Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury 15 December 2022

  • North Canterbury Central South Island
  • 15/12/2022

Central South Island Report


Regular rainfall has set up our waterways for a classic summer of fishing. 

Leading into Christmas, we are experiencing elevated spring-like river flows – a recipe for epic fishing. 

It really is a great time to get out fishing, and I suggest you minimise your Christmas shopping time, focusing it on fishing and outdoors shops, to make time for pre-Christmas fishing.       

Reports from anglers, like Lorenzo Rawnsley (pictured above right with his rainbow trout in the Hakataramea River), are of some fantastic catches from around the region. 

I’ve had reports of big-old brook char, big browns eating black gnats at Lake Alexandrina and McGregor, and sea-run salmon caught in unexpected places. 

There’s good news for Tekapo / Takapō River enthusiasts – Spilling is ramping down and scheduled to cease tonight (15th Dec).

WFR2223.31 Bill Grayson and his dog Tiki try thier luck at the Rangitata River mouth Credit Rhys Adams

Bill Grayson and his dog Tiki try their luck at the Rangitata River mouth-Photo Rhys Adams

The river is in better-than-usual condition heading into the holidays, with the recent spilling flows helping to reduce the nuisance growth of didymo and algae.   

After last week’s catch of a sea-run salmon in the Rangitata by Bruce Wallace, the bush telegraph has gone quiet.

Rain bumped the flows up to an unfishable 188 cumecs on the Saturday 10th, but it dropped nicely back to fishable flows by Tuesday the 13th.

As I write this on Thursday morning, the flows are a favourable 89 cumecs.

While fishing around river mouths this time of year, there is also pays to mix up your techniques and target species.

December is a great month to target sea-run brown trout that are keyed into the runs of common smelt (silveries/cucumber fish).

There are also a few kahawai about and we all know the great sport these native fish can provide as a distraction from sports fishing. 

WFR2223.32 Fish Game Officer Nikki Dellaway ranging on the Rangitata River photo by Rhys Adams

Fish & Game Officer Nikki Dellaway ranging on the Rangitata River-photo by Rhys Adams

Welcome to the team – Nikki Dellaway  

Nikki Dellaway recently joined our team at Central South Island Fish & Game in the position of Fish & Game Officer. 

Nikki has an education in environmental science and brings a ranging and compliance skills set to the roll from her previous employment at the Timaru District court. 

If you see her out and about on the waterways, please join us in welcoming her to the role. 

Outlook for the weekend

There is a mixed forecast of fine spells, drizzle, and heavy rain showers for the weekend – a difficult one for me to offer advice on.

It’s best to do your homework and check out the weather forecasts and ECan river flows webpage.

I’m sure you will find a suitable window of opportunity. 

Notice Board

Job Advertisement – Resource Officer / Planner

Central South Island Fish and Game Council is seeking to employ a Resource Officer / Planner. 

Please see the advertisement at Seek.co.nz – click here

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

North Canterbury Report

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Simon McMillan with another fine Rakaia River salmon.

Salmon, salmon, salmon!

The word of the week, salmon, has certainly got some anglers excited around the region. 

Our amazing day last week filming four fish being caught in under two hours went ballistic on social media, and our Facebook post has reached 30,000 people. 

All that activity has certainly drummed up some interest in the Rakaia fishery, with even national media picking up the story both online and in print in Auckland and Wellington. 

Jonathan Larsson, a visiting study intern here at Fish & Game, and Harry Graham-Samson hit the Rakaia on their day off on Saturday morning, and both had success before the small fresh came downstream that afternoon. 

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Jonathan Larsson with his first salmon caught on the Rakaia River.

The river flow is dropping from that fresh, and it’s looking like prime fishing time for some salmon fishing this weekend on the Rakaia. 

As I look this morning on the Outdoor Access Livestream for the Rakaia River mouth this morning, I can count ten anglers at the mouth having a fish, and the river colour is looking perfect for the coming days.

Following from that an angler just rang in this morning to say he'd seen six fish on his walk alongside the Rakaia River during his short walk today.

There’s certainly been some nice fish being caught on the river; remember, have your harvest card on you and a pen so you can fill it out immediately after you keep your fish. 

Life jacket upgrades with Coastguard NZ 

Next week Coastguard New Zealand will be running their old4new life jacket upgrade programme around the region. 

Click on the link above and download the schedule so you can upgrade your old life jackets cheaply before the holiday season. 

For those of us out there with some inflatable life jackets, something I learnt from Coastguard last week was the necessity of a thigh strap for inflatables.

Coastguard NZ has found in some cases, as an inflatable life jacket is inflated, if it’s not tight on the body when the life jacket inflates, the buoyancy can be so strong in extreme cases that it can slip off over your head. 

Hence why inflatable 170N life jackets now come standard with a thigh strap to prevent this from happening.

Hapua survey 

Fish & Game, ECan, Doc and local Iwi are undertaking more hapua survey’s this year; this week, we’ve done the Waiau Uwha River and Brooklands lagoon, and over the coming months, they’ll be repeat visits and visits to other sites. 

To give you an idea of what we do on the surveys, click here for a video on the Rangitata hapua survey from two years ago. 


NZ post issues

There are still issues with anglers getting their licences and salmon endorsements delivered from NZ Post. 

Please let us know if your licence/endorsement hasn’t shown up after a month, and keep a hold of your pdf copy in the meantime. 

Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition 

If you attended the Lake Coleridge Competition, you may have had an invite to take part in our survey.

If you could take a couple of minutes to fill out our survey, that would be a great help. 

Big thanks to all those anglers who have already taken part in the survey.

Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition 

February 24th, 25th and 26th, 2023.

The 40th anniversary of the Rakaia competition, which is the largest freshwater fishing competition in New Zealand, attracts over 700 entrants yearly.

Rakaia River Promotions (the organisers) will post more details soon but bookmark their webpage to get the latest info. 

If you have any recent photos of your fishing exploits or fishing events you want to publicise, send them to northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz ; even if they aren’t from our region, I’ll pass them on. 

Tight lines 

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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