Weekly Fishing Report North Canterbury 9-1-2020

  • North Canterbury
  • 9/01/2020
  • Richie Cosgrove

Weekly Fishing Report North Canterbury 9-1-2020

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report, the weather is a little cooler this week. 

However, Friday and Saturday will heat up with a Westerly front approaching. 

This will bring strong North West winds to Canterbury over the weekend and significant rain to the headwaters early Sunday morning.

Currently all the rivers are fishable and are dropping quite quickly. 

The main alpine rivers are a good flow and colour for salmon fishing and will be continuing to clear heading into the weekend. 

Right: Kaylum Manning who caught two salmon and one trout on a family trip to Lake Coleridge.

Some heavy rain is forecast for early Sunday morning so the rivers should be okay for salmon fishing Saturday and maybe even Sunday morning. 

Please check the link below before heading out on Sunday just in case they have already risen.


Salmon are being caught in the Rakaia, Hurunui, Waiau and even the Waimakariri Rivers. 

It has been a long wait with the rivers constantly running high leading up to Christmas. 

As a result, the salmon have had a chance to get upriver so all likely looking pools should be explored.

Even if the rivers come up a bit this Sunday the weather looks really settled next week so they will drop quickly again. 

So, the salmon season is well and truly underway with some good fishing conditions.

Backcountry fisheries will be running low and clear heading into the weekend. 


Oakley Batton with a nice wee rainbow caught at the Groynes in Christchurch.

However, the weather is going to make fishing conditions challenging with strong North West winds forecast. 

As mentioned above the weather looks far more suitable next week for backcountry areas. 

The rivers will be busy, so please be patient and communicate with other anglers on the river to make plans for the day.

High country lakes were challenging to fish over the New Year period. 

The cooler weather has meant that there was not much activity on the surface. 

The water is still cold for this time of year due to the weather conditions last year. 

This will mean that the fish are still near the surface so when conditions are right (such as next week), a bit of warmth during the day will see a lot more surface activity. 

Conditions don’t look good for boating this weekend as there is some gale force winds forecast.

All the foot hill streams are fishable this week. 

The flows are beginning to drop quickly now so the good conditions probably won’t last too much longer. 

All the Ellesmere tributaries have fish visible in the lower reaches as trout push up into these streams to escape the warming water of the lake. 

The fish can be seen in the daytime schooling up into large groups. 

Often these fish are inactive during the day, making them challenging to catch. 

However, a return visit in the evening with a fly rod may entice some of them as there are still plenty of brown beetles hatching. 

Fishing at night with streamers, soft baits or bullies is the greatest chance of catching one of these fish. 

There are plenty of trophy proportioned fish in these streams as the fish that the trout feed on has been prolific this year.

Technique of the week

Upriver salmon fishing

FGNZ NC RakaiaFishingCompSat7a

Sometimes it's not everyone's thing hanging out in a crowd, if this is you why not try upriver salmon fishing?

This will be basic information for some of you, but there will be others who have chased trout for many years but have not yet caught a salmon. 

If you are a complete novice at this then one of the most interesting places to fish is the lower Waimakariri. 

It is close to Christchurch and has a large tidal reach. 

There are heaps of anglers here, but it is an opportunity to observe how it is done. 

It is not everyone’s thing hanging out in big crowds, especially if you are new to the sport. 

So, here are some tips for upriver fishing for salmon where you are likely to be alone.

Finding appropriate water is the most challenging aspect. 

If you have a jetboat or 4WD this can be an advantage. 

Otherwise a willingness to walk and explore will suffice. 

There are many different access points that will at least get you to the riverbed. 

Then the exploring will begin.

After the floods before Christmas, the riverbeds have changed a lot and pools can be hard to find. 

You are looking for water that salmon will hold up in. 

They will not hang around in shallow braids. 

The pool also needs to have a good lead in. 

On braided rivers it is no use fishing a good looking pool if the fish have gone up another braid. 

So, the lead in is always worth investigating. 

If possible, you want to look for a pool where most of the water has to pass through it. 

Then you don’t have to worry about the lead in issue too much.

Once you have found a pool you want to start at the top and work your way down. 

Take a step downstream and every three casts. 

Your casts want to be done in such a way that your lure gets down near the bottom as soon as possible and starts “working”. 

You will feel the action of the lure through your rod tip if you have it working properly. 

If it is not getting near the bottom, then you can cast further upstream to give it more time. 

You do not want to be bouncing constantly on the bottom. 

It is the zone just above the bottom that you want. 

This can be controlled by the speed of your wind in.

The eye of the pool is the most likely place, but you should work right down to the bottom of the pool just in case.

The best fishing is at first light. 

Therefore, it pays to do some reconnaissance first so when it is prime fishing time you are fishing rather then looking for water. 

Evenings can also be productive.

Look for fish breaking the surface or coming up the rapids either below or above the pool. 

This will at least let you know that fish are in the pool and it is worth persisting with. 

Most anglers use silver zed spinners weighing 22 or 28 grams depending on big the water is. 

This usually is all you need when flows are ideal. 

It is only when rivers get low and clear that you need to get a bit more inventive.

Salmon fishing takes time. 

Remember many people fish all season and may not catch a fish. 

However, if you are alone on a pool and you have seen salmon there is a good chance if you are the first one there that you will get a hook up. 

Tight lines.

Tony Hawker

Fish and Game Officer

North Canterbury Fish and Game Council

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