Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for March 30 2023

  • North Canterbury Central South Island
  • 30/03/2023

Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for March 30 2023

Above Right: Oetse Kempkers - caught this chunky salmon at Ōhau C Canal on Wednesday-photo by Hamish Stevens. 

Central South Island Report

Ease of Access a Top Reason To Fish The Canals

CSI Fish & Game Ranger Hamish Stevens was on duty at the canals on Wednesday, undertaking licence and compliance checks and our Canal Angler Survey.

The survey runs over the length of this sports fishing season, from 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023. 

One question our rangers ask of anglers interviewed on the canal bank is, “What are your top reasons why you fish the canals.” 

Halfway through the survey we seem to have a front runner for the most common answer, simply put, “Ease of access”.

This makes good sense considering kilometre upon kilometre of the canals are quickly and easily accessible by vehicle from State Highway 8 and other roads. 

Even when locked gates block vehicle access, large sections of the canal bank roads offer walking, and cycling access – the ‘Magic Carpet’ section at Tekapo Canal is an example of this. 

If you’re new to the canals check out our Canal guide here, it has a map to help with access. 

Jordan Prior made the trip from Australia to fish the canals and found success at the Ōhau A Canal intake' - photo by Hamish Stevens

Hamish checked on 19 fully law-abiding anglers on Wednesday at the Pūkaki and Ōhau canals and reckoned it was relatively busy with anglers for a cold-weathered weekday. 

A “smattering” of fish caught was Hamish’ choice of words to describe catch and he kindly went to the effort to grab photos of two of the successful anglers who kept their fish so we could share them with you.    

RDR fish screen

CSI Fish & Game staff have been working with Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) staff since the commissioning of their new fish screen.

Fish & Game Officer Mark Webb surveys the fish species present in the dewatered RDR fish screen bypass channel

We have been undertaking regular electric fishing surveys in the bypass channel downstream of the screen to identify fish species present and their general condition.

The bypass channel flows at a constant 3 cumecs and allows fish to return to the Rangitata River.

RDR temporarily reduced the flow of the bypass channel via a control gate to enable us to capture of the fish.

Last Friday we undertook another round of electric fishing and found long-fin eel, torrent fish, galaxiid, and rainbow trout.

All fish appeared to be in excellent condition.  

The information gathered provides background to future fish screen testing to be undertaken by RDR as part of the projects resource consent requirements.

RDR has invited CSI Fish & Game staff to assist NIWA with the testing later this year which will assess the condition of fish after they pass by the screen. 

Notice Board 

Pūkaki River spill

Meridian Energy intends to spill water via the Pūkaki Spill Control Structure (Gate 19) on 01/04/2023 from 06:00 until 16:00, 02/04/2023 from 05:00 until 15:00, and 04/04//2023 from approx. 09:00 hrs 15:00 hrs.   

Anglers accessing/fishing the lower Tekapo/Takapō River at or below its confluence with the Pūkaki River may be affected by spill flows.  

Lake Benmore aquatic weed control – Monday April 3rd. 

LINZ are targeting two sites for treatment: The Neck and Sailors Cutting.

Diquat in gel form will be used to treat aquatic weeds targeting Lagarosiphon major.

This work is dependent on suitable weed, water, and weather conditions and therefore the timing is subject to change.

Signage will be placed at key public access points and boat ramps 24 hours prior to and post control.

LINZ recommend a 24-hour stand-down on fishing once the spraying is complete.

If you have any questions in relation to this work, call LINZ on 0800 638 943 or keep up to date with treatment progress nearer to the time on the LINZ website.  

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

North Canterbury Report

Outlook for the weekend 

Be sure to have some warm clothing handy if heading out early or staying late fishing this weekend.

Trout anglers have been the ones in the box seat for fishing opportunities; lately, there are just so many options for anglers to choose from when deciding on a weekend fishing trip. 

Whether it’s close to Christchurch or a bit further away in the high country, it has to be really atrocious weather to completely scupper all your fishing options.

If you are a bit stumped or perhaps new to the area, this link can help you out; there are some handy pdf’s at the bottom of the page you can print out to explore the region with. 

Another helpful guide is the regulations booklet; if a water body is listed there, it is generally a good option for fishing. 

If you are looking for tips on where to find fish, there’s this handy pamphlet on how to “read the water”, which is a great refresher for anglers of all experience and skill levels. 

There is a bit of a nor-wester predicted for the weekend, but the temperatures should be in the low 20s, making up for this week's freezing chilly winds and rain. 

Remember to keep some warm clothing handy if you are up early or staying late. 

Spawning surveys have started 

The end of March is when we at Fish & Game start many months of spawning surveys. 

We start with sea-run salmon surveys, then continue with brown trout spawning and finish with rainbow trout spawning towards October. 

Whilst on a ground-based sea-run salmon survey this week, Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson grabbed this short video of some of 70 salmon he saw in a small spawning stream. 

For the keen-eyed amongst you, there’s even a cheeky brown trout trying to get in on the action. 

Sea-run Salmon regulations 

This is a special note for salmon anglers from a fellow angler Mark, who rang into the office concerned about anglers not being aware of the rules around sea-run salmon fishing. 

I’ve copied the key points as a refresher for everyone:

Anglers must:

  1. Sign the card.
  2. Produce the card on demand of a Fish & Game Ranger.
  3. Immediately print IN INK details of your kept salmon on the card front.
  4. Cease fishing for sea-run salmon for the remainder of the season immediately upon taking the season bag limit.
  5. Return the card information by May 7, even if you did not fish or kept no salmon.

The big one most people forget is that once you have kept your two sea-run salmon and reached your season bag limit, you must cease fishing for sea-run salmon for the season. 

You cannot practice catch and release.

Being caught in breach of any of these regulations will likely result in fishing gear and fish being seized and may result in a criminal conviction. 

Anglers notice review - proposed regulation changes for consultation

Next week, we’ll be publishing some regulation changes we’ll be seeking consultation on as part of our Anglers Notice review process.

Anglers will have two weeks to give us feedback on the proposed changes, and anyone who makes a submission will be welcome to come along to our public meeting, where they can discuss their submission with the wider public. 

Keep an eye out next week on the North Canterbury Facebook page and in next week's fishing report for links and info. 

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

Suspected discharge incident in the Heathcote River/Ōpāwaho - Update 29 March 2023 

Following extensive sampling, ECan can reassure the public they have not detected any contaminants of concern in the samples taken from the Heathcote River/Ōpāwaho on March 13. 

They sampled water quality in the river to determine whether there were ongoing water quality concerns following the discovery of more than 500 dead fish in early March. 

This means it is now safe for the public and animals to be near and/or use the river. People should heed any warnings or signs installed by the Christchurch City Council regarding sewage overflows — this is particularly the case after periods of heavy rain. 

At this stage, investigations into the cause of the dead fish are continuing, but no contaminants of concern were present from water sampling on 13 March.

If people see anything of concern, we encourage them to contact ECan on 0800 765 588. 

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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