Weekly fishing report for Central South Island and North Canterbury regions for 7 December 2023

  • Central South Island North Canterbury
  • 7/12/2023

Weekly fishing report for Central South Island and North Canterbury regions  for 7 December 2023

Central South Island Report

A lifetime of opportunities

The upper section of the Ahuriri River, its tributaries, tarns and lagoons opened last Saturday.

That means all Central South Island Region’s sports fisheries are now open – a lifetime of fishing opportunity in just one region.

There are just two exceptions, Awakino River near Kurow and the Aviemore Spawning Race at the Aviemore Dam.

These two waterways are permanently closed to sports fishing – see page 37 of the regulations.

Ranger Blake Harper checked on 24 anglers on Upper Ahuriri Opening Day. Despite the rain showers, the anglers were enjoying the day and many of them had caught one or two fish by the time Blake checked on them.

Above Right: Petrus Mering hooked up on a rainbow trout on the opening day of the Upper Ahuriri River- Photo by Blake Harper

Sea-run salmon catch confirmed

The first (known) sea-run salmon of the season caught at the Rangitata / Rakitata River was landed last Thursday, November 30th.

Checking the Outdoor Access livestream this morning, I can say the river is still a bit too silty for optimum salmon fishing at around 90 cumecs flow.

River flows jumped up to about 240 cumecs last Sunday and are still dropping.

Fingers crossed by Saturday morning the clarity will be just right for salmon fishing.

Keep in mind there is another wet front forecast to hit the headwaters over the weekend so best to check in on the Mistake Flat rain gauge in the headwaters (Havelock River) and the flow gauge at Klondyke situated at the bottom of the Rangitata gorge.

What is a bait assembly?

The regulations say that you can only use one bait assembly (2.3.3 page 9), but what is a bait assembly?

The regulations define a bait assembly as: “…either a hook rigged with a number of baits or a single bait rigged with a number of hooks” (page 7). 

So, there are two ways to rig a legal bait assembly – let’s look at an example using prawn bait (crustacean). 

  1. One hook threaded with two prawns is a legal bait assembly.
  2. One prawn rigged with two hooks is a legal bait assembly. 

An offence that, from time to time, is detected by rangers at the canal fishery is where anglers use more than one bait assembly.

An example of the “multiple bait assembly” offence is where an angler baits up a sibiki rig that has five separate hooks. Each baited hook is a bait assembly; therefore, the angler would be using five bait assemblies when only legally permitted to use one.

Outlook for the weekend 

The best fishing conditions for the weekend are forecast to be on Saturday morning in the eastern foothills and coastal areas. 

Other than that, there’s wind and rain in the forecast to navigate and avoid. Check out your favourite forecast to find your best window of opportunity this weekend. 

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. 

Waterway health warnings website

Know before you go when it comes to faecal contamination and toxic algae 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.

Tight Lines

Rhys Adams, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer

North Canterbury Report

The SSAANZ learn to fly fish weekend at Lake Coleridge

With last weekend being the first weekend of summer, some of the team here at North Canterbury, including a couple of our honorary rangers, went up to the high-country lakes on Saturday and checked licences.

It was great to see anglers out making the most of their weekend despite the Northwest wind picking up by around mid-morning, which didn’t put them off, and some anglers had success which was great to hear.

Salmon Time!

With the river flows rising earlier in the week and if you’re a keen salmon angler like myself, then you would have been watching the ECan river flow data like a hawk!

Our salmon rivers should be perfect for fishing by the weekend and this fresh should pull fish into the river.

So if you can find a likely piece of holding water that has the right lead so the fish have to swim into it, then I’d say it should have salmon in it.

I suggest getting down to your local tackle store and grabbing some Zed spinners or big streamer flies and getting out on the river this weekend.

We’d love to see photos of anyone who manages to catch a salmon.

For the keen salmon anglers  - here is a link of an interesting documentary about the salmon fishery in North America, it shows the issues with their fisheries and how they are solving it.


Weekend weather

The outlook of the weekend in the high country is looking windy and wet, but that doesn’t mean the fish won’t be biting however it will make it difficult to spot fish.

I’d suggest sticking with fishing pools blind and if you see a likely piece of water that will hold fish, Then I would suggest trying out some casts through it and see what happens.

In the low country, the weather looks sunny and warm with some wind, so if you have a free morning or afternoon then I’d suggest getting out for a fish and exploring our lowland rivers and lakes.

4WD river users

A reminder for those using four-wheel drives in our river beds to be mindful of other river users, and nesting birds and be conscious of damaging our river areas.

Fish & Game works hard with councils and land owners to get and maintain access to these areas so if anglers spot any issues let the appropriate Council know about it or if serious the Police.

What’s the bag limit on Samsung's?

The Mchaffie family with the recovered phone back on dry land.

Whilst ranging at Lake Selfe at the weekend, we came across one very lucky angler from Ashburton.

The McHaffie family were fishing for an unusual species  - they were using an usual method -Scuba diving combined with kayaks - and something we don’t have on the bag limit – a Samsung phone!

One member of the McHaffie family  (who shall remain nameless) had been fishing on his kayak a couple of weeks before when he got tipped out and lost his rod, tackle box and his phone in Lake Selfe.

He was able to recover his rod, and gear on the day, but not his phone.

Needing to recover the sim from the phone for the photos and contacts a plan was put in place.

Two weeks later he was back with Dad and brother to search the lakes for his phone.

The real hero is Stephen McHaffie (the diver) who went beyond the call of duty and persevered and recovered the phone.

A superb effort and If I were Stephen's brother I’d be shouting him the best-ever Christmas pressie.

Needless to say, when we pulled up to check their licences, seeing a head pop out of the water in Scuba gear was not what we expected to see!

Soldiers Sailors Aviators Association of New Zealand fishing course

Out early, keen to learn about fly fishing

The Soldiers Sailors Aviators Association of New Zealand held a Learn to Fly Fish weekend at Lake Coleridge over the weekend.

Seven keen participants met at Lake Coleridge with two father-son teams present, a current serving soldier and two fishing mentors from the Canterbury Fly Fishing Club,  for the weekend.

The three-day workshop introduces our veterans to an activity we all enjoy but with the added benefit of getting out and enjoying the outdoors, boasting mental health sharing some camaraderie and having an all-round good time with added bonus of being introduced to fly fishing.

The weather made the fishing tough for the participants but attending as a Fish & Game Officer, the work the SSANZ trust does is truly fantastic.

They are a charity and run these courses with donations and volunteers.

I can honestly say that the time I spent with the trustees, tutors and participants over the weekend was one of the most uplifting experiences I’ve had for a very long time.

The trust does 12 multiday fishing, hunting, kayaking, and tramping introductory courses a year for up to 20ish people for a mere $20,000 a year.

If you know of anyone or organisation that wants to support our military veterans find them online or contact me on the email below and I’ll put you in touch.

Kaikoura salmon heads

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.

Rod & reel giveaway winner

The team at Hunting & Fishing Christchurch and Diawa NZ offered us a prize giveaway last 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. 

We had over 30 people send us in photos and the team here at Fish & Game judged Marc Jensen as the winner.

He had the following to say about the photo:

A Tale of Brown Trout Triumph
As we sat savouring our lunch, a dark shape gracefully circled a deep pool, its movements as mesmerizing as a dancer's pirouette. A surge of determination coursed through me. With eyes gleaming with anticipation, I declared, "That fish is mine, first cast!"
My black and gold paddle tail swished through the air, arcing towards the opposite bank. As it plunged into the turbulent waters, I braced myself for the moment of truth.
With practiced ease, I mimicked the erratic movements of a struggling fish, the paddle tail darting and flailing as if caught in a desperate bid for freedom.
Out of the inky depths, a shadow materialized, its form growing more distinct as it pursued my lure. The brown trout's hesitation was palpable, yet its curiosity burned bright, its fins bristling with anticipation.
"Watch this," I whispered, my voice filled with confidence. With a swift turn of the reel and a decisive drop of the rod tip, the paddle tail fluttered into a bed of leaves, mimicking a fish's final, desperate breath.
A surge of adrenaline coursed through me as the brown trout launched itself forward, its powerful jaws engulfing the lure with a satisfying smack. The force of the impact nearly knocked me off my slippery perch.
A fierce battle ensued, the fish weaving through snags, dodging sunken boulders, and defying gravity with acrobatic leaps. My rod bent almost to its breaking point, each tug a testament to the trout's indomitable spirit.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the magnificent creature succumbed to my persistence. With a triumphant scoop, my net claimed its prize – a stunning brown trout, its scales shimmering like jewels under the sun.
A quick photo session captured the moment, a memento of my hard-earned victory. With a gentle splash, the trout was released back into its aquatic domain, leaving me with an insatiable craving for another such encounter.
The thrill of the chase, the adrenaline rush of the fight, and the satisfaction of the catch – this was brown trout fishing at its finest. I eagerly awaited my next encounter, knowing that the thrill of the chase was just around the bend. 

Enjoy my first fish from this North Canterbury river. 

-Marc Jensen

Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition Survey 

If you attended the annual Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition last month and registered your licence, keep an eye out for a brief survey in your email inbox in the next week or so. 

We’ve got a couple of Daiwa caps up for grabs and will do a random draw for attendees that complete the survey. The survey is a great opportunity to give us your feedback and helps us to make improvements to future competitions. 

Click here to see the results of the 2023 competition!


Council Meeting & Annual Public Meeting

Today 7 December 2023
Meeting 3 pm APM 6.30 pm
F&G Office - 595 Johns Road

Tight Lines 

Richie Cosgrove & Harry Graham-Samson North Canterbury Fish & Game Officers 

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