Weekly Fishing Report For Central South Island & North Canterbury for April 13 2023

  • Central South Island North Canterbury
  • 13/04/2023

Weekly Fishing Report For Central South Island & North Canterbury for April 13 2023

ABOVE RIGHT: While waiting for the bite, activities like board games can be played - just make sure you're within 15 metres of your rod-Photo by Rhys Adams.

Central South Island Report

Get the Kids Out Fishing During the School Holidays

This week’s rain has put a bit of a dampener on the fishing, but the weather is looking to settle, and river flows to recede – more on that in the “outlook for the weekend” section of this report.

The hydro canals and our large lakes like Opuha, Tekapo/Takapō, Pūkaki, Ōhau, Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki offer a particularly good fishing option for the kids as they suit pairing other activities with bait fishing - great for young attention spans.

My family and I have paired board games with bait fishing with success. We just set up a bait rod each for the kids near our vehicle or lake bank set-up. I act as a guide and don’t have a rod of my own set just to keep things simple.        

We mix up the baits for fun, cocktail shrimp (crustacean) on one rod and garden worm on the other.

At this stage, it seems the brown trout prefer the worm and rainbows the shrimp – further testing is to be conducted. 

Bear in mind the anglers can only use 1 rod each and must be within 15 metres of the rod.

If the kids want to tear off up the beach to burn off some energy, either get them to wind in first or make sure there is another licence holder that can legally take over responsibility for that rod.  

If board games aren’t your buzz, then there are an endless number of things you can do while you wait for the bite, like making the stone towers, reading a book, playing “eye spy”, and frying up some lunch on a gas stove.

Wait till you are done fishing before skimming stones. 

Of course, you can always switch to spin fishing for more active fishing – best for those kids five years old and up. 

Outlook for the weekend

Gerard Darby with his salmon caught at the Tekapo Canal on a huhu grub bait - the canals will be a good choice of fishing spots this weekend

It’s been a wet week region-wide and practically all our rivers have increased in flow; some by a lot and others by bugger all.

The weather is looking pretty good on Friday and through the weekend – partly cloudy and light winds; some places will have a few lingering showers on Friday, however.

It’s best that you check out the river flows firsthand at the ECan website here before planning your trip.   

Some rivers that might be high and discoloured this weekend include the Ahuriri, Rangitata, Opihi, Orari and Ashburton. 

If you’re keen on reliable waterway conditions this weekend, then you’ll be right if you fish the Hydro Canals and lakes. For lakes, just bear in mind that inflowing rivers may discolour the water around the delta areas – for example, the Ahuriri Delta on Lake Benmore’s Ahuriri Arm

Late-season river tactics

Rory Cartner fishes the Hakataramea River on a stunning Autumn Day-Photo by Richie Cosgrove

As our rivers recede from the recent rain, we should be in for some great but challenging fishing in rivers like the Opihi, for example.

It pays to prepare your patience and take a few options late season as the well-fed trout can be a bit fussy, sight-fishing conditions can be difficult with a low sun angle, and brown trout can have their minds on spawning rather than your fly.

In terms of tactics, if the river is low and clear and if there is a hatch on and the trout are rising – try a mayfly emerger rather than a traditional dry fly. Emergers tied with CDC feathers are the best – check out this Google search for fly options

Emergers are much harder to see than dry flies, so be sure to gently strike if you lose sight of your emerger and the fish rises is in about the right spot and at the right time for your drift. 

If they’re not rising, but you can sight fish them – try a small #16 mayfly or caddis nymph or two – just a few casts.

If that doesn’t work, switch to big flies,# 12-8 like a squirmy worm or spider – and just a couple of casts.      

Now, if that doesn’t work, it's time to put on a bead head woolly bugger or similar; stay low and sneak up slightly upstream of the fish cast up and across and swing the fly near their snout. The same can be done with a spin rod and soft plastic, toby lure or similar. 

If that doesn’t work, then find the next fish upstream and do it all again.

If river flows are up (likely this weekend), and spotting is difficult, it's best to drift a worm bait through the pools and deep runs.

As the river drops and clears but still holds a bit of colour, switch to spin fishing and using big flies again. 

Check your 2022/23 regulation guide here to make sure bait fishing is permitted in your river of choice. 

Notice Board 

River works – Waitaki River

Environment Canterbury is undertaking major river works on the Lower Waitaki River at Ferry Road/Ross Road (North). Water clarity and angler access may be affected during the works. 

The site of the works is Access Point 7 on our Waitaki Access Guide here

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

North Canterbury Report

Persistence pays off 

So much about angling is related to persistence; we spend countless hours fishing, challenging ourselves and engaging in a battle of wits with fish. 

For Canterbury angler James Parbery, he’s been trying to catch a sea-run salmon on the fly for 25 years. 

Considering how good a trout angler James is and the effort he puts into his fly fishing, this has been a challenge that has eluded him. 

However, success came over the holiday weekend for James on the Waimakariri River when he caught this salmon on the fly. 

The fly is particularly special; it’s called a “Lucy Fly” It’s made using hair from his dog Lucy, and it works for both trout and salmon. 

So much so James even has a friend who refuses to go fishing with him if he’s going to use the Lucy Fly as James will catch all the trout, and he has a zero-success rate in comparison! 

The "Lucy Fly" up close

Not only does James put in countless hours to his fishing, but he’s also one of our tireless team of honorary rangers that patrol the region, checking compliance with the fishing and hunting regulations.

Over the Christmas holiday break, James did over 1500km checking anglers across the region, so it’s great to see that he gets the chance to have some success when he goes fishing. 

James is also a great champion of the Ashley River as a trout fishing option; it's close to the city and with plenty of easily accessible access points. 

Having had a few summers now where the Ashley hasn’t dried up in the lower reaches, it's often overlooked by anglers as they head to Sumner lakes or the Lewis Pass fisheries. 

It holds good numbers of wily, cunning trout ready to challenge the angler. 

Often when we electric fish the Ashley River, if we are doing a fish salvage or study, we are pleasantly surprised by the size and quality of trout in the river. 

Outlook for the Weekend 

The Ashley River is often overlooked by anglers.

Earlier in the week, the prospects for this weekend were not looking that flash, but now Saturday and Sunday are looking good for a spot of fishing. 

Reinforcing the maxim that you need to be fishing when the river conditions are right, six fish were caught at the Waimakariri River mouth on Tuesday when the river was perfect. 

With fish still entering the river, the prospects for our Annual Rangers Fishing Competition next Friday are looking good (river conditions permitting). 

The Competition will be on rain or shine; check out the notice board below or click here for more info. 

If you have kept your two sea-run salmon or finished your salmon fishing for the season, you can jump online to return your salmon card data here. 

If online isn’t your thing, you can hand your salmon card in at the Fish & Game Tent at next Friday’s Ranger’s Competition. 

April entries are now open in the annual Fish & Game Licence Photo Competition; click here to upload your photo and be in with a chance of winning $3000 of vouchers from Kilwell. 

Anglers notice consultation

Last week we invited anglers to make submissions on our angling regulations. 

We have created a page here with the proposed changes and additional detail. 

The main topics we are looking for feedback on are: 

  • Move North Canterbury’s Backcountry fisheries to Designated waters fisheries management regime 
  • Hope River and tributaries area under Designated Waters to be expanded
  • Voluntary Beat System for parts of the Lewis Pass fisheries 
  • Waiau Uwha River Backcountry Fishery area to be expanded under Designated Waters
  • Roto Kohatu winter fishery
  • Aligning angling regulations across Canterbury by addition of note 1.5 from CSI regulations 
  • Reduce the daily bag limit on Lake Marymere from 2 –1 trout, with a maximum length of 400 mm. 
  • Proposed removal of all flyfishing only waterways
  • Reduce the daily bag limit on the Upper Waimakariri River and key tributaries from 2 –1 trout, with a maximum length of 400 mm. 
  • Lake Courtney removed as a junior fishery 
  • Adjustments to the list of waterways designated as Coarse Fisheries 
  • Halswell River & Halswell Canal clarifications
  • Aligning the season dates for key rivers and lakes feeding into Lake Coleridge  

Anglers, licence holders and members of the public have till 5 pm 21 April 2023 to send in feedback and make submissions on the above items or any other points they might want to raise in relation to Schedule 2 of the Anglers Notice (which pertains to the angling regulations in the North Canterbury region). 

Anglers can make their submission via email here. 

North Canterbury Fish and Game will hold a public discussion night at 6 pm on April 27 for submitters to discuss their submissions with staff and answer questions from the wider public. 

Freshwater report out

The Government’s annual freshwater report has been published today; interested anglers can download it here

An interesting fact from it is 73% of New Zealand’s groundwater resource, or 519 billion cubic metres, is in Canterbury! 

Notice Board 

Annual Rangers Fishing Competition   

The annual Fish & Game Rangers fishing competition will be held on Friday, April 21, at Kairaki Beach at the Waimakariri River Mouth.  

The competition is held to celebrate the end of the summer fishing season with anglers and is quite a social event, with a spot prize draw, a free sausage sizzle and a touch of fishing thrown in for good measure.   

We have over $2000 in fantastic spot prizes, with more still to arrive from our generous sponsors: Hunting & Fishing Tower Junction & North Canterbury, Kilwell, Desolve Supply Co, Hunters Element, Stoney Creek, and Amazing Baits.  

There is a trophy for the heaviest salmon caught on the day; click here for more details 

If you have any recent photos of your fishing exploits or events you want to publicise, send them to northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz ; even if they aren’t from our region, I’ll pass them on.     

Tight Lines,   

Richie Cosgrove, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer

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