Weekly Fishing Report — Central South Island — 24/03/2022

  • Central South Island
  • 24/03/2022
  • Rhys Adams

Weekly Fishing Report — Central South Island — 24/03/2022

We are in the thick of the sea run salmon season so make sure you get out on the river before the end of the season sneaks up on you.

If you have been encouraged by the recent catch report of sea run salmon and are only heading out for the first time this season, please be aware you need to obtain a sea run salmon endorsement and while fishing you must carry your sea run salmon bag limit card.

To obtain your free endorsement and bag limit card please visit our website here.

We put together this FAQ’s webpage to help you understand the new sea run salmon rules and regulations.

If you need any further clarification of the regulations please get in touch with us directly – email csi@fishandgame.org.nz, or phone 03 6158400.

Feature Image 'A lone angler targets salmon at the Waitaki River mouth - 23/03/2022' Credit R Adams

If you have achieved your sea run salmon season bag limit of two fish, we are asking you to please return your card promptly.

The easiest way to return your card is to photograph it and email it to: harvestcard@fishandgame.org.nz

The latest news from the crew at the Rangitata South Huts that keep a diary of river mouth fishing for Fish & Game is that last week about 6 salmon were caught and so far this week there has only been a couple.

The fish caught lately have been up to 12 pounds – not like the big fish that ran earlier in the season – although a few ‘big fish’ have been seen.

There have been about 12-18 anglers fishing the Rangitata mouth area on the days when conditions are suitable.

Although this week the river did colour up for a short stint with the lowland rain event, it is back to relatively low and clear flows.

Fishing Wainono Lagoon?

Wainono Lagoon is the home of public land game bird hunting in South Canterbury but is seldom considered an option for trout fishing.  

Yesterday, Fish & Game staff were at the lagoon undertaking an annual pre-season game bird count and spotted a few 2-4 pound brown trout actively feeding in the shallow margins. We reckon any lure or fly imitating a small fish or possibly even a dry fly would have been taken without hesitation.

If anyone out there is the type of angler that likes the challenge of catching trout in those fisheries that are off the radar for most anglers – consider Wainono Lagoon.

Game bird hunters going to tag and spruce-up their maimais this March or April might consider taking a fishing rod along just encase they find what we did.

We were about 4km along the beach track in about the middle part of the lagoon, as accessed from the end of Hook Beach Road. If you know the area, we were close to the old hut.

The beach track is probably the best trout fishing area on the Lagoon offering the most reliable chance of finding suitable water clarity for fishing.

This beach track is only suitable for 4x4 vehicles and drivers with experience in loose gravel. It’s a long walk otherwise.

Our anecdotal observations from years of counting birds at the lagoon is that allowing the lagoon to hold more water has led to the growth of permanent aquatic plants beds which in turn has allowed water clarity to improve and that is providing for an improved trout fishery (and a healthy swan population).

WFR2122.58 Although better known for its game bird hunting Wainono Lagoon is an off the radar trout fishery LI 2

Outlook for the weekend

With our borders set to reopen to international tourist in April the forecast is for some of our cherished waters to see an increase in anglers, but that’s a few weeks away so make the most of this current absence of tourist anglers on our waterways this weekend.

A significant low-country rain event happened this week and now rivers are dropping back to ideal  fishing flows – you should make the most of it.

For example, the Temuka River flows jumped from 4.5 to 63 cumecs and the Pareora River jumped from about 3 to 123 cumecs.    

The weather is supposed to be mostly mild and cloudy this weekend – very suitable for all types of fishing but it might be a bit glary for spotting fish at times.

The surf will be up so salmon anglers that love flinging a lure over the waves and out to the horizon are best to fish the gut or main river this weekend.

Notice Board

Aerial spraying of riverbed weeds to 2 April

From today until April 2nd (weather dependent), Environment Canterbury/ Waka Kotahi are planning to use helicopters for targeted aerial spraying of riverbed weeds.

Aerial Spraying is planned at these fishing areas in the CSI Fish & Game Region:

  • Rangitata River - Various areas
  • Waitaki River – Mouth to dam
  • Waihao River – Box to SH1


More information, including maps can be found here.

Tight Lines,

Rhys Adams

Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

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