Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island - 26-12-19

  • Central South Island
  • 26/12/2019
  • Richie Cosgrove

Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island - 26-12-19

This is part two of my holiday period series on resourcing you with loads of information to help you have a successful and enjoyable summer of fishing.

Before hitting the water

An invaluable resource for assessing waterways conditions is Environment Canterbury’s river flow website.

Data is presented over a seven day or month period, which give you a chance to review spikes in the flow that reveal a small fresh or a big flood event and what base-flows look like.

There is also an Ecan rainfall website which can be used to predict impending high flow events – especially useful in areas that don’t have river flow data available.

Predicting weather conditions

With some knowledge of the weather you are more likely to be safe, comfortable and successful.

New Zealand’s most versatile online forecasting website is Metservice.

This website offers weather warnings, surf forecasts, rural forecasts, rain forecasts and more.

Tips for taking kids fishing

I’m lucky enough to be a dad and an uncle and know firsthand the challenge that adults face when planning and executing a successful fishing trip with kids.

Here’s my tips for taking kids on fishing trips.

Above Right: Fishing with kids is choice-as - Credit R Adams

Angler Access information

Our website has pages of location and access information just a click away.

You can read-up and then download access pamphlets to your smart phone and take them with you.

Here some quick info on our go-to access options.

Lake Benmore

The countries second most popular lake fishery offers trout and salmon fishing for all anglers.

The Lake Benmore access pamphlet is viewable and downloadable here.

Tip: The easiest access locations for bait, spin and fly anglers are #4 Pumpkin point on the Ahuriri Arm and around the Ohau C PowerStation outflow into Lake Benmore.

Lake Benmore is home to tens-of-thousands of sockeye salmon. If you want to have a go at targeting them  click on this video of trolling tips and tackle for targeting Lake Benmore sockeye salmon.

The Hydro Canals

WFR1920.37 the canals are a favourite summertime destination Credit R Adams

The canals are a favourite summertime destination'-Credit R Adams

If you don’t know your way around the canal then check out the Hydro Canals fishery pamphlet.

This video covers a heap of considerations before fishing the canals.

If you want to know how many anglers fish there and how big the fish are then check out this Fish & Game canal research from a few season back. 

Canal tip 1: If the water is clear, walk up the canal bank and sight fish for 2-4-pound brown trout that live well-away from the salmon farms. Flyfishing or bubble-and-fly are good methods for targeting these fish.

Canal tip 2: If the glacial canal water is silty, use a cooked prawn/shrimp for bait. Rig it with a ¼ ounce sinker and let it bounce down the middle of the canal while you walk along the bank beside it. 

Canal tip 3: On a rainy day try search YouTube for tips on canal fishing – there are some detailed videos put together by the local experts worth watching.

Opihi River

A contestant for New Zealand’s best lowland brown trout fishery with a myriad of access options.

Check out this Opihi River Access pamphlet when exploring the area.  

Tip 1: Flyfishing is the method of choice for sight fishing the Opihi but bait (worm) and spin fishing can be productive when the flows up after rain.

Tip 2: Fly anglers - Opihi River brown trout diet is based on horn cased caddis and small mayfly larvae, have a few small #16 and #18 size imitations in your fly box.  

Waitaki River

The Waitaki River offers big river fishing for a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout.

Accessing the river can be a challenge so we put together the Waitaki access guide with helpful tips and advice for planning your trip – this is a must-read for visiting anglers.

The river flows are largely controlled by the Waitaki Dam so be sure to check the flows before you go and while you’re fishing on the ECan flows website.

Tip 1: Base your trip at Kurow, there are plenty of access options within 10 minutes’ drive from town.

Tip 2: If the Waitaki River flows are too high try fishing the irrigation intake ponds located on each side, Bortons Pond on the south side and Bells pond on the north. 

Keep an eye out for tagged trout in the Waitaki and Hakataramea Rivers, here’s a video of the Waitaki trout tagging programme and what you need to know to help out with the project.  

Improving your chances – tips and techniques

If you have caught a few fish using traditional spin methods, how about learning some slightly different tackle options and fishing techniques - we reckon you will catch more of those ‘fussy’ fish.

Here is a how-to guide on advanced spin fishing techniques.

One of the techniques covered in the guide is also referred to as bubble-and-fly.

This is a way to deliver delicate light-weight flies without having to learn fly fishing. 

WFR1920.38a bubble and fly rig that caught a rainbow trout on the Waitaki River

A bubble-and-fly rig that caught a rainbow trout on the Waitaki River

This video from Nelson Marlborough filmed at Lake Argyle covers one style of bubble-and-fly (nypmh) rigging.

In the last few years, soft baiting has revolutionised the way we spin and bait fish here in NZ.

In this video Cohen Stewart covers soft baiting tackle and techniques in a lowland river.    

Here’s another good video filmed with Ian Hadland soft baiting on a large river near the tidal zone.

Reading the water – sight fishing skills

If you want to progress your fishing from “chuck and chance” to “fish hunting” you will need to learn to read the water and spot your fish.

These are both skills that take time to master – a great excuse to spend more time fishing.

You must have a pair of polaroid sunglasses – these ‘fishing tools’ make it way easier to see into the water.

A $30 - $40 priced pair of polaroid’s will see you right.

Next thing to do is watch Tony Hawker teach you how to read the water in this video and view and download the reading the water pamphlet.

Although designed with the fly fisher in mind, it is applicable for spin or bubble-and-fly fishing too.

Tip1: Ask a sight-fishing expert to taking you fishing and learn from them how to spot fish and read the water. Your local fishing club is a great place to find a willing expert – don’t forget to shout them lunch!

Tip 2: When learning to sight fish, don’t just look for “fish”, look for shapes and colours that are fish-like and then wait patiently to see if they ‘swim’ to confirm it.  

Next week

We will be covering fish I.D tips, catch and release skills and offences and cooking tips for a modern fad and a cult classic culinary concoction.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer





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