Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 25 Jan 2024

  • Central South Island North Canterbury
  • 25/01/2024

Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 25 Jan 2024

Above Right: Brett Wilson at an Ashburton lake, braving the weather - smoked up to feed six people.

Central South Island Report

It’s high time to head to the high-country

Fish & Game Ranger Brett Wilson recently did a trip to the Ashburton lakes/Ōtūwharekai, checking for anglers and having a fish.

He caught a lovely brown trout in not-so-lovely weather (pictured).

It wasn’t just Brett that celebrated his catch, he smoked it up and enjoyed eating it with five mates.

Brett said the brownies were going crazy on terrestrials so any dry or emerger fly pattern is working well, especially damsel imitations.

If you head up to the Ashburton Lakes do read up on your 2023/24 regulations here as the regulations vary between the lakes.

For example, at Lake Heron, you can use fly, spin and bait methods, but at Lake Emily, you can only use fly method.

If you’re new to the Ashburton Lakes or just looking for more options then check our brochure here and angler access mapping website here for access points.  

Does Lake Ruataniwha hold big fish?

Brad Meni with his 18lbs rainbow caught at Lake Ruataniwha 18-01-24 photo by Haidee Meni

Yes, but there are two missing now after Haidee and Brad Meni’s recent fishing trip.

Brad caught a 10lbs salmon and the 18lbs rainbow trout pictured.

Lake Ruataniwha’s outlet is the Ōhau B Canal at the SH8 Bridge and the head of the lake and its main inflow is the tailrace of Ōhau A power station.

There are two salmon farms situated in the canal/outlet.

The one between the SH8 Bridge and lake operated by Mount Cook Alpine Salmon and the High Country salmon farm and café at the confluence of Wairepo Arm.

Where there are salmon farms; there are big fish.

The same can generally be said about tail races of power stations, trout get big there eating the fish and other prey items that travel through the power station turbines.

Big fish will ‘wander’ from time to time around both Lake Ruataniwha and Wairepo Arm.

How to target them?

Well, that’s up to you to discover – and theres plenty of opportunity to do so.

Lake Ruataniwha, Ōhau B Canal and Wairepo Arm are open for fishing all season 1 October - 30 September and fly, spin and bait methods are permitted.

For angler access options – check out the area on our angler access mapping website here and on our hydro canal fishery brochure’s map here.

Outlook for the weekend

Ross Hasting with a Lake Benmore brown trout caught spin fishing with a tassie 'halo' near the Ahuriri Delta Photo by R Adams

Like clockwork, another two Westerly fronts are forecast to deliver dollops of rainfall to the main divide over the weekend. 

Flows in Main Divide draining rivers like the Rangitata/Rakitata and Ahuriri are already elevated from this week’s rain, so it won’t take much more rain to keep them high and unfishable.

Tarns and spring creek tributaries in the main divide catchments will be your best bet.

Further east in Twizel we may be lucky and receive a bit of rain over the weekend but generally, the forecast is for dry conditions and mild summer temperatures.

Twizel received a welcome 25mm of rain over the week but that was only just enough to raise the water levels a smidgen in the likes of the Twizel / Whakatipu and Tekapo/Takapō rivers.

Although trout have got a slight respite from the summer low-flow conditions, they are likely to return if no substantial rain occurs over the next week.

Lake Benmore has been fishing well this summer. If you’re heading out in the boat this weekend just be mindful that the wind might pick up on Saturday so it will pay to get out on the water as early as possible – usually the most productive bite time then too.

On the foothills and plains, it should be a hot and windy Saturday and a cool and cloudy Sunday.

The Rain this week gave some lowland rivers a nice bump in flows and a respite from the warm and low summer flows.

Hopefully flows remain elevated this weekend as it will improve the fishing – just be mindful of water temperatures getting a bit high for good fishing on Saturday afternoon. Trout can go off the feed in water temps above 19 degrees.       

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: 7 pm Thursday 1st February

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams
Central South Island Fish & Game Officer 

North Canterbury Report

Heather Sanders with her first rainbow trout ever on Lake Coleridge.

With the rivers being unfishable last weekend due to a lot of rain in the main divide and Sunday looking to have excellent weather conditions for fishing, some of the team from North Canterbury ventured up to the high-country lakes and checked licences.

It was great seeing a lot of anglers out on the water, making the most of the opportunities that the region’s lakes have to offer.

Talking to anglers, they were happy with how their fishing had been, with most of them catching fish with some anglers keeping fish for the table.

Lake Coleridge has been fishing well during these warm days we are currently having because of its size and how deep it is.

This means the water temperature is a lot cooler than our other high-country lakes which aren’t as deep as Lake Coleridge hence why the fish are generally more active.

On Sunday we talked to a group of anglers who fish the lake regularly and on one of their previous trips this season they had caught over 20 fish for the day on the lake.

Most of the fish that they had caught were in great condition which shows that this lake is a great wild fishery and there is plenty of food for them.

Outlook for the Weekend

Managed my first salmon at the Rakaia Mouth last Friday morning. 7lb pretty happy considering it's been 7yrs between Salmon - Tony Spiers

Unfortunately, at this stage, I don’t see some of our popular salmon rivers being fishable.

However, if you are interested in exploring a bit further afield and wanting to target sea-run salmon then I would suggest having a look at either the Hurunui or Waiau Rivers.

They aren’t getting as affected by the rain in the main divide compared to the Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers.

If you want to target trout in a river or stream, then I would suggest looking for either a deep pool or a fast-flowing riffle.

This is where the water will generally be cooler so the fish can stay active for longer.

This will increase your catch rate as it can be very hard work trying to catch a trout that isn’t actively feeding.

However, if you decide to head up to our lakes fishing then I would recommend targeting the shallows either early in the morning before the water temperature gets too warm.

Once it gets too hot, they will generally retreat to deeper water and then late in the evening the fish will come into the shallows again and feed through the night.

If you have either a boat or kayak, then trolling is a great option as you can also target fish once they drop back into deeper and cooler water which opens up more fishing opportunities.

Tight Lines

Harry Graham-Samson

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