a number of small two year old trout being caught around the bridges on the Waimakariri River at present.

For the future of the fishery these small trout, although just of legal size, should really be released to grow another year.

If you are catching and releasing these little ones, please handle them as little as possible and very carefully before gently releasing.

Any Salmon About? 

Anglers are reporting seeing salmon in the Rakaia River the past week or so.

There have been a few caught over the last two weeks but only a few.

As river conditions improve daily there maybe more evidence of salmon being present.

Please remember that if you catch a salmon (only in the Rakaia in November and December) Fish and Game would like you to keep the head of the fish in your freezer for staff to collect.

Please contact Steve Terry on 021 221 8327 these early run salmon samples may hold very important information for enhancing numbers in the catchment, ultimately providing anglers with more fish to catch.   

Out of Region Angling

Remember that if you are on holiday and fishing outside the North Canterbury Region over the summer that regulations do differ from region to region.

Limit bags, methods etc may not be the same!

Consult your regulation guide before you go fishing to be sure.

Restoration Project


Fish & Game officer Emily Moore at work restoring tributaries of the Selwyn River.

Christmas is just around the corner!

We wanted to let you know about a really cool way for you to get your Christmas presents sorted and support our project to restore a tributary of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River at the same time!

Check out our fundraising page on the Million Metres website to read more about Water & Wildlife Habitat Trust’s plans to restore 875 metres of the Silverstream tributary through restoration of the rivers banks and planting of native plants and trees.

We’re really excited about the project and the positive impact it will have on local waterways.

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us through donations – we’ve already raised over $13,000 toward the project!

Another cool way you can support us is to buy your Christmas presents from Million Metres. 

Check out the Million Metres Christmas page here

Here's how it works: 

1) You buy a bundle of native trees - between 4 and 200 trees - and pick which project you want them planted at - pick Selwyn/Waikirikiri River!! 

2) You receive a nice e-card to gift to your loved one

3) Your trees get planted next winter as part of our Silverstream project and get to work restoring our precious local waterways 

It's a great way to give a 'green' gift that will have a positive impact for our local area. Give trees!! 

Thanks so much for your ongoing support and best wishes for a very happy summer. 

We'll look forward to updating you on progress on the project in the new year.

 Please Contact Emily Arthur – Moore North Canterbury Fish & Game 021 221 8332

Another good idea for a Xmas present is a fishing licence.

This maybe the perfect gift for encouraging friends or family into experiencing not only our amazing resource of beautiful rivers and lakes, but also the thrill of a fish screaming line from a reel.

The more people hooked on fishing, the more people we have respecting and advocating for the protection of our precious sports fishery resource.

Tight lines all! Go Fish!

Dirk Barr, North Canterbury Fish


North Canterbury Fish & Game

Field Officer

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