North Canterbury Fishing Report, Friday 11th January 2019

  • North Canterbury
  • 10/01/2019
  • Richie Cosgrove

North Canterbury Fishing Report, Friday 11th January 2019

Angling conditions are proving a little trying this week, with strong winds and dirty rivers for much of the week.

Unfortunately conditions are not likely to improve in the near future, with heavy rain in the alps Wednesday night bringing the rivers down in another fresh.

Just as the rivers are due to become fishable again, another front is due to hit the alps on Sunday, so my prediction is that most of next week will also see dirty rivers.

Above Right: Surf Casting for salmon can be quite productive.

On a positive note, the lakes have been productive and Coleridge is still the standout.

The weather looks great for fishing the high country on Saturday, so make the most of the light winds and clear skies, with lake conditions ideal at present.

Between freshes, in the small window of opportunity, usually in the lower reaches of the main rivers, salmon fishing has started to improve with a small flurry earlier this week in the lower Hurunui, the first significant catch there this season.

Best reports are coming from the Rakaia River, I imagine there are also a few being caught in the Waiau River, however obtaining such information from locals is rare!

The Waimakariri has still been relatively quiet, with reports of only the odd salmon caught from the lower reaches, although there have been good numbers of kahawai about which has kept up many anglers interest.

These are often regarded as a poor quality eating fish, but with a bit of care and preparation, they make great eating.

Once caught, bleed them and place them on ice, once home take time to remove all the dark red flesh when filleting these fish and cook them that day fresh, you will be pleasantly surprised. 

Hopefully over the coming weeks the weather settles down and when it does, make the most of the early mornings and the evenings, especially while you are on a break from work through the remainder of the season.

We still hope to see reasonable numbers of salmon show up in all the rivers sometime over the next month, with the Waimakariri generally fishing well in the later half of the season.

For those of you new to the sport of salmon fishing and keen to have a go at fishing the surf for salmon, firstly spend some time practicing your cast on the local rugby field and see what distance you can cast.

Those who specialise in surf casting for salmon can cast up to 130-140 metres, with new-comers averaging 50-60 metres.

Secondly you need the conditions to be calm enough for you to cast once you get to the beach, so keep an eye on the surf report, with an off-shore breeze and less than one metre swell ideal.

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

Dirty water following a fresh sits on top of the salt water, 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.

It is also important to point out to those anglers intending to fish for salmon in salt water that they still need a licence if you are fishing within 500 metres of the river mouth.

Anglers often talk amongst themselves about the reasons why salmon are either abundant or scarce.

While no-one has any definitive answers, Fish & Game are trying to eliminate some of the variables that may reduce salmon survival chances in freshwater.

Staff have been working with ECan to ensure fish screens are working effectively, with a comprehensive monitoring program currently underway, and this will be ongoing to ensure minimal fish are diverted away from our rivers.

Fish & Game would like anglers to keep any salmon heads they catch in the Rakaia River this month, recording the date and location caught, weight, length and sex of the salmon.

Please let us know and we will collect these heads and catch information from you.

From analysing the otoliths (small ear bone with growth rings similar to a tree), we should be able to determine where they were born, determine at what size they entered the ocean and determine if their size differs significantly from salmon that arrive later in the season.

Weed Cutting on the LII

The LII Drainage Committee has informed us that weed cutting in the L2/Ararira River will commence on 14th January 2019 and continue through until 15th February 2019.

A barrier will be placed on the river 200m downstream of Wolfs Road boat ramp.

Should you require further information please contact Murray Tyson (weed cutting operator) on 027 628 5138 

Good luck if you are heading out for a fish over the weekend.

Steve Terry, North Canterbury Fish & Game officer


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