Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 1 Feb 2024

  • Central South Island North Canterbury
  • 1/02/2024

Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 1 Feb 2024

Pictured above: Nic Niles and his 22lb rainbow trout caught at the canals on a booby fly - Boxing Day. Credit: N. Niles.

Central South Island Report

The most versatile fly for canal fishing

The most versatile fly for canal fishing surely is the booby fly; they can be fished all sorts of ways.

What sets the booby fly apart is that it has big buoyant foam ‘eyes’, meaning they float. The floating nature of the fly, when sunk with a heavy line or sinker, can be used to create movement – a movement resembling a bait fish or other prey item that trout and salmon will bite.

Fly fishing: use them on a fast-sinking line in the calm water of the Tekapo fishbowl. As you strip them in the line drags them down, then they float up during the pause between strips. The same applies in the flowing sections of the canals but you cast across the current and swing them back to the bank like any other streamer fly such as a woolly bugger.

Spin fishing: you can fish them egg-rolling style, just replace the imitation egg with a booby fly. You can also fish them classic spin style, just trail the fly behind a spinner or sinker that acts as the casting weight.

Static bait-style fishing: If your shrimp bait isn’t getting a bite, mix it up a bit by trying a booby fly. Just replace the bait for a booby, fly cast out and sit your rod back in the holder. The floating nature of the fly means it will ‘swim’ in the canal current.

Booby flies come in many colours
How’s the sea-run salmon season going?

Slowly, is the consensus – but we still have the prime time ahead of us being February and March for the Rangitata / Rakitata River and March and April for the Waitaki River.

The Ōpihi River mouth has been blocked with the lagoon filing lately and not offering great salmon fishing conditions at the surf and gut. Conditions would have improved as the mouth opened itself on Tuesday this week, draining the lagoon and reshaping the mouth. Based on current low summertime flows of the river, the mouth will likely block up again soon.

After recent rains the Rangitata River flows were dropping nicely towards the ~80 cumecs level that offers good clarity for salmon fishing. As of Thursday morning, the clarity was still a bit murky at 89 cumecs at the Klondyke Gorge (see Outdoor Access live stream capture).

Once the river clears up, we’d expect salmon will be throughout the whole length of the river.

Don’t forget to carry your season bag limit card and a pen.

Rangitata River at Klondyke - flow at 89 cumecs. Credit: Outdoor Access Livestream.


Outlook for the weekend

Apart from rivers with headwaters in or near the Main Divide and the Waitaki River, we are experiencing peak summer conditions, low flows and warm water.

Low flows are in effect for rivers such as the Hakataramea owing to the dry and hot summer conditions. Credit: Rhys Adams.


Rivers such as the Hakataramea and Waihao are drying up in sections.

When water temperatures get above 19 degrees, fishing can get difficult. Fish early in the morning when water temperatures are cool – before 11am typically.

During hot spells, water temps exceeding 20 degrees, catch and release anglers should always keep the fish in the water, while de-hooking and for photography, and be prepared for fish to not recover after being caught - take a knife and chilly bin with ice and enjoy eating your delicious catch.

Fortunately, there is a bit of rain and cooler temps forecast region-wide on Friday and Saturday with a return to dry conditions on Sunday and likely lasting through to Waitangi Day.      

Check your local forecast for Saturday, keen anglers will be able to work around the weather without too much trouble.

We recommend keeping a close eye on ECan flow website to help with real-time water level and temperature information.

Weather and water clarity checks can be done on the Outdoor Access livestreams website – check out their 30-day free trial.  


Notice Board

Vehicle restrictions on DOC access tracks

Areas of public conservation land in the Hakatere, St James, and Molesworth, in the eastern South Island will temporarily close to motorised vehicles due to high fire risk.

In the Hakatere Conservation Area, inland from Ashburton, the Harrison’s Bight, Lake Emma, Lake Clearwater, and Paddle Hill Stream, 4WD accesses will be closed to all motorised vehicles from Friday 2nd February.    


CSI Council Meeting

Licence holders and members of the public are welcome to attend the next bi-monthly meeting of the Central South Island Fish & Game Council.

Where: 32 Richard Pearse Drive, Temuka

When: 7pm Thursday 1st February (tonight)


Tight Lines,

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer.


North Canterbury Report

Fishing weather for the long weekend

Rangers check the mouth of the North Branch of the Hurunui River for anglers last Sunday.


For fly anglers there are good reports of cicada activity so you may want to fish some of those out of your fly box, however, as always it pays to match the hatch.

Be sure to observe the insect activity where you are fishing and see what the trout are going for so you can have the best chance of success.

The weather for the long weekend is a bit of a mixed bag, Friday has some cloudy periods forecast with a few showers from the late morning. Northerlies turning sou-wester in the afternoon.

Saturday has showers developing in the morning with Nor-Westers turning to strong southwesterlies for a time in the afternoon and evening. Sunday is looking fine but with Nor-westers turning nor easter later. Monday is forecast to be hot, in the 30’s so fish will be seeking refuge in the cooler waters and are unlikely to be active the heat of the day. And the lookout for Tuesday is calm but also in the 30’s so very early or very late for your fishing will be the go.

For those taking the opportunity for a fish over the weekend, our lakes may give you the best option of some shelter from the prevailing wind as the conditions change.

Sumner Lakes

Helpers rescue three utes from rising floodwaters on Saturday. Credit: Outdoor Access Facebook.


We were ranging in the Lake Sumner area last Sunday and there were plenty of boat and shore anglers out making good use of the area.

Even with some heavy rain in the backcountry on Saturday, we were surprised how quickly the rivers were clearing, with the north branch of the Hurunui River fishable by 11am on Sunday.

It is always good to see anglers out using the resources that region has to offer, anglers we spoke to were not deterred from travelling up there by Saturday’s weather.

Our increased presence in the area has been noticed by several regular Sumner lakes anglers, and almost all were happy to see us there.

Angling compliance was high amongst the those checked in the area, with only one angler requiring follow up work.

Anglers reported that they were more than happy with their catch, good numbers of fish had been seen.

Our lakes in the region are often overlooked by anglers and are definitely worth a visit especially if you are new to the region and unsure of where to fish.

Most are only a short drive from the city and hold good numbers of fish.

A very handy aid to anglers is the Outdoor Access website with their live web cams, the ability so see live footage from several key angling sites in Canterbury enables you to make the best selection for you fishing trips.

Their website was also handy to help some jet boaters vehicles avoid getting swamped when the Waimakariri River rose quickly at Woodstock on Saturday.

Well done to those that helped out rescuing the three utes from the rising waters.

It’s a timely reminder to check the Environment Canterbury river flows and rainfall websites before heading to the rivers.

Not only does it have flow amounts, but the bigger rivers also have water temperature recordings which are an essential aid when fishing in the summer.


Crested Grebe count

Fish & Game Officer Matthew Garrick checks for grebes and anglers on Lake Taylor last Sunday.

The pūteketeke Australasian crested grebe, announced the Bird of the Century in 2023 was the focus of lots of searching over the weekend.

The annual national pūteketeke Australasian crested grebe census is organised by Rosalie Snoyink and Leslie Jensen from Forest and Bird and was held throughout the country over the weekend and included searching in some remote parts of the Hurunui district.

North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer Matthew Garrick says “We were in the Lake Sumner area for a planned compliance patrol to check on anglers following the rules when the organisers asked us to help out. Grebes are relatively rare in the North Canterbury area, but they stand out quite a bit compared to other birds so we were able easily search for them whilst patrolling the lakes”.

“We found four grebes on Lake Marion which is a fantastic high-country lake a short walk from Lake Sumner. Sumner and the surrounding lakes are definitely a jewel in the district’s crown and are well worth visit especially over the coming long weekend”.

“There were a lot of people out in the area making use of the many recreational opportunities the area offers, and it was great to be able to interact with them and see them out there”.

Total Fire Ban

Fire Emergency NZ announced a total fire ban in the North Canterbury area on Wednesday, if you are unsure of what applies in your area, visit the Check its alright website.

Gas Cookers can still be used for cooking.

Also, if you have pictures from your fishing exploits, please send them through to northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz


Tight Lines, 

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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