Weekly Fishing report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 23 November 2023

  • Central South Island North Canterbury
  • 23/11/2023

Weekly Fishing report for Central South Island  and  North Canterbury for 23 November 2023

Above: Riley Frost caught this cracking brown trout from Loch Cameron on a black and gold paddle tail soft plastic - photo by Eddie Pollard

Central South Island Report

November is a fantastic time to go fishing, anglers report 

Young angler Riley Frost caught a cracking brown from Loch Cameron earlier this week.

Keep in mind there should still be a few salmon about at the Loch post Kids Salmon Fishing Day earlier in the month. 

Stan Price got in touch to report he and his friends caught six salmon at Lake Tekapo / Takapō trolling with tassie devil lures.

They fished with lead lines, not far off the shoreline and varied the depth of their lines (colours) in trial-and-error style as the depth of water changed. 

I fished a 1.5km stretch of the Ōpihi River last Saturday between SH1 and Pleasant Point.

Even with another angler’s fresh boot prints in the sand I still managed to spot eight trout, catching three well-conditioned browns of about 3-3.5 lbs. Successful flies were #16 bead head pheasant tail nymphs and a parachute Adams dry. The river was in fantastic condition, clear water, and very little algae. Get into it team!       

Night patrol and recent prosecution

Rangers check on an angler at 'the gap' on the Ōhau C Canal' Photo by Rhys Adams

Rangers were active at night on the canals during Canterbury Anniversary weekend.

Although most anglers were law-abiding, five offences were detected.

Three for using unauthorised bait and two for using multiple bait assemblies.

A reminder when using any fish for bait, it must be whole / fully intact.

This is because any portion of fish is explicitly excluded from use. Refer to page 6 of your 2023/24 regulations.   

In other compliance-related news, we successfully prosecuted a canal angler in court on Tuesday.

They were ordered to pay $1,530 in costs and fines.

Further details are provided on our website - click here

Dinosaur tastes “delicious” 

Lake Alexandrina recently yielded a dinosaur for angler Allan Davidson. 

A stegosaurus wouldn’t have wolfed down the damsel fly that Allan expertly bow and arrow cast out from the willow-clad bank, they’re herbivores. 

A triceratops would have taken him out to his backing more than just twice and fought way longer than 15 minutes. 

And, there’s no way a CSI Fish & Game Officer or member of the Lake Alexandrina Conservation Trust would be brave enough to catch and tag a T-rex for research, I was still working on the West Coast at that stage. 

Turns out Allan only caught a really old, and tagged, dinosaur-esque brown trout. 

Allan said it was in good nick with orangey flesh, in fact, he said it was “delicious” fried with Coat ’n Cook batter.

Unfortunately, he only found the tag during filleting so didn’t take a photo of the fish.      

Our (fossil) records show it was tagged back in 2015 and was 595mm long at the time – we estimated it was likely six years old at the time.

That makes it about 14 years old, a dinosaur amongst trout considering most trout we fry up for dinner are usually between three and five years old.

Allan weighed it at 3.1kg / 6.8 lbs and measured at 670mm, it had grown 75mm since being tagged 3,056 days earlier. 

Allan intended to release the fish but after several attempts to revive it, it could not retain itself upright or swim away under its own strength.

Allan did the honourable thing, a swift blow to the head with a rock, and kept it to eat. 

If you want to learn how and why we tagged fish from Lake Alexandrina – check out this video here

Message from Meridian

Fences and barriers are erected near power stations to keep you safe from emergency discharges like this pictured

Summer is nearly here and there are a few things to remember when you’re out and about near our canals and hydro assets.

  • Remember to park safely, well clear of the roadway and in designated parking areas.
  • The rocks on the edge of the canal are super slippery and the canals quickly reach a 10M depth. Please be careful.
  • Don’t climb fences around our structures – the fences are there to keep you safe.    
  • Take it easy when walking down the side of the canals - it’s easy to slip, fall and break something. 
  • Our hydro station’s water intake and discharge areas have fast flowing aerated water, undercurrents and unpredictable water releases. Please follow the safety information on our safety signs. 

Enjoy the canals and hydro assets safely over the summer!

Happy fishing!

Outlook for the weekend

As I write this on Wednesday the weather forecast for the weekend is looking superb! Don’t forget your sun protection.

Some rain is forecast for Thursday and Friday but it doesn’t look like too much.

Most rivers should have good clarity for fishing, but don’t take my word for it — check in on the ECan river flow and rainfall webpages before heading out.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

North Canterbury Report

Aucklander Brian Gunn with this 7.5-pound beauty.

How good were the fishing conditions over the long weekend?

Some staff spent the long weekend up at the Hurunui Lakes doing compliance checks, with some anglers being very surprised/impressed to see us up in the area.

It is great to hear such positive feedback from our anglers.

If you’re heading up into the area, call us if you need any fishing advice.

Auckland Brian Gunn and his brother Mike came down and checked out our North Canterbury Designated Waters fisheries over the past fortnight.

Brian caught this 7.5-pound beauty from the Hurunui River South Branch Designated Water Fishery, with a stone fly impersanation.

Both anglers said it was really impressive seeing the fish starting to take the dry fly up there and that there were just so many options for Canterbury anglers, hence why they travelled down to the region.

As the days start to get warmer and more settled, the fish will begin to get more cagey about whether they want to take your fly or lure.

So, you will need to pull out a few extra tricks to increase your catch rate; I suggest using a thinner tippet/leader material than you would use earlier in the season.  

Depending on the piece of water, you can still get away with using a thicker tippet/leader material, e.g. fast riffle water.

The second trick I would also recommend is using smaller flies or lures, as most fish will simply avoid taking bigger tackle if the water is crystal clear because they get to see it in the water from a further distance.

Where should I go fishing this weekend?

A lone salmon angler at the Rakaia river mouth on Thursday morning

We get asked this question often; I even ask myself the same question!

The first thing I do on a Monday is check the river flows and weather forecast, as well as the tides, if you want to fish any of the river mouths of our major braided rivers.

I watch this for the week and check it most days.

I also check the Outdoor Access Cameras for a live view of what the river is doing, especially as you can see the colour of the river.

Then I base my plans around that, as there isn’t much point fishing a dirty river for obvious reasons.

For hints and info, there is plenty of information online and on YouTube, which can help you get started or provide additional advice.

There is one book I highly recommend purchasing and leaving in the glovebox of your truck (well, that’s what I do!), and that is the South Island Trout Fishing Guide by John Kent.

It is essentially my bible and covers the South Island with plenty of information about most rivers and lakes.

With Christmas coming up, this book would be an excellent gift for any keen angler.

What is your goal this salmon season?

Fish & Game Honorary Ranger James Parbery persevered for years to catch a salmon on the fly, finally catching one in April this year.

This is our third year now, requiring a sea-run salmon licence and the season bag limit of harvesting two fish for the season.

However, it now opens the opportunity to think of the salmon fishery from a different perspective instead of trying to harvest as many fish as you can to give yourself a challenge or goal.

Your goal could be as simple as just catching a salmon, or it could be trying to catch a salmon using a different method.

For example, catching one on the fly rod and swinging big streamers or using single hooks on your spinners.

You could even try and use different spinners that aren’t your traditional zed spinner.

I understand that just catching a salmon alone isn’t easy, but imagine catching one doing something out of the ordinary and enticing a salmon to eat your fly or spin that you have persisted with.

The satisfaction level will be a lot higher, and you will probably remember that one fish for a very long time.


Annual Public Meeting

7 December 2023
6.30 pm
F&G Office - 595 Johns Road

Environment Canterbury River works

Environment Canterbury (ECan) regularly undertakes projects that may affect your access and recreation on riverbeds, for example, earthworks for flood protection and biodiversity projects like animal control.

Before heading out, check out ECan’s ‘Current River Works’ webpage for listings of current and planned works that may impact on your fishing trip.

Click here to link to the webpage.

Tight Lines

Harry Graham-Samson, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer 

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