The following lakes and rivers offer trout and
salmon fishing close to Christchurch.
The Ashley River is typical of many small
to medium sized Canterbury rivers in that it gets very low
during summer months. The fishing is best between October
and December in the lower reaches, although the fishing upstream
of Rangiora should remain good all season. The best access
points are through the Waikuku Beach township, the SH1 Bridge
or the bridge immediately north of Rangiora.
This river offers both good brown trout
fisheries in spring when flows are good. It is accessed off
the Rangiora-Cust Road and off the Ohoka-Rangiora Road (Skew
Bridge is a popular access point). Most of the Cust lies on
private land so please check with the landowner before you
The Cam supports reasonable populations
of brown trout in the one to four pound size range. Access
is available at the Tuahiwi end of Bramleys Road, from Youngs
Road which leads off Lineside Road between Kaiapoi and Rangiora
and from the Lower Camside Road bridge on the north-western
side of Kaiapoi.
Another small stream which fishes best
in spring and autumn, especially at dusk. The best access
sites are off Spencerville Road, Lower Styx Road and Kainga
The Kaiapoi River experiences good runs
of salmon and is one of the only places in New Zealand where
Chinook salmon are regularly caught on bait; freshwater shrimps
and pilchards being most popular. The best fishing is between
SH1 and the confluence with the Waimakariri. Access is available
at the Hall Street boat ramp and from Smith Street, both within
the township of Kaiapoi. The upper Kaiapoi (or Silverstream)
offers good spring creek fishing for trout. Check with local
landowners before fishing this part of the river because much
of it lies on private land.
The Waimakariri River is popular on three
counts: as a top salmon fishery, as an excellent trout fishery,
and for its proximity to Christchurch. For more information,
Otukaikino River / South
This delightful spring creek contains good
populations of smaller trout and is a very popular "after
work" fishery. It also hosts good runs of larger spawning
trout in autumn. The most popular access points are the Dickies
Road Bridge (from Christchurch, turn left off SH1 just before
leaving Belfast and travel a short distance down Dickies Road)
and through the Groynes Park (off Johns Road between the Airport
|8 & 9
Avon and Heathcote Rivers
Despite these rivers flowing through a
major city, they are both good junior fisheries. The Avon
is closed between Armagh Street and Barbadoes Street Bridges.
Apart from the closed areas mentioned above, both rivers are
open to fishing year round. Access is very good along both
Okana River (Little River)
The Okana River contains populations of
brown trout and can provide good fishing, especially in spring.
Public access is available to the lower reaches of the Okana
through the gate on the right-hand side of the road opposite
the Little River Hotel.
Lake Forsyth fishes best in spring, especially
if the lake has recently been opened to the sea. One of the
best places is where the Akaroa Highway first comes close
to the lake just after the Birdlings Flat turn-off.
On 8 October 2007 The New Zealand Herald
reported that a scientist measuring the lake's toxicity warned
that people eating eels from Lake Forsyth/Wairewa on Banks
Peninsula are risking their health. Dr Barbara Dolamore, a
Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) senior
lecturer in biochemistry and molecular biology, said "The
water may look safe, but it isn't". Dr Dolamore has been
investigating the environmental effects of toxic cyanobacteria
(a blue-green algae) on the lake since 2004 with funding from
the CPIT Foundation.
The area just above the confluence with
Lake Ellesmere offers the best fishing, particularly during
spring. Access is directly off the Akaroa Highway.
The Halswell River meanders from near the
Halswell township down to Lake Ellesmere. It crosses many
public and private properties and flows beneath several bridges.
Access to the mouth can be had from where the river intersects
with Seabridge Road down either bank just south of Motukarara.
The tributaries of Ellesmere fish better
than the lake itself; however, good fishing for sea run trout
can occur at Taumutu when the lake is open to the sea. Take
the access track which leads off Gullivers Road and out into
For further information, see Lake
The LII fishes best during spring and early
summer, particularly in the reach just above the lake on a
dark night. Access can be had at Wolfes Road (follow the road
to the end) or off the main Selwyn Huts Road.
This river contains good numbers of brown
trout in the lower reaches but is often dry in the middle
reaches. Access is good from the Upper Selwyn Huts to the
mouth. Above the Upper Huts, the Selwyn changes to a delightful
meandering stream of pools and riffles. Coes Ford is the most
popular access point to this part of the river.
This river can provide good fishing but,
again, is subject to low flows. Cross Coes Ford and follow
Lake Road until it crosses the river, just after the Lake
Road / Lake Road South intersection. Take the first road on
the left after the bridge (heading south - Hanmer Road), cross
a wooden bridge and turn left into Aitkens Road. This road
leads out to the river.
Harts Creek is a good fly fishing stream,
especially towards the mouth. To get to Harts Creek, follow
Lake Road to its intersection with Timber Yard Road (heading
south). Turn left down the latter and turn left again onto
a small bridge not far from the corner. Fishing at the mouth
is good after dark but the river between the car park and
the mouth can offer good fly-fishing during daylight hours.
The Rakaia River is a one of the best salmon
fisheries in New Zealand and the upper reaches are set amidst
spectacular scenery. The Rakaia is also an important trout
fishery. For more information, see Rakaia