Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island - 22-10-2020

  • Central South Island
  • 22/10/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Hundreds of hours of work over the past 12 years by CSI Fish & Game staff has culminated in the lodging and presentation of a submission earlier this week at Environment Canterbury’s Hearing of Plan Change 7.

Environment Canterbury’s Proposed Plan Change 7 (PC7), sets the limits for managing water quality, water quantity, farming practices and management processes for the Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora (OTOP) catchments.

It also recognises an increased number of salmon spawning sites throughout the region and important matter in the Rangitata and Hinds areas.


This type of work largely goes unnoticed by anglers and hunters on the riverbank or maimai but is the fundamental work we do to maintain and claw-back freshwater habitat quality and quantity for trout, salmon, and game birds.

Looking to the future, our sports fisheries are facing the legacy of over allocation and nutrients loads, ongoing pressure for more irrigation and other water abstractions, increasing nutrients inputs, climatic extremes and conflicting management values with other important species that also need protecting.

It is Environment Canterbury’s job to ensure that the habitat of trout and salmon is maintained and through submissions like this for PC7, Fish & Game must guide them as the statutory organisation responsible for the recreation they provide to licenced anglers and hunters.

The Timaru Herald wrote a brief article on our submission which you can read here and if you would like to view our submission you can find it listed under “further submissions” by clicking here.

The weather forecast is uncomplicated for Friday through Sunday, region-wide fine weather on Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday a front turns up at the main divide and the wind might increase in the high country but generally speaking the weather should be all-good for fishing in CSI.

Monday is Labour Weekend public holiday, and the weather is looking a bit rough as a wet front races up the region. Best to check the weather forecast closer to the time – I don’t rely on weather forecasts four days-out!

The relatively dry forecast gives me some optimism that rivers like the Rangitata and Ashburton will provide flows low and clear enough for good fishing, but I can’t confirm that. Their small creek and stream tributaries will be fishable.

If your fishing Lake Benmore this weekend, as I’m sure many will be, remember there are thousands of sockeye salmon in the lake.

This previous weekly fishing report contains some sports fish ID tips and here’s a link to some sockeye salmon trolling tips.

The Opihi and its tributaries remain a great place to target this October.

I fish the Opihi near State Highway 1 last weekend and there were plenty of large brown trout to keep me busy.

Where I fished the river was in good order with clear gravels making for great sight fishing.

As the weather and water warms up and the flows decrease, dark brown algae will grow quick, making it much trickier to spot fish.

I recommend getting stuck into the sight-fishing in the Opihi Catchment right now, it's pretty darn good.

I was at the Upper Ohau River on Sunday undertaking a creel survey.

WFR2021.12 The scenery of the Upper Ohau River fishery Credit R Adams

The scenery of the Upper Ohau River fishery- Credit R Adams

For such a pearla of a day it was surprising to find only a handful of angler fishing there, while the canals remained popular.

It’s fair to say the numbers of fish are not high in the river currently but there’s still some great opportunity available if you are willing to put the time in to find the fish. 

I checked on a few anglers at the Ohau B Canal near the salmon farm, the fishing was pretty slow for most of them although they had fish rising and splashing right where their bait was set.

One pair of anglers had a different “issue”, however, they were getting frustrated having to release multiple brown and rainbow trout having promised to return home with a salmon for dinner.

It’s not far until our High Country Opening on the first Saturday in November (7th).  

Time to plan your trip, sort the accommodation and if you haven’t done so yet purchase your 2020-21 sports fishing licence.

Anglers that travel to target opening days will be aware that high country waters for the Otago and Southland Regions open on 1 November while for CSI and North Canterbury they open on the First Saturday in November (7 November).

Be sure not confuse the region boundaries and opening dates and double check in the 2020-21 regulation guide when the fisheries you intend to fish actually open!

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer  



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