Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury - 7 Mar 2024

  • North Canterbury Central South Island
  • 7/03/2024

Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury - 7 Mar 2024


Young angler + canals x perseverance = big trout

We were stoked to receive an email this week from young angler Sam Coskerie.

Sam recently caught a huge 18-pound brown trout at the Pūkaki Canal and wanted to share the photo in this report. 

Pictured above: Sam Coskerie and his monster 18-pound brown trout from the Pūkaki Canal. 

Our ranging team has checked in on Sam several times this season so it’s awesome to hear that Sam’s dedication to canal fishing has paid off with this fantastic catch!


Waitaki mouth robbery

A foggy morning at the Waitaki River mouth. Credit: Steve McKnight.   

Ranger Steve McKnight was on duty at the Waitaki River mouth last week and witnessed a robbery.

The brazen offender used the morning fog to aid the surprise steal of landed kahawai laying on the beach.

Although Fish & Game rangers have many powers to deal with offenders, Steve had to stand back and watch the offender swim off on this occasion.

The culprit — a New Zealand fur seal.

As steve witnessed, it pays to secure your landed fish well up the bank and out of reach of the waves and wildlife!

Steve checked on five kahawai anglers who were having some luck catching large kahawai.

One sea-run salmon angler was checked on but hadn’t caught anything; but being keen as mustard we think his luck will change before the end of March.

Despite the squawks of the locals to alert the ranger - the culprit takes off with the loot. Credit: Steve McKnight.

The Waitaki River is the southernmost river with a substantial salmon run, as such, we expect a fair few anglers will make the journey up from Otago and Southland to have a crack at a sea-run salmon fishing over March and April – the peak period of the Waitaki River salmon run.

A reminder to visiting anglers that the Waitaki River is in the Central South Island Fish & Game Region (not Otago) and sea-run salmon fishing in both the Central South Island and North Canterbury Regions requires you to purchase a sea-run salmon licence and carry a sea-run salmon season bag limit card.

To purchase a sea-run salmon licence you must first hold an eligible whole season sports fishing licence.

For example, holding an Otago or Southland region Local Area licence DOES NOT make you eligible to purchase a sea-run salmon licence, nor does holding a 24 hour/Day licence.

We have an information page including a FAQ section on our website that cover everything you need to know about sea-run salmon fishing in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game regions – click here.

Alternatively, give our office a call and ask one of our staff a question, 03 615 8400. 


Ōhau River controlled period ballot

The ballot schedule for the upcoming 2024 controlled period will be decided in May 2024.

Mark early June on your calendars to check in on our website here to find out the decision on the ballot schedule and see all the update information for the 2024 ballot.


The colour can be the highlight

Kevin Aureguy with a yellow-coloured brown trout.

Sometimes the highlight of the catch is the colour and markings of the fish.

Case-in-point is Kevin Aureguy’s unusually coloured “yellow” brown trout pictured. For the record he caught it on his go-to dry, the Coch-y-Bondu

Brown trout take on all sorts of colours depending on their environment and also seasonally in relation to spawning. Brown trout can be as silver as a salmon, blue-grey like glacial lakes, red like a brick house and even “yellow”.  


Sockeye spawning closure from 1 March

All streams and rivers where sockeye salmon are present are closed to sockeye salmon fishing from 1 March.

The trout fishing season remains open in the same waters.

Refer to Note 1.10 on page 36 your 2023/24 sports fishing regulations guide here to view the full regulation for the sockeye salmon fishing closure.

Sockeye fishing remains open in March and April in lakes and canals.


Notice Board

Environment Canterbury - Targeted weed control works on riverbeds

March 2024 – as weather permits

ECan are spraying targeted weed species (specifically willows, gorse, alder, poplar, broom and lupins) growing on identified specific riverbed islands/areas.

Signage indicating that spraying is underway will be placed at all spray operation refilling stations and public access points on the rivers. Public access will be restricted during operations.

WHERE: rivers include: Rangitata, Ōpihi, Opuha, and Waitaki.

Please see all the detailed maps on ECan’s website here including those in the North Canterbury Fish & Game Region.


Tight Lines,

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer.



How good is our sea-run salmon fishing?

April Vokey trying her hand at catching a sea-run salmon on Tuesday morning.

Great enough to entice one of fishing’s most well-known salmon anglers, April Vokey, to come to New Zealand and try her hand at catching a sea-run salmon on the spey rod.

April has a popular podcast called Anchored With April Vokey, which has listeners around the world. She has fished pretty much everywhere on the planet and has an impressive angling resume.

In her late teens, she discovered fly fishing and structured her life so she could do it regularly. She started guiding for sturgeon and salmon with a local outfitter as a stepping stone, and at age 24, in 2007, she founded her own guiding operation to share her passion for fishing.

New Zealand holds a special attraction to April, and she has visited here many times. She has even volunteered her skills at one of the Spey Claves held in recent years in the South Island.

April partnered with Canterbury Fishing Guide Neil Goldie and Wānaka-based angling journalist Jason Harman to hit Canterbury’s big, braided rivers this week.

With last weekend's northwest rainfall, they had to move around a bit, but success came on Tuesday morning when April caught her first New Zealand salmon. 

Anglers throughout the region are reporting seeing salmon entering the rivers after last weekend’s fresh.

Coupled with some cooler temperatures, and now we are officially in autumn, more fish should start to move into our rivers.

April Vokey and Canterbury Fishing Guide Neil Goldie.


Outlook for the Weekend

This weekend is looking awesome for angling; temperatures aren’t going to be super hot, just 22-24 degrees.

I’d still recommend getting out there early so that you can target trout after the cooler night.

I’ve recently heard reports of good sea-run trout in the lower reaches of some of our rivers, so for trout anglers looking for a fresh challenge, I’d recommend targeting them.


Fishing clubs

Rex Gibson has been a fishing club member of the Christchurch Fishing and Casting Club since 1991.

One of the best parts of working for Fish & Game is getting to meet and present to angling and hunting clubs around the region.

Last night, I had a Q&A session at the Christchurch Fishing and Casting Club.

While there, it was great to see this club undertaking fly casting lessons for new anglers and organising weekend fishing trips where members could go away with other club members and share knowledge and expertise over these weekends.

I was also there when they did a presentation for Rex Gibson (pictured above), who’s been a member of the Christchurch Fishing and Casting Club since 1991. Rex has been a stalwart angler who has been super helpful and always keen to share his knowledge with others for many, many years. Congratulations, Rex and thank you on behalf of the many anglers you have helped over the years.

Also, for those who are a little bit nervous about joining a club, don’t be. I’ve had the lucky position of going and meeting with many of the clubs in the South Island. I can categorically say they are all filled with helpful people willing to share their knowledge and skills with anyone.


Tight Lines, 

Richard Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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