Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island & North Canterbury for December 1 2022

  • North Canterbury Central South Island
  • 1/12/2022

Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island & North Canterbury for December 1 2022


Lakes and the Mackenzie Hydro Canals offer reliable fishing destinations

Welcome to summer; it’s wet and kind of cold. 

Not great news for sunbathers, but it's par for the course for trout and salmon.

Regionwide rain over the week has bumped up flows in our rivers again. 

A few rivers will drop to fantastic fishing levels this weekend, but many will remain marginally high, and a few will be unfishable due to poor water clarity.

Above Right: Harley Stone (left) and Ollie Salisbury (right) with Ollie's first-ever trout – caught trolling at Lake Benmore.

The opening weekend of the upper Ahuriri River will be affected by recent rain; although the river isn’t super high currently and it will drop, sight fishing is usually best fished below 20 Cumecs flow

In recent years a slip near the Ahuriri River’s Canyon Creek tributary has affected water clarity after rain – I’m not sure if this is still the case. 

Be sure to check the ECan River flows website before heading to your waterway of choice. 

Another good option is to check out the Outdoor Access Livestream webcams – they provide a 30-day free trial for those wanting to check it out.


It is going to be an overcast and cold-ish “summer” weekend generally, maybe a spit or two of rain in the low country – fairly light winds on Saturday. 

Genesis is continuing spilling of Lake Takapō/ Tekapo to the Takapō/ Tekapo River via the Lake Geroge Scott Spill Wier over the weekend, so we don’t recommend the Takapō/ Tekapo River as a fishing option this weekend as it is in flood (see picture). 

These spilling/flood flows may also discolour Lake Benmore in the area around the Takapō/ Tekapo River Delta. 

A reliable option this weekend will be the hydro canals and hydro lakes of the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Valley.

Although I can’t predict the canal flows, I’d guess the Pūkaki Canal could have good flows this weekend as Lake Pūkaki is getting pretty full. 

The flows of the Tekapo Canal have been reducing recently as works are underway at the Tekapo B Power station on one of its turbines; once that’s sorted, I’d imagine the flows will ramp up again as Lake Takapō/ Tekapo is very full. 

I was ranging the Ōhau C Canal yesterday and can report there were a few 2-4lb salmon being caught, I wouldn’t say it was a high catch rate, but productive enough for a visit if you’re heading to the canals anyway. 

Hydro lakes like Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki will be worth a fish – especially on Saturday, with light winds predicted. 

Water temperatures are great currently for all-day and all-depths trolling; although it never hurts to be on the water early and late for the more reliable bite-times. 

It’s sockeye salmon fishing season now for Lake Benmore boat anglers – if you havn’t already, check out this video for a few tips on how to target them.    

There were some good-sized sockeyes (350mm+) around last season so let’s hope for more of the same this season. 

Lake Pūkaki Access restriction – Glentanner Airfield

WFR2223.26 The location of DOCs locked gate at Lake Pukaki Glentanner Airfield access a key code is available by request for anglers who wish to launch small non motorised boats

The location of DOC's locked gate at Lake Pukaki - Glentanner Airfield access - a key code is available by request for anglers who wish to launch small non-motorised boats'

Anglers are to be advised that vehicle access to the top of Lake Pūkaki, adjacent to Glentanner Airfield, off Mount Cook Road, is now restricted.

The Department of Conservation is managing a locked gate during the bird breeding season, September-January inclusive.

Walking access remains unaffected year-round. 

Anglers who wish to launch small non-motorised watercraft during the restricted period can gain vehicle access by contacting the Department of Conservation Twizel Office at +64 3 435 0802 or via email at twizel@doc.govt.nz, and they will receive a code for the gate.

Anglers will need to make contact prior to each trip as the combination number is subject to change, ensuring only permitted vehicles have access.

Restricting vehicle access between September and January is to protect all braided river bird species that nest within this special area, particularly Kaki and other endangered native species. Braided rivers also contain many sensitive ecosystems and threatened plants; vehicle tracking can have major impacts that last for years.

Outside of this restricted period, February – August inclusive, the gate will be unlocked, and anglers can use the access as they have done in the past. A pedestrian turnstile will be in place in the future so consider walking rather than driving to help protect our braided river ecosystems.

Please limit how far you take your vehicle in any braided river.

Note 1: Motorised craft are not permitted on Lake Pūkaki subject to the Mackenzie District Council Plan.

Note 2: No formed boat launching facilities are available at this access. 


Environment Canterbury Pest Plant Advisory – Yellow Water Lily

As summer approaches, it is a good time to keep an eye out for yellow water lily when fishing. This invasive water weed is currently only present in a side catchment of the Opihi River below Rockwood.

Yellow water lily mainly invades still or slow-flowing water. It can choke streams, shallow ponds, and lake margins, affecting the habitat, plants and organisms.

To find out more visit www.ecan.govt.nz/plantpests.

If you think you may have spotted Yellow Water Lily, please report this through reportpests.nz

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer


Fish On! 

Last week was a bit of a mission for anglers wanting to find a spot to go fishing, but those who ventured out generally had some positive results. 

My colleague Harry Graham-Samson (pictured right) took some days off and headed up to the upper Waiau River area with a couple of mates. 

The fishing was great, the scenery was also stunning, and all three of them got to experience the great fisheries we have in the region.

We totally recommend a day trip fishing in the Lewis Pass area; you won’t regret it. 

Closer to Christchurch, Jonathan Larsson checked out the upper Ashley River and caught this lovely brown trout up there. 

It was Jonathan’s first visit to the upper Ashley River, and whilst he had to do a bit of walking, he was more than happy with the results from his days fishing. 

A lovely brown trout from above the Ashley Gorge

A lovely brown trout from above the Ashley Gorge

The outlook for the weekend's weather is highlighting Saturday as the day for a spot of fishing. Sunday will bring a spot of rain with a southerly change, but the rainfall isn’t predicted to be much. 

Our lake fisheries in the region are an excellent option for a family fishing adventure and would also be a great place to target this weekend. 

Talking to the angling retail stores, they are already hearing reports of salmon being sighted in the Rakaia. 

Both the Rakaia and Waimakariri river flows are dropping and should become fishable shortly. 

So if you see salmon or are lucky enough to land one, take a picture and let us know! 

Lake Forsyth gate 

The new fence and gate at Lake Forsyth.

The new fence and gate at Lake Forsyth.

Anglers visiting Lake Forsyth recently will have noticed a new gate and fence line installed by the City Council. 

This was in response to vehicles damaging the land when they travelled off the marked tracks. 

In order to protect the ecosystem, the fence and gate were installed. 

There is still foot access to the lake; it is just vehicle access that has been restricted. 

The North Canterbury Fish & Game team is working with the City Council to come up with a solution for angler vehicle access, and hopefully, we’ll have an update shortly. 

Update your licence details 

If you have changed your address, email or phone number, you can update your details online by clicking here.

That way, we can alert you to any changes or updates about the fishery. 

Postal delays 

Anglers may not be aware that NZ Post is currently having some issues with their delivery fleet of vehicles. Also, their interisland aircraft fleet has been reduced to a single aircraft between the North and South Islands. 

All Fish & Game licences and the sea-run salmon endorsements are printed and dispatched from the North Island, so it may take longer than the usual ten days for these to show up in the post.

As an aside, the sea-run salmon endorsement comes separately from your licence. Unfortunately, this year, we’ve had to deal with more than a couple of licence holders accidentally throwing out their sea-run salmon endorsement. 


Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition 

February 24th, 25th and 26th, 2023.

The Rakaia competition is the largest freshwater fishing competition in New Zealand, attracting over 700 entrants yearly. Also, next year will be the 40th anniversary of the first competition held in 1983. 

Rakaia River Promotions (the organisers) will post more details soon but bookmark their webpage to get the latest info.

If you have any recent photos of your fishing exploits or fishing 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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