Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 12 October 2023

  • Central South Island North Canterbury
  • 12/10/2023

Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 12 October 2023

Above right: Keith Gillespie enjoying a stunning mid-week day at Lake Opuha-photo by Rhys Adams 

Central South Island Report 

Early season fishing is on! 

Early season, October/ November, is a great time for fishing – especially at our low country fisheries. Fantastic fishing is available right now at spots like the Ōpihi River and tributaries and Lake Opuha/Ōpūaha. 

While doing our annual boat safety drill on Tuesday at Lake Opuha, we bumped into a couple of successful anglers.  

Keith Gillespie caught a brown trout (pictured above) just ten minutes after wetting a line at Lake Opuha / Ōpūaha.

Keith trolled/harled with a fly rod, using a sinking line and his favourite yellow Mrs Simpson fly.

Keith likes fishing the lake during the week as there are rarely water skiers to share the lake with.

Meanwhile, on the banks of the lake, a gentleman by the name of Allan caught a similar-sized brown trout in a very relaxed fashion. 

Allan parked his car just 10 metres from the lake, plonked down on a deck chair and spin fished with a tassie / cobra style lure. 

Get amongst it, now!

Rhys and Nico Adams making the most of the early season spring fishing conditions in the Opihi Catchment.

We are encouraging you to make the most of this early-season spring fishing before the long hot summer days take hold.

With summer just around the corner there is always a possibility of extended low river flow periods caused by dry spells of weather and exacerbated by surface water takes (agricultural irrigation, domestic water supply etc). 

These low flows can, but not always, lead to wary fish and challenging fishing. 

Although this is not a big deal for fly fishers who can simply switch to a stealthier approach – it can be a challenge to get the bite in low flows / shallow water conditions for spin and bait fishers.       

With this in mind, lowland rivers currently have decent flows and are fishing well – there’s even a bit of rain forecast that might bump up flows if we are lucky.

Go shine up your favourite spinner or get digging for some big juicy worms and get amongst it.

Speeding on canal roads puts access at risk

Fish & Game urge anglers to adhere to the speed limits posted on canal roads.

Speed limits vary across the canal system and anglers need to be observant when moving between locations to ensure they know the speed limit.

Speeding on canal roads has implications for everyone’s safety, including your fellow anglers and the staff of the power companies and salmon farms who are on the canal roads every day.

Speeding also has the potential to damage gravel roads – requiring more frequent and expensive maintenance.

In particular, we remind anglers of the 30km/h speed limit on the true-right bank gravel road of the Tekapo / Takapō Canal, adjacent to the salmon farms.

Failure to adhere to the speed limit here by individuals may result in the loss of vehicle access for all anglers to this area in future.

CSI Staff in the field 

Hamish Stevens and Mark Webb electric fishing for salmon fry at the Hakataramea River-Photo by R Adams

This week CSI staff were out in the field supporting the operation of the Waitaki Voluntary Salmon Hatchery. 

We electric-fished 300 wild Chinook salmon fry from the Hakataramea River to supply the hatchery with their 2026 spawning season brood stock (spawning adults). 

Electric fishing for wild hatched fry to raise on as broodstock is the preferred broodstock sourcing methods for the Waitaki Hatchery and has replaced the former activity of trapping adult spawning returners in the Hakataramea River.  

CSI Fish & Game and Meridian sign agreement. 

Central South Island Fish & Game (CSIFG) and Meridian Energy recently signed an agreement as Meridian Energy applies to renew their resource consent to take and use water for the nationally important Waitaki hydroelectric scheme. 

The new agreement builds on a former agreement, increasing funding available and expanding the reach of projects that CSIFG can apply it to – a great boost to sports fishery and ecosystem projects in the Waitaki Catchment.

The full media release can be viewed here

Outlook for the weekend 

There are back-to-back wet fronts forecast for the region over the weekend. The further west you go the wetter it gets. 

Expect gale winds on Saturday in places. 

This is a forecast that you want to check for yourself - I’m sure you can pick a window of opportunity to fish at some stage during the weekend if you have some flexibility. 

Best to keep a close eye on ECan river flow websites

The Main Divide headwaters of the Rangitata / Rakitata are forecast to receive over 100mm of rain.

Way out east near the coast, the Pareora / Pureora River headwaters, for example, are only forecast to receive somewhere between 10 and 20mm.


Kids Salmon Fishing Day 

Thanks to Mount Cook Alpine Salmon, the Kids Salmon Fishing Day is on for 2023!

The event is being held at Loch Cameron, 5km from Twizel on the morning of Saturday the 4th of November.

The event is for kids between the ages of 4 and 11 only.

Registration is on the day from 8:30am, fishing start at 9am. 

Please click here for all the event information

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

North Canterbury Report 

Our lowland streams are looking great at the moment 

My colleague Harry caught the beauty above last weekend in one of the Ellesmere tributaries. 

He was a little mysterious on where exactly,  but Te Waihora/Ellesmere and its tributaries are a great fishing option early in the season. 

The reports we are receiving are that lowland streams are fishing well, with seven to ten-pound trout being caught in some cases. 

One angler told me it’s incredible having all the fishing options he has within minutes of Lincoln.

Soft baits were his go-to for fishing around Ellesmere and Forsyth, and he had seen a reasonable number of anglers out in the area every time he went out. 

Where’s my Designated Waters Licence? 

We’ve been getting a few enquiries around where anglers can find their Designated Waters Licence. 

Your Designated Water Licence is on the pdf sent to your email address with your temporary licence. 

Just like the previous backcountry system where you needed to print out the endorsement and carry that with you, the same applies to Designated Waters. 

Anglers need to print out or download the pdf to their phone, and they will see that it has a “Summary of Current Licences Held” section where it displays a list of all the licences held by the angler. 

Because anglers only need to buy a Designated Waters Licence as and when they need them, when they purchase additional Designated Waters Licences as the season progresses, a new pdf will be sent out with an updated summary of Current licences held. 

Outlook for the weekend 

The Waimakariri River was looking good from this pic sent in by an angler this morning on their way to Wellington. 

With Nor Wester's forecast for Saturday, I’d be heading out as soon as you can on Friday. 

Saturday night is looking like it is starting to settle down, so it could be great for a late afternoon evening fish. 

The big Canterbury rivers will probably come up in flow with the nor-westers, but remember, you can check out the Ecan Rivers website for flow information. 

The Outdoor Access cameras are another excellent resource for helping plan your fishing trips. 

Lake Coleridge Competition 

Our annual Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition is on again this year on Saturday, November 4. 

Generously supported by the Hunting & Fishing stores in the region -Tower Junction, Ashburton and North Canterbury it’s a great day out for anglers and a great celebration of the opening of the High-country fishery. 

We hope to confirm the location for the weigh-in tent and camping arrangements next week in the fishing report. 

Follow us on Instagram 

The staff here at North Canterbury Fish & Game have started our own Instagram account so we can share some of the sights we get to see when out there undertaking our fieldwork. 

You can check out our page here.


We’ll add to it as time progresses. 

Feel free to send in any pictures you have of your fishing exploits to me at rcosgrove@fishandgame.org.nz

Tight Lines

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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