Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island Region - 05-03-2020

  • Central South Island
  • 5/03/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Weekly Fishing Report – Central South Island Region - 05-03-2020

About this time last year, we re-introduced the seldom targeted sports fish tench to Centennial Park Lake in Timaru.

Right: Fish & Game Officer Hamish Stevens displays a Centennial Park tench-Credit R Adams

Here’s a link to the story of that re-introduction.

We are keen to see how successful the release was and would be grateful to receive angling reports from anyone that has fished at Centennial Park Lake this season, email:  radams@fishandgame.org.nz or ph. 036158400.

If you want to learn a little bit more about tench fishing in the CSI Region link through to this report I put together a few years back.

Also, in the most recent issue of Fish & Game magazine, page 88, local tench fishing enthusiast Dave Merritt details how to use trout fishing tackle to target tench.  

Our advice before fishing any new waterway or methods is to check out the online version of the regulation guide, there are some unique regulations in place for designated course fishing water like Centennial Park Lake.

The sea-run salmon season is in its final weeks so keep and eye on the river conditions and find your moment to have a crack.

WFR1920.59Stephen Newberrys Waitaki River salmon

Stephen Newberry's Waitaki River salmon

Fish & Game Ranger Stephen Newberry found a rare window of opportunity to go trout fishing on the Waitaki River last Friday when flows dropped to around 350 cumecs.

Fishing near SH1 on a light spin set-up, with a black and gold soft bait on a ¼ ounce jig head, he fished the drop-offs.

He caught two rainbow trout around two pounds and a solid sea-run salmon he estimated to be in the 10-12-pounds size range.   

If you intend to fish the lower parts of the Waitaki River, a flow of less than 350 cumecs is best.

Waitaki River flow information is found on the ECan river flows website.

If the Waitaki flow is over 350 cumecs you’re best to head up to Kurow and try one of the access points listed in our Waitaki access brochure.   

Waitaki River flows below 350 cumecs have been a rarity this season as there has been several big rain events in the high country and it pays to have a plan B in the area.

Waitaki flows are likely to remain high for the rest of March.

There have been a notable number of large salmon caught in the Waitaki lakes, including Lake Waitaki this season – probably due to them migrating downstream from Lake Benmore during spilling.

Lake Waitaki and Aviemore will be worth a crack if the river is too high, try up near the dams.

Also, Bells and Bortons ponds offer a relaxed spot to fish when the Waitaki River is high but will carry the same water clarity.

You can find out where these ponds are in our Waitaki access brochure.

The Rangitata may be a bit high this weekend too after another small rain event on Wednesday.

Keep an eye on the ECan river flow website for the Rangitata River.

My take on interpreting the Rangitata flows for this season is that it is best below 90 cumecs for salmon fishing.

You might get a more accurate interpretation from the crew at McKinnons Hatchery if you attend their fin clipping day – see the notice board below.

There are other minor sea-run salmon fisheries in our region worth a cast, like the Opihi, Orari and Ashburton Rivers. 

Finally, in this report, a quick tip.

If you are fly fishing a river in March and come across a mayfly hatch and lots of rising trout, but you just can’t catch get any of them to take your dry flies, try a cdc emerger pattern, they have worked well for me.

They do get damaged easily and become waterlogged, so it pays to treat them with floatant and have a few “reserves” in your fly box.

Notice board

McKinnon’s hatchery fin clipping

Members of the public are welcome to assist with fin clipping salmon smolt at McKinnon’s Creek Hatchery on the 7th of March.

Meet at George Road at 10am and bring your lunch.

George Road is located off Orton Rangitata Mouth Road, about 3.5km before you reach the South Side Huts at the Rangitata River mouth.    

Waitaki Catchment riverbed weed spraying

ECan are planning to undertake riverbed spraying of weeds like gorse, broom, alder and willow to help manage the flood carrying capacity of the rivers.

The helicopter spraying is likely to occur from mid-February to mid-March, weather and river flow permitting.

Target areas: Tekapo River (delta to Edwards Stream confluence), Pukaki River (Tekapo River confluence up to pylons), Upper Ohau River, Waitaki River (Otekaieke to above Kurow). 

ECan contact: Sam Kidner 027 304 4255.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer



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