Weekly Fishing Report - North Canterbury 16 Jan 2020

  • North Canterbury
  • 16/01/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Rakaia head collection poster Dec A4 2019Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report, the weather for the weekend and much of next week is looking really good. 

There should be very little wind and some pleasant temperatures, not too hot but just comfortable.

The main alpine rivers did receive a fresh at the start of the week making them discoloured for a few days, however, they are dropping fast and will be fishable by Friday.

Don't forget your salmon heads! Click on the picture right for more info.

Salmon are being caught in all the main rivers (Rakaia, Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau). 

These rivers will be at an ideal flow and colour this weekend but will clear fast heading into next week as conditions are really starting to dry off and there is no rain forecast for a while.

Anglers should make the most of these salmon conditions as when the rivers get too low, they are so much harder to catch. 

Salmon are right through the rivers so get out an explore upriver and find the holding water. 

The Waimakariri is still best in the tidal areas below State High One.

Foot hill streams such as the Ashley are starting to run low as we haven’t had rain in these catchments for some time. 

The water temperature is still cool for this time of year, so the fish are still active and feeding well, but it is only a matter of time before the Ashley goes subsurface.

High country lakes will be calm and fishable this weekend, there are probably still a lot of activity from campers around the lakes. 

Also, the calm weather will be starting to stratify some of the shallower lakes. 

This will mean trout will go deeper during the heat of the day to avoid the top of lawyer of water which will be starting to get warm.

The lakes are still fishing very well this year, Coleridge is continuing to produce good catches. 

Trolling by boat is most effective at the moment, the weather is perfect for tolling this weekend. 

The lakes should be very calm making for pleasant conditions. 

Remember though that most fish are still caught at the end or start of the day.

Back country rivers will be clear and fishable after a much needed fresh at the start of the week. 

Inland temperatures will be higher than coastal areas, this will trigger a lot of terrestrial insect activity. 

Fishing big bushy dries can be effective in these conditions, in some areas where the fishing pressure is high trout may become spooky from big flies, so just fishing smaller more realistic looking patterns would be wise. 

I always look to chuck on something like a big blow fly or humpy and then see what happens and adjust if they are too spooky.

I have heard the odd cicada starting to chirp in the back country so keep an eye out for them. 

If they start to buzz around during the middle of the day, put a cicada imitation on straight sway. 

Trout can change their feeding behaviour quite rapidly once cicada start hitting the water. 

These conditions are so short lived on the fishing calendar that you need to make the most of them.

Technique of the week

Using Cicada imitations

Although I may be a week or two too early for peak cicada time in the back country, I thought I would comment on it now as the window for cicadas is fairly brief.

Although you can probably hear them around Hagley Park in the middle of the day right now, the back-country rivers and high-country lakes will be a couple of weeks behind.

Cicada activity can last right to the end of February but generally dies away in March during the cooler days.

When cicadas are on the fishing can be red hot. 

Whether you are on a lake or a river the trout’s response is the same, sometimes resulting in complete abandonment of all caution. 

I experienced this on a back-country river in North Canterbury where there is a reputation for big fish lying deep in pools out of reach for most of the time. 

The only time I have seen these fish active near the surface was when cicadas started hitting the water.

When this occurs, you want to imitate the natural in terms of how it lands on the water – with a splash, forget casting with finesse out of the trout’s view. 

Hit the water within the trout’s vision, this works especially well on lakes. 

Look for back waters on rivers as trout love to utilise these areas for surface feeding. 

Fishing blind with cicadas can be effective too as very few flies can lure the trout out of the deep water like a cicada can.

Tight lines.

Tony Hawker

Fish and Game Officer

North Canterbury Fish and Game Council

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