Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 8 Feb 2024

  • North Canterbury Central South Island
  • 8/02/2024
  • Richie Cosgrove

Weekly Fishing Report for Central South Island and North Canterbury for 8 Feb 2024

Central South Island Report

“Long” Weekend report

Some of you may have had the ability and inclination to book Monday off this week taking advantage of Waitangi Day on Tuesday and scoring yourself an extra long weekend.

Public Holidays are a great time to catch up on all those house jobs that you haven’t got around to recently… or you could just go fishing!

Harry Graham-Samson from North Canterbury FGC visited the region and spent some quality time with friends and family fishing Lake Benmore.

Harry reports that he was fishing the Ahuriri and Tekapo River deltas at 1-2 meter depth and had success with Shimano waxwings on their spinners and  olive woolly bugger flies.

Above: Stephen Brailsford sets the hook on a nice Lake Benmore trout’ – Photo by Harry Graham-Samson

They landed both brown and rainbow trout and they remarked that the rainbows were in great condition.

Rangers were active in the Tekapo/Twizel and Ashburton areas over this four-day period.

It was disappointing to find several people fishing without a licence.

Fishing without a licence is a criminal offence and can result in an appearance in front of a District Court Judge.

We did catch up with many compliant anglers too, and it was a pleasure to see so many people out enjoying our beautiful region.

Waitaki Salmon catch!

This week marked the first confirmed Salmon catch out of the Waitaki River for the season.

March and April are typically the months of highest harvest in the Waitaki, so a cheeky February catch is great news.

While we’re waiting for the rest why not try your luck on some of the trout in the Waitaki River, these fish don’t receive a lot of angling pressure so no expert techniques are required.

One of the keys to success is to visit some of the access points to search out small but permanent braids or backwaters. Use our access map here for help.

Backwaters are formed where tributary streams and springs join the main flow – creating pond like areas.

Be sure to let us know how you go by emailing in your catch reports and photos along with the lucky lure.

Serene Waitaki River backwater. Credit: Rhys Adams.

Recent rain in the main divide made some of our salmon rivers unfishable for a time however that fresh is a call to the salmon ‘it’s time to come home’

It would be worth fishing throughout all the rivers while the conditions are fishable.

Notice Board

Kai Tahu Fyke nets in Waitaki Lakes

Kai Tahu deploy fyke nets in a trap and transfer programme in some of the Mackenzie lakes.

This is to assist the NZ tuna/eels and lamprey to move around the Mackenzie District, a place that was their home before the construction of the hydro-dams that now prevent their access.

If you come across an unmarked Fyke net feel free to give Kai Tahu a call to verify whether or not it is their net.

Rest assured that Kai Tahu are aware of their responsibility to release any sports fish that they incidentally capture.

Vehicle restrictions on DOC access tracks

Areas of public conservation land in the Hakatere, St James, and Molesworth, in the eastern South Island will temporarily close to motorised vehicles due to high fire risk.

In the Hakatere Conservation Area, inland from Ashburton, the Harrison’s Bight, Lake Emily, Lake Emma, Lake Clearwater, and Paddle Hill Stream, 4WD accesses is currently closed to all motorised vehicles.  


Tight Lines,

Nikki Dellaway, Central South Island Fish & Game Officer.


North Canterbury Report

Perfect for salmon fishing

Fish & Game Ranger Paul van Klink ranging the Hope River

With many taking the option for a long weekend and tacking on a public holiday this week meant, there were more opportunities for fishing.

This was great as it gave some of the river’s time to clear, which is very important, especially if you are a salmon angler!

As I drove over the Rakaia River on Tuesday, it looked perfect for salmon fishing.

So, if you haven’t made any plans for the weekend, I’d suggest getting out on the river and finding some holding water where salmon are likely to rest up.

We have recently been up into our designated waters area ranging and encountered a mixture of resident and non-resident anglers.

This was great to see, and most anglers were satisfied with the fishing in the area and how the Designated Waters system is working.

There has been a definite reduction in angling pressure by non-resident anglers on these rivers, and this means the trout are more active for longer, which gives anglers a higher chance of catching a backcountry trout.


Weekend Outlook

Looking at the long-range weather forecast its looking like the rivers should remain fishable with no more heavy rain falling in the mountains.

I bet a lot of salmon anglers are itching to get out on the river and start chasing down where the salmon are holding up on the rivers and this weekend looks good for them.

For the trout anglers out there if you are planning to head into the high country then be prepared for a bit of northwest wind to pick up from around midday and into the afternoon on Saturday.

Whether you are casting from the shore or trolling from your boat, I would suggest getting up nice and early and make the most of the calm conditions in the morning.

Sunday however is looking to be less windy at this stage which would be my pick of the days to head into the high country fishing as it will be more enjoyable and it will be easier to fish those more exposed areas of the lake or river.

Lake Ida fly fishing

An angler was found on Lake Ida recently with a spin rod connected to a bubble float and to which he had a dropper down to a fly on it and tried to convince another angler that he was fly fishing.

Fly fishing is clearly defined in the Anglers notice as:

“fly fishing” means to fish for sports fish with fly rod and fly reel and fly line and artificial fly.

Needless to say the fishing arrangement mentioned above is NOT fly fishing, the angler that found him passed on his details to us so we can follow up with him.


Attention Salmon Anglers

For those anglers fishing for sea-run salmon in the Upper Rakaia River, a reminder that you cannot fish for salmon upstream of the confluence of the Coleridge Tailrace.

Some anglers make reference to some “white posts” these haven’t existed for a long time, and the Anglers Notice and the regulations booklet have clearly specified the confluence of the Coleridge tailrace for many years.


Colour changing trout

Have you seen a trout change colour?

Our Field Officer Emily was carrying out some fish sampling in a few Waimakariri tributary streams last week, and caught this colour change in action! 

After being caught and placed in a white holding bucket, this small brown trout went from dark to light brown in a matter of minutes!

Trout can change colour like this for a number of reasons, including aggressive/submissive behaviour, and in response to environmental changes.

While not quite as good as camouflage as a chameleon, this trout was having a go at blending in to its new ‘environment’!

The trout was measured and released shortly after.  


Tight Lines,

Harry Graham-Samson, North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer.

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