Weekly Fishing report for Central South island and North Canterbury - Holiday Edition 2 - 04-01-2024

  • 4/01/2024
  • Roslyn Simmonds

Weekly Fishing report for Central South island and North Canterbury - Holiday Edition 2 - 04-01-2024

Above: The Tekapo Canal is a great place to park up, make a cast, and enjoy the view-Photo by Rhys Adams

Welcome to our second of two ‘Holiday Editions’ of the Weekly Report.

In this report, we provide information and tips that aim to help you have safe, fun, and successful fishing trips this summer.

Just Park and Cast – 10 easy-access fishing spots

North Canterbury

Lake Lyndon Access to the lake is excellent, and good catches of rainbow and brown trout can be had. In the past the lake has tended to hold large numbers of smaller fish. Today, there appear to be fewer but larger fish.

Waimakariri River Dickeys Road. Stalk trout during the day and target large pools at night with streamer flies. Below Dickeys Road, there is a good walking track beside the river where trout can be spotted from.

Waimakariri River The mouth can be accessed on the north side through the Kairaki settlement. The mouth opens into a big tidal bay renowned for its excellent sea-run salmon runs in summer.

Rakaia River Dobbins Ford. Generally fished for sea-run salmon, but has sea-run brown trout in the lower reaches and resident rainbow and brown trout upstream. Good runs of salmon from November to March. 

Lake Georgina Has both brown and rainbow trout. Most anglers wade out and fish the deeper parts of the lake near the public toilet. Best fished early in the morning.

To check out more access options, click here.

Central South Island

Lake Opuha Has multiple access options, shore fishing and formed boat ramps at Bennets and Hays Roads. The North and South Opuha rivers are the lake's main source of water and offer small river fishing options.

Lake Tekapo Trout and salmon fishing with breathtaking views of the Southern Alps. Target the stream mouths. Spin anglers should try casting silver lures like hex wobblers and ticers around 14 grams. 

Lake Hood A park-like lake offering great perch fishing and the chance to catch brown and rainbow trout. Just a quick detour from State Highway 1.

Tekapo Canal Roadside access and all legal methods are permitted. It is renowned for its scenic setting and trophy trout. The canal has brown and rainbow trout of all sizes, with many reaching over 4kg and a few over 15kg. 

Pukaki Canal This Canal provides relaxing roadside access, and all legal methods are permitted. The canal supports brown and rainbow trout of all sizes, with many reaching over 4kg. Occasionally, salmon are caught here too.

To check out more access options, click here

Catch – Bleed – Clean and Chill 

Gilled, gutted, with a frozen water bottle in a chilly bag; a great way to preserve your catch on a hot day’ Photo Rhys Adams

Sports fish are a special food resource – there is no commercial market for trout or wild-caught salmon from New Zealand’s freshwater – only sports fishing licence holders have the privilege of harvesting wild sports fish in freshwater. 

Here are the four key steps we recommend for getting the absolute best flavour and flesh texture from your special catch. 

  1. after landing, dispatch your fish ASAP with a firm strike to the top of the head above its eyes with a rock or stick or an ‘iki’ spike to its brain. 
  2. Once dispatched, immediately bleed the fish by cutting from the bottom of its gills into its gills – when cut correctly, there will be a lot of blood loss.
  3. when bleeding has ceased, remove the gills, stomach contents and kidneys (dark strips along the backbone in the gut cavity). 
  4. Chill fish ASAP. It's best done in a chilly bin with ice. Alternatively, to keep it cool, you may need to bury it deep in cold-wetted sand or keep it in the river water in the shade of a tree, etc.

Top 3 ‘generalist’ dry fly patterns 

Parachute Adams, left, Royal Wulff and blowfly-Photo by Rhys Adams

When it comes to summertime fly fishing, anglers dream of sight-fishing for rising trout.

Precisely matching the hatch can be critical, but often it’s not – the trout are simply looking up and biting anything that looks ‘buggy’.

A handful of generalist dry fly patterns have probably caught more trout in NZ than all other ‘specialist’ flies combined. 

Here are our top three picks of generalist dry fly patterns to have at the ready this summer for whatever waterway you intend to fish.  

Parachute Adams – resembling a mayfly with a white wing post to help with visibility, often fished in a dry & nymph dropper combo as the indicator fly. Traditional coloured in grey body and white wing post, other colour variants like black body and pink wing post are worth having handy. 

Royal Wulff – a real generalist and can resemble mayfly, cicada, hoppers – you name it. 

Blow Fly – the shiny blue tinsel gives this generalist fly a point of difference and can attract trout from long distances. Traditionally tied in ‘humpy’ style and now common super buoyant foam-bodied variants.    

Perch Fishing – how-to

West Coast Fish & Game has put together this helpful video on how to target perch.

Perch are active in warm water and easier to catch than trout or salmon, so they are a great family fishing option over the summer holidays.

Perch can be found in these waterways:

CSI Region: Lake Hood near Ashburton; lakes Clearwater, Camp and Lake Emma at the Ashburton Lakes; Saltwater Creek in Timaru; Waihao River Lagoon near Waimate; and Island Stream near Maheno in North Otago.

North Canterbury Region: Lake Forsyth, Halswell River, Okana River, Kaiapoi Lakes are the best spots for some perch fishing in the North Canterbury region.

Catch and Release

Attractive photos can be taken without removing the fish from the water' Photo by Lorenzo Rawnsley

Taking a fish home for dinner is a fundamental part of sports fishing; however, there will be times, either by choice or by legal requirement, when you will release fish. 

Careful catch and release is a skill you must learn to ensure any fish you intend to release doesn’t come to harm.

Here are our ‘Quick 5’ tips for handling fish with care: 

  • Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.
  • Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.
  • Do not squeeze the fish, and never touch the gills.
  • Photograph the fish in or over the water, and make it quick - the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.
  • Revive the fish facing into the current long enough for it to regain its swimming strength.

In the unfortunate instance that a fish you intended to release does end up bleeding from the gills, so long as you can legally take that fish, you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it. 

This YouTube video demonstrates good fish handling-skills. 

Waterway Health Warnings website

Know the risks before you leave home when it comes to toxic algae and faecal contamination warnings in our local waterways.

Check out the Environment Canterbury (ECan) website for the current warnings – click here for river health warnings and click here for lake health warnings

Tagged fish – research underway

A tagged rainbow trout with the yellow tag shown in the red circle.

Fish & Game tag trout and salmon to research their movement growth and to assess the success of relocation efforts.

There are tagged trout in these CSI and North Canterbury waterways:

Mackenzie Hydro Canals, Lake Ruataniwha, Lake Alexandrina, Waitaki River and tributaries like the Hakataramea River, Ashley River and Hurunui River.

If you catch a tagged trout, please take notes, carefully recording its unique tag number and estimating or measuring its weight and length, location of catch and the date.

Either use the contact details on the tag or use this online form located on our www.fishandgame.org.nz website to report your catch of a tagged fish. 

Tight Lines

From the teams at Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game


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