Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island - 14-10-2021

  • Central South Island
  • 14/10/2021
  • Richie Cosgrove

Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island - 14-10-2021

The rain during the week bumped up flows in many of our rivers and streams which means there will be some great fishing options this weekend as flow drops back but there will also be a few rivers to avoid.

As always, the ECan river flows website provides great insight into river flows, most flow readings are updated every hour or two.

Outdoor Access provides many useful live stream webcam options in Canterbury too if you are willing to pay for the subscription.

They do offer a 30-day free trial if you want to check it out.

Weather-wise it's looking good for the weekend in the low country and coastal areas with Saturday being the pick of the days.

A westerly front will nail the main divide over the weekend and may bring some gusty winds and rain to the high country – especially on Sunday.

River fishing

The Opihi River and its tributaries fishes well as flows drop back, a little bit of haze is great for spin and worm fishing.

Above Right: The author caught this big Opihi tributary brown on a size 16 parachute Adams fly.

If you can only sight fish the shallow edges due to hazy water, it’s still worth a try as brown trout will often feed in the calm shallow edges.   

The flows of the Opuha River and Opihi River below the Opuha River junction will be dependent on how water is managed/released from Lake Opuha.

My take on the Opihi River and its tributaries this season is that it’s a year with good numbers of big fish.

Expect to catch 4 to 6 pounders this season, so don’t go too light on your tippet strength.

Fly anglers, keep some mayfly dry and emerger patterns at the ready, there have been some rewarding mayfly hatches this October and I have had luck on a #16 parachute Adams dry fly.

Expect there to be some snowmelt and discolouration in rivers like the Rangitata, Orari and Ashburton this weekend, although they may still be fishable.

The North Branch of the Ashburton River appears to be unstable after the major winter floods and holding a silty grey colour, this will be the main cause of the silt in the Ashburton River currently.

Lake Fishing

WFR2021.10. October is a great month to fish near inflowing stream mouths at our Large hydro lakes like Lake Tekapo pictured here credit R Adams

October is a great month to fish near inflowing stream mouths at our Large hydro lakes, like Lake Tekapo pictured here' credit R Adams

Another great fishing option in October is our large hydro lakes in the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Valley.

Lake Tekapo is a favourite of mine but all the big lake fish well, especially NZ’s second most fished lake - Lake Benmore.

There are three main factors of why October offers great opportunities at our big lakes.

  1. The lakes are low after a winter of hydro generation – this means you can access drop-offs and other permanent water areas easier.
  2. Brown trout are feeding up fast after winter and cruise in real close in the shallow lake margins.
  3. Rainbow trout are coming and going from spawning in inflowing streams – these are hot spots for lake edge and boat fishing.

Common bully is a key food source for trout in these lakes and many lures and flies imitate them well enough.

My favourite spinner at Lake Tekapo is a 14-gram hex wobbler as I can cast it far out over the drop-offs — even with a slight headwind. All colours work but I buy bronze if they are available.

In shallow edge water a 7-10 gram toby works better to avoid snagging the bottom, again lure colour is not usually an issue, however natural colours will look more like a bully – in theory.

There are plenty of flies to use, like Woolley buggers, but you could try a booby fly on a sinking line like Otago Fish & Game Officer Ben Sowry demonstrates in this Facebook Video.

Bait anglers can keep it simple use a garden worm or shrimp for bait and either fish with a sinker on the bottom, or in areas with weed beds or snaggy boulders suspend the bait under a bubble float.       

If you want to see first-hand how action-packed lake fishing can be, even at our least fished hydro lake, Lake Pukaki, then check out this recent episode of Pure Fly NZ on YouTube by clicking here, you may be surprised! 

Lake Tekapo put-and-take salmon fishery release

WFR2122.11 Fish Game released 9500 salmon smolt into Lake Tekapo to support its put n take salmon fishery credit H Stevens

Fish & Game released 9,500 salmon smolt into Lake Tekapo to support its put 'n' take salmon fishery' - credit H Stevens

Thanks to Mount Cook Alpine Salmon we have continued to enhance the put-and-take salmon fishery at Lake Tekapo.

The salmon smolt were gifted to anglers by Mount Cook Alpine Salmon as part to their philosophy of giving back to the community.

Releases of salmon in Lake Tekapo have occurred most years since 2010 with some great catches of 2-4-pound salmon reported.

The release of 9,500 smolt this September on top of a release in November 2020 is expected to provide for great salmon fishing but we will have to wait a bit longer for them to grow bigger.

We anticipate the salmon fishing will be productive at Lake Tekapo from Spring 2022 to Autumn 2024

Council Election Results 

The results of the 2021 Fish & Game elections can be found here.  

Congratulations to the elected members: Steve Bannister, Paul Centofanti, John Dewit, Steve Gerard, Linn Koevoet, Nic Niles, Dean Rattray and Clark Stanger. 

We thank former Councillors Andrew Simpson and Craig Mackenzie for their hard work and commitment in a voluntary capacity, serving as Councillors in support of our beloved sports fish and game bird resources over the past 3 years.


Job vacancy

The Central South Island Fish and Game Council is on the search for an enthusiastic Fish & Game Officer to join our small Temuka-based team as an ecologist click here for more info.

2021 Kids Salmon Fishing Day - Cancelled 

The proposed 2021 Kids Salmon Fishing Day in Twizel, penciled in for 7 November, has been cancelled. Unfortunately, we cannot ensure kids and their families members attending the event can adhere to covid-19 Level-2 event requirements. 



Meet in Twizel, outside Jakes Hardware Store 8.30am for a briefing and for your Spot Prize number. 

Generous sponsors mean the spot prizes are fantastic again this year. 

BBQ Salmon Lunch supplied by Mt Cook Alpine Salmon and High Country Salmon. 

Waitaki River Access Advisory – Old Slip Road 

Access Point 19. Anglers accessing the Waitaki River from the end of Old Slip Road are advised to adhere to warning signs posted and leave their dogs at home. An application of 1080 poison was made in August for wallaby control on the hillside area beside the river and the poison remains in place. For more information contact Environment Canterbury, Timaru 03 687 7800. 

Access point 19 is displayed in the Waitaki Access Guide here.

River works notice 

ECan advises that flood repair works are underway at the Rangitata River between SH1 and the mouth during October.

Most of the works will be on the dry land however instream works will cause some discolouration of the water at times. 

Want to catch a sea-run salmon? 

New regulations and requirements apply for sea-run salmon in the CSI and North Canterbury Regions.

Click here for all the information you need

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

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