Weekly Fishing report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 30 November 2023

  • Central South Island North Canterbury
  • 30/11/2023

Weekly Fishing report for Central South Island  and  North Canterbury for 30 November 2023

Above Right: Dwi Svensson tries her luck near the mouth of the Rangitata River - Photo by Nikki Dellaway

Central South Island Report

Summer fishing is here! 

Friday is officially the first day of summer, and with that comes anticipation of some great fishing adventures to be had.

If you haven’t already purchased your fishing licence, now is a great time. Pop into your local tackle shop or get your licence online here

Whole season licence holders can also purchase a $5 sea-sun salmon licence that is valid in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game Regions only. 

The sea-run salmon licence is a legal requirement for any angler who targets sea-run salmon. It is also required by any angler to keep a sea-run salmon caught accidentally while targeting other species like trout or kahawai. 

With your sea-run salmon licence, you will receive a season bag limit card. This card must be carried, along with a pen, as the details of any kept sea-run salmon must be recorded immediately, in ink, on the card. 

Fishing for land-locked salmon like those in Lake Tekapo / Takapō, hydro canals or Lake Benmore are not sea-run salmon and, therefore, do not require the sea-run salmon licence. 

The sea-run salmon season appears to be off to a sleepy start, but we anticipate that will change as we get into early summer.

On Tuesday, Fish & Game Officer Nikki Dellaway checked on 11 anglers at the Rangitata/ Rakitata River mouth.

Although anglers spoke of recent sea-run brown trout catches and had caught a few kahawai on the day, no one could confirm a sea-run salmon has been landed at the Rangitata mouth so far this season.

Upper Ahuriri Opening

The upper section of the Ahuriri River, its tributaries, tarns and lagoons will open for fishing on Saturday, 2nd December.

See page 37 of the regulations for the Ahuriri regulations listings. 

Waitaki River trip a success

Jack releasing a brown trout from the Waitaki River.

Scott and Jack report a fantastic weekend fishing on the Waitaki River between Kurow and Duntroon.

The river was at an ideal and relatively low flow of 200 cumecs, which provided a multitude of options on good fishable water.

They caught and released several fish each, a mix of rainbow and browns from three to five pounds.

A combination of blind and sight fishing was employed, with a variety of single and trout spey fly methods.

The most productive streamers were medium to large rabbit and bugger style lures in natural and brown colours.

Small weighted mayfly nymphs with indicators were successful on sighted fish and blind fishing edge water. A couple of rising fish were also taken on dry mayfly patterns.

To learn more about fishing the Waitaki River, check out our access guide here

Tekapo Trout’s turbo growth

Michael Thomson recently caught a tagged rainbow trout in the Tekapo / Takapō Canal that has been growing at a turbo-charged pace.

From a small trout to a chilly bin filler in less than a year photo by Michael Thomson

Tagged at just 1.4 lbs and 400mm in December 2022, less than one year ago, it grew to 15 lbs and 650mm when caught at the “Fish Bowl” last week.

Here’s a growth statistic that’ll bend your mind: it gained 1lb every 25 days.

To learn more about our Tekapo Canal tagging project, watch our YouTube video here

What is a soft bait?

The term “soft bait” gets thrown around a lot, so much so that anglers commonly use the term to describe various lures that are legally defined as “spinner” and “bait”.

Any lure or soft bait that is scented, is legally defined as “bait” on page 7 in the First Schedule of the sports fishing regulations – regulations that apply to all of New Zealand.

It reads: ““Bait” means:… Any scented lure, soft bait and other synthetic imitations with chemical attractant properties, except where stated otherwise in the Second Schedule of this notice.”

This means that any scented lures, scented spinner, scented artificial eggs, scented imitation pellets, etc, are legally “bait”.

The key question to ask yourself before making a cast with a scented soft bait is, can I legally use bait at this waterway?

If the waterway listing in the regulations displays authorised legal methods as “FS”, meaning Fly and Spin only – then for most of New Zealand’s waterways, the answer is “No, scented soft baits are prohibited”. This includes all “FS” waters in the Central South Island Region.

Exceptions to the use of scented soft baits that imitate “bait fish” when actively retrieved in “FS” waters are made in the Second Schedules of the regulations that apply specifically to North Canterbury, Southland, Auckland-Waikato, and Eastern Fish & Game regions only. Refer to your regulation guide for the exact wording. 

Notice Board

CSI Annual Public Meeting - Thursday 7 December 2023

Where: 32 Richard Pearse Drive, Temuka. Time: 7 pm.

Licence holders and members of the public are welcome to attend. 

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

North Canterbury Report 

Phil Brooks's lovely 80cm sea-runner

This weekend marks the first weekend of summer which means that the temperatures should only get warmer (maybe!).

December is a great month for freshwater fishing as not only are the trout feeding off the surface more frequently due to their being more insect life.

Phil Brooks didn't wait for the official start of summer to go fishing, he's been out and about trying his luck around the region.

He was a little bit secretive bout where he caught the beautiful 80cm sea-run trout he caught, only saying it was in the North Canterbury region, but what a lovely fish!

It goes to show the value of being out there fishing as you never know what you might find.

The sea-run salmon will be in the rivers so keep your ear to the ground to hear where they are getting caught and get amongst it.

We haven’t had any confirmed reports of any sea-run salmon getting caught yet.

However, I’m sure that they are in the river now to be caught it’s just a matter of finding where they are resting up in the river which can be the hard part!

We are still getting reports of some cracking fish getting caught in our high-country lakes and rivers.

Also, we have had reports of some great fishing in our rivers that aren’t designated waters so if you are willing to explore these other rivers then I’m sure you’ll have a great day fishing.

As I said in a previous weekly report get yourself a copy of John Kent’s book, it provides great information for anglers and it covers the whole South Island.

A quick reminder for anglers who are fishing in the high country and are away from their vehicle it is a good idea to leave a note on the front dash of your vehicle with your intentions for other anglers.

This way they can see so they don’t jump in front of you on the river and disrupt your days fishing.

As there is nothing worse than getting up early to get to the beat you want to fish and then part way through the day you find that other anglers have jumped in front of you. 

Rod & Reel Give Away

Send in a recent fishing trip photo and go in the draw to win this rod and reel set from Hunting and Fishing Christchurch and Diawa NZ.

The team at Hunting & Fishing Christchurch and Diawa NZ have offered us a prize giveaway for this week.

It's a Daiwa Aird-X 8’6” 2pce rod, paired with an Aird LT 2500 reel and 8lb braid. Valued at $330.

It has been fished (by Simon McMillian)  for half a day during a photo shoot to promote this new rod and reel set and has been offered to Weekly Fishing Report readers as a prize. 

To go in the draw for this great prize,  send a picture of a recent fishing trip in the North Canterbury Region to ncevent@fishandgame.org.nz 

Entries will close on Tuesday at 5 pm and we'll judge it next week and announce the winner in next week's report.

Kaikoura Salmon

Do you have a Chinook Salmon caught off the Kaikoura coast that’s still in your freezer?

Or thinking of going fishing for them in the next few weeks? 

We want to collect heads from Kaikoura salmon as part of a small project investigating the spawning stream origins of these fish. 

If you’re in the Christchurch area and have a frozen Kaikoura salmon, please bring it into our office Mon-Fri at 595 Johns Road, Harewood, Christchurch or give us a call and we’ll see if we can arrange collection. 

We also want any additional data about the fish (date caught, length, weight, sex etc) if it can be provided. 

Any fish (or heads) handed in would be much appreciated.   

Contact Fish & Game Officer Emily Craig at the office for more information.

Notice Board

Annual Public Meeting

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

Cam River Removal Of Willow Trees by Environment Canterbury 

WHAT: Maintenance and removal of willow trees 
WHERE: Cam River/Ruataniwha, starting at Bramleys Road and working downstream towards SH1 
WHEN: Monday 27 November to Christmas, then from mid-January to late February 2024 

From late November, ECan will be carrying out maintenance works on willows in the Cam River to improve the flow capacity of the river and reduce flood risk.

This work will involve topping and trimming back these trees and, in some cases, their removal. 

Bank disturbance will be kept to a minimum and no native vegetation will be removed. 

Many of these trees are in poor health and pose a risk to the community, as they could fall onto banks/tracks or into the river, impeding water flow, which could lead to out-of-channel flooding. 

This work will be undertaken by contractors and Environment Canterbury staff. 

Waimakariri River Kayak Race 2 December

This Saturday the Waimakariri River between the Mount White Bridge and the Gorge Bridge will be closed to boating for a kayak race.


Tight lines 

The Team at North Canterbury Fish & Game

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