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North Canterbury Fish & Game News and Reports

The fishing reports on this page are from North Canterbury Fish & Game. See also previous years reports
  North Canterbury Fish & Game news

Latest fishing news

Fish & Game New Zealand
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 2 December 2016

Over the last week we have seen the main rivers rise and fall a couple of times, but they should be approaching a fishable state later this weekend. The weather forecast is for nor-west winds tomorrow, changing briefly to south-west tomorrow evening and into Sunday morning, so anglers wanting to head into the high country might find Sunday more favourable.

On the salmon fishing front, things have been relatively quiet in the main rivers, with high flows and dirty water limiting angler opportunities. Before this recent fresh, I had heard confirmed reports of a couple of salmon caught in the Rakaia, with rumours of a few more, however little news from the Waimakariri River, so there should be salmon throughout the rivers when conditions improve.

Over the next few months, keen salmon anglers will be paying close attention to the ECan rain and flow sites, looking for the ideal window where flows and turbidity are optimum for salmon fishing. This window is often quite narrow and with many people busy leading up to Christmas, it proves difficult to be flexible around these small windows, however keen anglers recognise the great opportunity these prime-times offer.

On the trout fishing front, most of our high country lakes continue to fish well, with good reports coming from Lake Coleridge, where some good sized salmon and Rainbow trout are being caught. The rivers flowing into high country lakes opened yesterday and hold a good flow and colour for anglers this weekend. The coming weeks should see good brown and green beetle hatches, and provide great opportunity for fly anglers.

Sea-run trout fishing saw a few nice fish taken in the lower Waimakariri River before the recent freshes. I have also heard good reports from the LII and Halswell rivers. Lowland streams will likely start to warm up in the weeks ahead and the trout in areas like the lower Selwyn and Ashley rivers will likely become difficult to catch. Lowland rivers such as the Styx and the South Branch of the Waimakariri River should also fish well until river levels drop off and the water warms.

Over the last few years Fish & Game have increased their stocking programme for both salmon and trout in the high country lakes. In recent weeks and the weeks leading up to Christmas, Fish & Game have, and will continue to release thousands of yearling brown and rainbow trout into many of the high country lakes and rivers in the region. A few thousand yearling salmon and trout have also recently been transported to some of our neighbouring Fish & Game regions lakes and rivers.

Steve Terry
North Canterbury Fish & Game
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 25 Nov 2016

The weekend's forecast is looking is not a favourable one for High Country trout anglers. Gale force Norwest winds are forecast over the next few days inland with moderate to heavy rain also forecast in the divide over the next few days. There is a possibility that rivers will rise substantially at some stage on the weekend, so anglers are advised to check the ECAN web site for river and rainfall information.

Fly anglers may find this weekend very frustrating for casting a line in the High Country, but for those of you determined to take on the challenge there is always a few sheltered spots on many of our lakes that will offer good opportunities. Spin anglers of course have more options open to them in these conditions. However it would be fair to say that this weekend is not one to make plans for a family picnic in the hills.

Lake Coleridge is still producing some very nice rainbow trout and landlocked salmon, especially around the river mouth deltas. It is pleasing to hear angler reports that the salmon are reaching some very respectable weights up there this season with the largest weighing in at around 2kgs.

Early morning before the sun brightens up the water too much, or evening around dusk are the best times. Heavy silver lures with a long cast into the deep can be productive. The trout and salmon from this lake are a prized catch with their bright silver mirror like appearance.

They look fantastic in a photo for those looking to catch and release, and they are also a very high quality table fish for those whom like to take the odd one home. The added bonus in this area is the truly majestic scenery as a back drop. The Coleridge area can be the most beautiful place on earth on a good day but be prepared with suitable clothing, it can get extreme and get pretty ugly when the weather changes too!


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The Low Country rivers should offer more favorable coastal conditions this weekend. The main snow fed rivers are currently clearing to a good colour and may offer a small window of fishability this weekend. Keep in mind that this window may be small as rain in the main divide may see rivers start to rise in the head waters as early as Saturday.

River conditions should be close to perfect for sea run trout fishing by Friday evening, but keep an eye on that ECan river flow information site for any changes in flows, as I said it may be a small window. The Rakaia, or Waimakariri rivers in the lower reaches would be my pick for a trout. or even a salmon if you are lucky. Streamer style feathered lures and soft baits work well on Sea Run trout, and around dusk, on an out going tide, is usually the best time to fish.

Keep an eye out for the 1,800 tagged trout that have been released into the Rakaia river. These trout may be starting to venture a lot further than their original release site now. The tag numbers are very important, and a landing net is recommended so that the trout can be secured without harm whilst the number is recorded. Please record the tag details, tag colour, number, and location of capture. Release the trout if possible and provide the information to (northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz) All anglers providing this information will go into a special prize draw at the end of this season.


Junior Fishery at the Groynes

There are still some good opportunities for the kids of catching a fish at the Groynes. The best time for success is the last hour before dark. Soft baits and bait fishing with worms or shrimps should work well. Spinners such as veltics can also work around dusk. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora. Phone 03 313 5728

A small release of around 30 fish were put into the top pond nearest Clearwater  this week. Fish and Game intend releasing 100 more salmon at the Groynes over the next 2 weeks. Watch this report for notice of salmon release information.


Any Salmon Around?

Reports of a couple of salmon from the Waimakariri are all that I have heard factually. River conditions have not been great over the past week so there is a very real possibility that there are salmon in the rivers now. This weekend may provide anglers with some fishable conditions on Saturday, so prospects are good for the first of the salmon success stories coming in. For those anglers looking to target salmon this weekend, focus on Saturday morning and hope it stays fishable at least for part of the morning. This is one of those weekends where rain fall in the main divide is imminent, but as to how much, and exactly when, is hard to say exactly. Be very careful if you venture out into the braided riverbeds. A rapid river level rise is a real possibility within the next 24 hours or so.


Attention Anglers!

Fin Clipping Weekend at Montrose
Club Funds Raising Event, 2 days.
Saturday 3rd  and Sunday 4th   December 2016
Volunteer Assistance Needed

Hatchery staff are anticipating depleted diluted oxygen levels before xmas. In an effort to avoid releasing non marked smolt we will be attempting to fin clip half of the release stocks this December, and the other half in February 2017.

The Annual Chinook Salmon Smolt fin clipping program will commence at the Montrose hatchery at 8.30am Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th of December and will probably involve 2 partial days clipping finishing around 2pm with a good team.

This important task of marking Chinook salmon for the purpose of identification within the fishery is one of the most essential fisheries management tools we have. 

North Canterbury Fish and Game are inviting members of the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association and the Canterbury Lurefishing Association, and members of the public to assist with the task of adipose fin clipping approximately 130.000 Salmon Smolt at the site. These smolt stocks are destined for release into Silver Stream, Otukaikino, Rakaia, Coleridge, Kaikoura, Clarence, and the West Coast in July.

Numbers of club members advised to complete this task on this weekend are 40 volunteers on both days.. Members of the public are also welcome on the day, so invite your friends and their families to enjoy the comradery of anglers on this social and educational event.

Fish and Game Rangers and Council members are also invited to take part over the weekend. 
The car pool meeting point will be at the Yaldhurst Hotel car park, at 7.30am both days. Volunteers whom have not been to the Montrose hatchery before and are making their own way up, should head for Blackford Road which is the first Road on the right after crossing the Rakaia Gorge bridge, it is on the South side of the river. The entrance to the property is 6 kms up the road from the turn off and it will be marked by an angler access sign.

Fish and Game will also be providing a barbeque lunch on the day.
Warm clothes and wet weather gear is advised. Gumboots or waders are also advised.
An indication of numbers from the clubs, or members of the public prior to the weekend would be appreciated. Please contact:

Dirk Barr
North Canterbury Fish & Game Hatcheries Manager

Phone, 021 221 8378

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 17 Nov 2016

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury fishing report. The weather this weekend will be a bit cooler after the big southerly yesterday but it does look reasonably fine with light wind on the plains. The high country will have westerly winds but looks to be mainly fine as well.

The main issue this weekend will be finding some fishable water. After both North West and southerly rain this week most rivers are running high and dirty. All the main alpine rivers are receding from a decent sized fresh which and will probably remain unfishable for the weekend. Hopefully this fresh will bring on the first decent run of salmon for the season.

Foot hill streams such as the upper Selwyn and Ashley will remain high for some time.  These flows will be a good thing as these streams were suffering from thick periphyton cover due to the lack of freshes. This algae smothers the entire substrate meaning less invertebrates for trout to feed on which eventually means less trout if the periphyton persists. 

The Selwyn at Whitecliffs was particularly bad. Now with this fresh it should wash away the algae providing clean gravel for the invertebrates to re-inhabit. After the fresh recedes, trout should be hungry and active meaning some great fishing.

Since the rivers are mainly out this weekend it would be a good time to focus on some lake fishing. There may be some wind around the high country this weekend but there will be calm patches and there is always some sheltered areas on the lakes. Lake Coleridge has been fishing well this season with lots of good sized rainbows caught during opening weekend. The Waimakariri lakes have also been fishing well. 

Lake Pearson is a little murky this season and Lake Lyndon is still low although it is starting to rise again after the recent rain. The Hurunui lakes always produce an abundance of fish and offer a remote experience. Just check the up to date forecast before travelling up there as the wind can be a problem.


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Anglers Carlos and Jahn Ferigo from Christchurch find a sheltered spot on Lake Selfe


At this time of year trout will be cruising the shallow margins of lakes as the water temperature is still cool. Fly anglers can ambush these cruising trout with suspended nymphs. Use a dry fly or indicator to suspend the nymph so it can be twitched a little as the trout comes into view. There may be some dry fly action if the temperature warms up. Spin anglers should focus their attention on stream mouths and that area of the lake where it starts to drop off from the shallow shelf to deeper water. Trout often cruise this zone.

Tight lines

Tony Hawker
North Canterbury Fish & Game
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 10 Nov 2016

The large East Coast rivers have not seen a small fresh for three weeks now, with only one decent fresh in the last three months, which is very unusual for this time of year. The rivers are all in great condition for sea-run trout fishing in the lower reaches and for those anglers eager to get their salmon gear out for the first time this season, there is every chance there are salmon around the mouths of the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers.

The best weather is likely to be later in the weekend following a cold southerly and rain tomorrow. This current period of stable flows has also resulted in favourable conditions in the headwaters of the main rivers, which often see fresh after fresh this time of year, and all the Canterbury high country waters will be trout fishable until the next fresh. Spin fishing a small Veltec spinner or Rapala should produce good results in the side braids of upriver reaches of the larger rivers.

The regions high country lakes opened last weekend with most anglers reporting a successful outing and it is pleasing to hear from our rangers that anglers were well behaved with the majority carrying their licence on them and sticking to the regulations. These lakes should continue to fish well for the next few weeks with the warming weather and surface insect activity should pick up.

To celebrate the opening of the high country lakes to fishing, the Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition was held last Saturday. This competition was free to enter with over $10,000 worth of prizes donated by Hunting & Fishing and is a highlight of the year for many high country anglers. An estimated 800 or more anglers fished the Lake Coleridge lakes and the surrounding areas over opening weekend and the condition of the rainbow trout weighed in was outstanding, and the best seen since the competition began nine years ago, which bodes well for the rest of the season.
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Nick Moody with the heaviest brown trout caught during the competition at 3.78kg

On the plains we should see brown beetle hatches any time from now, which is a good sign that trout will be starting to rise to flies rather than feed on aquatic life.

For all of those junior anglers who have started learning to fish at the Groynes Lakes in Christchurch, a great second step is to head to one of the high country lakes. Lake Lyndon is the closest high country lake to Christchurch, with a travel time of around an hour's drive from the city and is a very popular angling lake that provides some great rainbow trout fishing. The lake regulations allow trolling from boats and bait fishing for "junior anglers only” is also permitted.

A reminder to anglers that Fish & Game produce a free daily recorded phone message with river flows and likely fishing conditions of the main rivers on weekdays throughout the fishing season. Please call (03) 366-2986 for this recorded message.

Good luck if you are heading out for a fish over the weekend.
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Lance Black's 5lb Brown trout caught recently from the middle
reaches of the Ashley River which still has a healthy flow.

Tight Lines!
Steve Terry
Central South Island
Fish & Game Officer.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 3 Nov 2016

The weekends forecast is looking quite typical for the time of year. Norwest winds are prominent over the next few days with small possibilities of calmness  between the fronts. This weekend is the opening of the High Country Lakes and of course the weather is looking quite unsettled in land. The best prospects of getting a line out are looking the best on Saturday morning. The wind will pick up from the North during Saturday afternoon, and rise to possible gale force on Sunday. Some Northwest rain is also possible on Sunday inland.

There is a possibility that rivers will rise later in the day Sunday also, so check the ECAN web site for river and rainfall information. Fly anglers may find this weekend quite challenging in the High Country, but on the positive side, it is opening weekend and trout maybe feeding in close due to no angling pressure for awhile. Spin anglers will have more opportunities open to them in the High Country, in general this weekend.

The low country rivers should offer anglers good prospects with more favorable coastal conditions. Although Lake Ellesmere is now closed to the se,a there will still be reasonable out flowing currents around the river mouths. The Selwyn river has cleared up considerably around the top huts recently, and some nice trout were observed slurping insects from the surface yesterday. This area can fish very well at night, especially if there is no moon. Other good options from around dusk on are the Halswell and L11 Rivers, and Harts Creek.

The main snow fed rivers are a good colour for fishing at present, and there are a few trout starting to appear. The larger rivers should offer anglers a good chance of a trout or two, especially if fished on dusk and into the night. Feathered lures and soft baits are a good tackle choice as they closely resemble smelt and whitebait, which the trout are searching for. In general, all the main rivers are a good option for trout at present. The Rakaia river has produced a few nice searuns to date, and should start to peak over the next few weeks.

Lowland Brown Trout and Searun Brown Trout Research Program.

In late September 600 tagged brown trout were released into a stream near the North Rakaia huts as part of a fisheries research and enhancement program. These trout have green tags near the dorsal fin, and they are also fin clipped. Quite a few of them have been caught and released, and the tag numbers, location, and date of capture, have been recorded. Anglers whom provide information to North Canterbury Fish and Game all go into a lucky draw prize pool at the end of the season. The longer these trout are not taken, and released by anglers, the more valuable this information becomes. If you do have the chance to catch, record details, and release these fish, especially just in this first season of their release, it would be much appreciated. A landing net is a very good way of keeping the trout unharmed in the water while tag details are taken.


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In addition to the 600 green tag trout released on the North side, a further 1200 are now filtering out from a stream on the South side. These fish have blue tags. It seems that the trout released from the North learned very quickly to adapt to feed on bait fish.

Many of the trout caught and released have been taken on soft baits and feathered lures. There has been a report today that one of the green tag trout was caught at Dobins Ford some 8 kms above the release site. This is exactly the sort of information we are looking for. Are these trout going to inhabit the Rakaia, will some develop a searun nature and turn up in other rivers? Will some populate the head waters of the catchments, and become resident to an area? All this information will help when it comes to deciding on the best way to enhance Lowland, and Searun Brown trout populations.

If you do catch one of these trout please provide the details to northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz Thanks for your support, and also for playing a part in restoring our fishery.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes

There are still some good opportunities for the kids of catching a fish at the Groynes. The best time for success is the last hour before dark. Soft baits and bait fishing with worms or shrimps should work well. Spinners such as veltics can also work around dusk. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora. Phone 03 313 5728
Fish and Game intend releasing more salmon at the Groynes with in the next week, and also throughout the summer months. Watch this report for notice of salmon release information.


Any Salmon Around?

There have been a few caught at Kaikoura in the sea which is encouraging as these fish maybe making their way along the coast line to the river mouths. Watch this space!

It is usually around mid November that the first reports of salmon being caught come in from the Rakaia river. There have been a couple of possible salmon sightings at the Rakaia Mouth around a week ago? Get the gear ready, shinny and sharp, and load some new line on that reel!

Whiskey Creek a New Asset to the North Canterbury Fishery.

Great progress is being made at Fish and Games new salmon and trout enhancement facility near Lake Coleridge Village on the Rakaia river. Fish and Game Staff and have been working on the possibilities of this project for a number of years, and it is now at the stage where it will be operational this December. A huge amount of work has been put in to this venture, with thanks to the dedicated team of F&G volunteers whom have made this project possible.

Whiskey Creek will be in addition to the current hatchery site at Montrose, and the on growing facility at Isaacs Peacock Springs. Fish and Game are very appreciative of this new opportunity, which has been greatly supported by Trust Power whom own the land, and we are looking forward to the additional fisheries enhancement prospects it will offer.
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High Country Opening this weekend.

The Canterbury high country opens this Saturday 5th of November. This day signifies the start of the main fishing season in which almost all rivers and lakes are open to fishing. The exceptions to this are the Western Zone Rivers that flow into high country lakes. Anglers are reminded that these rivers open on the 1st of December in order to protect the late spawning rainbow trout.

Our rangers are out in force now, however we do have a large region to cover, and there have been a couple of complaints from the public, that people have been witnessed illegally fishing in closed waters. If you do come across anyone illegally fishing please contact Fish and Game on 03 313 5728 as soon as possible with details such as registration plate numbers, and we will follow up immediately.


Lake Coleridge Competition this Saturday 5th November.

To celebrate the traditional opening of the high country fishing season Fish and Game are holding the annual Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition. This competition is not only restricted to Lake Coleridge, it includes all of the Coleridge area Lakes, and it is free to enter. Fish and Game rangers will be manning a sausage sizzle for anglers during the day at the Ryton Bay which is also the base and weigh station for this competition.

The weigh station is open from 9am until 3pm and the prize giving will follow shortly after. The competition is generously sponsored by Hunting and Fishing and Composite Developments, and the total prize pool is valued at around $10.000.

Tight Lines for the weekend!

Dirk Barr
North Canterbury Fish and Game
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 14 Oct 2016

The weather forecast is looking very unsettled over the next few days. There is a strong southerly with rain forecast to intensify Friday afternoon in the low country, some snow may also be possible inland on Friday down to 500 meters. Saturday and Sunday look reasonably settled in the low country. The High Country area will be ok with frosts on Saturday morning, but strong to gale force Westerlies will take over during the day, and extend through until Monday. Some of the main snow fed rivers are still carrying good flow,s but are they are fishable at the time of writing.

Be aware that these main snow fed river flows may rise over the weekend as heavy rain is forecast for Westland Friday. Check the ECAN River Flow Website for the latest information on flow changes and rainfall.

Although it is early days for Sea Run trout fishing, prospects are still good of catching a fish especially in the evenings, and into the dark. Ellesmere tributaries would be a good bet this weekend as the lake has been open to the sea for awhile now. Some good runs of whitebait and smelt have entered the lake, and the trout wont be far behind them.

Sea Run trout prospects in the main snow fed rivers are best when the river is slightly discoloured. As the river clears they tend to be more active feeders on dusk, and into the night. This can offer very exciting fishing. They will be especially active if there are smelt present. A few very nice sea run trout have been caught in the Rakaia since opening day. There have also been a number of the released tagged Brown trout caught this week.

Typical methods of fishing for sea run trout usually revolve around the traditional technique of "Lure Fishing” in the main snow fed rivers. This technique involves using a 10 foot long rod with an over sized fly or mooching reel, and then roll casting a lead weight with a streamer style "feathered lure” upstream. The Parsons Glory, or Hopes Silvery Dark or Black Prince are my favorites. Fly fishing with heavy salt water fly rigs is also popular in fast flowing rivers. A 15 foot fast sinking shooting taper line is required to get to the depth required. This rig has its place around the delta areas of our braided rivers. Also casting weighted soft baits with a thread line or spin fishing are good options.

The lower Selwyn has not been fishing well to date. This is probably due to the toxic looking state it was in before the lake opening. This may improve from now on as bait fish enter the lake, and the lowering lake level draws current from the upper huts area. The or L11 river, Harts Creek and the Halswell river may offer some good opportunities this weekend as trout follow the bait fish into the streams. Some nice trout have been reported to be caught in the L11 so far. Spinning with Rapalas or Veltics, or fly fishing with streamer style patterns like Wooly Buggers, or the infamous Mrs Simpson may work. Or try a 2# Big Black Wooly Bugger.

Anglers looking to stretch a fly line, or spin fish this weekend maybe better off in the low country streams due to adverse winds inland. The Ashley and the Selwyn can provide good sport, but don't forget about some of our local Christchurch streams. There is some great action to be had in streams such as the Otukaikino, Styx, Silver Stream and Cust etc.

Notice to Anglers


The Groynes Junior Fishery is closed for fishing until the Take a Kid Fishing Day Starting at 9am Sunday 16th October


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Fish & Game Field Officer Tony Hawker struggles with a monster rainbow trout as
he releases one of 14 trophy Rainbow trout into the Groynes Fishing lakes.


The Annual Take a Kid fishing day will be held at the Groynes on Sunday the 16th October. This day will signify the start of the release program which will see hundreds of salmon released into the ponds throughout the season.

There is a blanket fishing licence for all juniors on the TAKF day. 800 salmon and some massive rainbow trout will be in the ponds for juniors to catch on the day. Remember that after the day a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Junior Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora. Phone 03 313 5728


The Lowland Brown Trout, and Searun Brown Trout Enhancement and Research Program.
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Rakaia Locals, Rodney McDowell and Johnny Richards watch the trout release into Bully Creek.


Although the recent significant releases of brown trout have been well promoted through media channels, there will still be anglers that are unaware. Signs with tagged trout information are now being erected at river mouths to notify anglers. In August this year, NC Fish and Game started a research program on Brown Trout in an effort to enhance the critically low numbers in our region. 600 brown trout with an average weight of 600 grams have been double tagged and fin clipped, and released into the North Rakaia Lagoon. One of these trout was caught on opening day, and 6 more since. It seems they are learning quickly that bait fish are their new food source!

As to where these trout will end up is what we are trying to find out. Will some venture upstream and reside in the head waters? Will they inhabit the low land streams? Will they venture out to sea, and move up and down the coast line, and turn up in other catchments? Will they do all of the above? The stocks are the progeny of the Otukaikino River which has a mix of searun, and resident spawning adults, so anything could happen!

The information collected by anglers is very important. Tag numbers and colour, date caught, and location, and comments relating to the condition of the trout are also valuable. We would like anglers to record this data and release these trout if possible during this first season.

The reasons for this are many, but the main one is migration and they need time to do that. Where they turn up, West, North or South may provide valuable information as to how and where to focus on enhancing the fishery.

Over the next few weeks another 1200 tagged trout which are currently being held in a South Rakaia stream will also be let out to migrate down to the tidal reaches. These trout are marked with green tags. The North side released trout have Blue tags. For the ease of recording tag details the use of a landing net is recommended. All anglers that report tag information to North Canterbury Fish and Game at northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz or 0800 347 7426, will go into a lucky draw at the end of the season to win some great prizes.

Wairarapa Stream sediment removal project – request for volunteers:

North Canterbury Fish & Game are working on a project to remove sediment from the top section of the Wairarapa Stream to aid trout spawning. This is a tributary of the Avon. Volunteer help would be much appreciated any day from the 31st of October until the 12th of November. If you are available please contact Emily Arthur- Moore on 021 221 8332 or emoore@fishandgame.org.nz.


High Country Opening

The Canterbury high country opens on the Saturday 5th of November. This day signifies the start of the main fishing season in which almost all rivers and lakes are open to fish. The exceptions to this are Western Zone Rivers that flow into high country lakes.

Anglers are reminded that these rivers open on the 1st of December in order to protect the late spawning rainbow trout. Fish and Game Rangers have been very active during the first part of the season, and have reported a 100% compliance rate so far. If you do come across anyone illegally fishing, please contact Fish and Game with details such as registration plate numbers, and names if possible.


Lake Coleridge Competition


To celebrate the traditional opening of the high country fishing season Fish and Game are holding the annual Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition on the opening day of the High Country season Saturday 5th November. This competition is not only restricted to Lake Coleridge, as it includes all of the Coleridge area lakes, and it is free to enter. The competition is generously sponsored by Hunting and Fishing and the prize pool is valued at around $10.000. More details of the event will be posted in this weekly report closer to the time.


Tight Lines all,
Dirk Barr
Fish & Game Officer.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 22 April 2016

The weekend's prospects are not looking great with a High Country forecast looking very threatening for the early part of the weekend. Strong North West winds will be on the rise from later Friday in the Canterbury foot hills, and a heavy rain front will move up the West Coast early Saturday morning. This front is forecast to bring significant heavy falls in the main divide spreading East during the morning. The NW front will be followed by a Southerly change which may also bring some light rain to the Canterbury plains during Saturday. The NW front is the one to watch!

There is a very high probability that our main snow fed rivers will rise rapidly from later Saturday. Dirty water will probably affect the Rakaia river during Saturday afternoon/evening, and the Waimakariri river lower reaches by Sunday morning. It would be advisable for anglers to check the ECAN river flows and rainfall website for up to date information before heading out for a fish this weekend.

The lower reaches of our main rivers on Saturday will be the best option for fishable conditions this long weekend. Depending on amounts of rain in the Alps on Saturday, the main snow fed rivers may not be fishable again this long weekend. Keep an eye on the ECAN rainfall and river flows website for up to date information. Those of you heading for the inland lakes areas may find difficult casting conditions with NW winds up to 70kms forecast on Saturday. This front will slowly weaken Sunday providing calmer conditions.

According to the ECAN river flows site the Rakaia is flowing at 100 cumics and the Waimakariri at Otarama is only at 21 cumics. If the Waimak recording is correct then that river is seriously low. Flows such as these make salmon fishing very difficult, and the best chances of a late fish will be on a clearing river after the next fresh.

Salmon

Waimakariri at Mackinosh's Rocks. Nice day for a fish, 6 caught that morning.

Groynes Junior Fishery, Salmon Releases.

There will be a major salmon release into ponds 3 and 4 at the Groynes next week. Although the weed eradication was partially successful, ponds 1 and 2 are still considered to have to much weed at this stage, so no fish have been released into them. Lets hope that the cooler winter conditions also have an adverse effect on weed growth and the problem is under control for the October annual Take a Kid Fishing Day. Please remember that the Groynes fishing area is a junior fishery only. It is acceptable for an adult to assist junior anglers, but it is not acceptable for adults to fish. Rangers do frequent the area.

Compliance issues

If you see any illegal activities please Call Fish and Game on 0800 327426, or Dirk Barr, 021 221 8378, Steve Terry, 021 221 8327, Tony Hawker, 021 221 8325. We will try and get a ranger there asap.

Any Salmon Around?

Very few of late would be a fair description. As the season draws to an end only the odd fish is being caught in the lower reaches of our main rivers. River flows are very low and clear at present, which does not encourage salmon to move and also makes salmon difficult to catch. The Waimakariri is still the best option for a last chance at a fish, especially if the rivers colour up for a couple of days and encourage a late run of fish. Any salmon left to migrate will not be hanging around long as spawning time here, so make the most of the next window of opportunity.

Preliminary Spawn Counts

Fish and Game staff are currently in the process of counting spawning salmon in the headwaters of the Rakaia, Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau rivers. Although only one count has been done on the Rakaia river to date numbers are lower than usual. Only around 550 salmon were observed during the aerial count last week. Another flight will take place on the Rakaia next week to confirm that the peak run was captured.

The Waiau and Hurunui aerial counts were done yesterday, and staff are confident the peak run was encountered. The Hurunui had around 80 fish spawning and the Waiau showed promise with around 390 counted. Peak counts will take place in the Waimakariri river catchment next week. A final check on all of the rivers flown will take place before confirmed numbers are available.

Despite relatively low numbers of spawning adults counted to date, it is important to remember that some of our best seasons have resulted from some of our poorest returns 3 years prior, and visa versa. That may indicate that when smolt are in low numbers in their nursery streams, they have a more abundant food source, this may serve them well when heading for the perils of the ocean.
fishing

Rakaia river spawning salmon. These ones escaped the anglers.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 15 April 2016

As the salmon season starts to taper off, there are mixed reports around how the season fared, most leaning towards a fairly poor season. Many Rakaia anglers have packed their fishing gear away until next season, however there are still a few salmon in the mid reaches of the main rivers, more so the Waimakariri, and there are one or two spots still worth a look later in the season. Salmon remaining in the lower reaches will likely be making a run for their spawning grounds in the headwaters now, on the tail end of the recent fresh.

Staff carried out one of the aerial salmon counts in the headwaters of the Rakaia this week and were disappointed with the numbers observed, with only around 650 spawning salmon counted. There were a number of carcasses present and it appears that the peak of the spawning may have occurred a week or so earlier than usual this year. Many of these salmon likely entered the river pre-Christmas, when there were lower numbers of anglers on the river targeting salmon, compared with the traditional flurry of angling activity post-Christmas through to February.

Fishing in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Gorges has been yielding a few salmon for keen anglers in recent weeks, although these two gorges are really only accessible by jet boat and the salmon at the tail end of the run are becoming increasingly harder to catch as the season comes to an end. There have been reports of a handful of salmon caught from the lower Waimakariri each day recently, with the Waimakariri salmon not expected to show up in any numbers in the spawning streams for a week or two yet.

Please remember that fishing for both trout and salmon is now closed in the Western Zone of the Rakaia, with Waimakariri anglers having until the end of April to fish for trout in the Western Zone.

Please check your regulation guide before heading out, as there are a number of fisheries now closed.
Anglers wishing to head into the high country might like to try Lake Coleridge, as salmon are starting to think about spawning and are often caught either near the mouth of the Ryton River or trolling around Ryton Bay. Anglers only have until the end of April to take advantage of this as the lake closes for spawning in May.

This report was prepared on Wednesday evening, as staff are away on the West Coast releasing salmon into a number of rivers, and at this stage, the weather forecast for the weekend looked relatively calm with no rain on the radar, and rivers should all be fishable, so good luck if you are heading out for a fish over the weekend.

Good luck if you are heading out for a fish this weekend.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 8 April 2016

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. As I write this (Friday morning) it is cold and wet outside as a southerly front passes over. The weather is meant to clear on both the plains and high country by this afternoon. This will leave a cool but reasonably settled weekend. Nor' Westers are due to start building up again on Sunday in the high country.

There has been some rain on the main divide but it does not look like enough to raise the alpine rivers significantly. Currently all the rivers are very low and clear so a small fresh today wouldn't be a bad thing.

Trout fishing in the high country will be more pleasant on Saturday as that is going to be the calmest day. The lakes have been fairly quite in the last month as the water temperature has still been quite warm. Trolling or spinning at first light will be most successful.

Back country rivers should be low and clear this weekend. There are good numbers of fish around and they are in good condition. F&G staff completed a drift dive on the upper Hurunui a couple of weeks ago. It was a positive count with lots of medium and small size fish being seen. There has been a lack of medium sized fish in the upper Hurunui over the last couple of years, but for whatever reason they are back this year. At its current state of around 18 cumecs the flow is ideal for the upper reaches.

As the flows continue to drop this month it can open up opportunities to fish the mid reaches of rivers such as the Hurunui and Waiau. Most of the time these rivers are too big to negotiate but as the Hurunui falls to about 15 cumecs it opens up some new water in the mid gorges. These areas have reasonable populations of mid sized fish and there will still be the odd salmon around as well.

Also don't forget the kids as regular releases of salmon are still going into the Groynes this month. Hopefully this will continue into the school holidays.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 24 March 2016

There has been only limited angling opportunities for salmon anglers over the last week and as such, reports of success are minimal. There are still reports of a few being caught in the lower Waimakariri River and the mid reaches of the other salmon rivers, particularly between the SH1 and Gorge Bridges.

With the recent rain and slight lift in flows last week, salmon will be on the move heading for their spawning streams and the main rivers are all well worth a look, especially on the receding flows following any small flow increase.

In the Waimakariri, the south side of the mouth, Macintosh's Rocks and the Banana Hole all still yielding a few. Fishing in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Gorges has been yielding a few salmon for keen anglers in recent weeks, although these two gorges are really only accessible by jetboat. Please remember that fishing for trout closes in the Western Zone of the Rakaia at the end of March with Waimakariri anglers having until the end of April to fish for trout in the Western Zone.


North Canterbury CSI weekly report

Rakaia River.


The weather for the weekend looks very average with northerly rain in the alps today followed by southerly tonight with more rain, however it looks like there will be a clear window on Friday and Saturday morning before further winds appear, which will limit opportunities for lake and back country fly fishing. Anglers wishing to head into the high country might like to try Lake Coleridge, as salmon are starting to think about spawning and are often caught either near the mouth of the Ryton River or trolling around Ryton Bay. Anglers only have until the end of April to take advantage of this as the lake closes for spawning in May.

Salmon fishing in the Groynes junior fishing lakes has started again, after a period of weed control where no salmon were stocked for some time. The two bottom, or eastern lakes have been stocked a number of times in recent weeks and the best bet for parents wishing to take their kids for a fish is at first and last light using any of the authorised methods, with worms and shrimps working well.

North Canterbury CSI weekly report

Hope River Drift Diving.

Over the last few months, staff and volunteers have carried out a number of drift dives in the region, to monitor both trout numbers but also the habitat they live in, to ensure these back country fisheries remain sustainable. These have included the Boyle River, two sites below Lake Sumner in the Hurunui River, the Hope River and the Waiau River below the Ada River confluence.

All sites showed a slight decrease in numbers on last year, likely due to flooding in these rivers, however many of the trout are still trophy size due to the mouse plague last year. Hopefully some of you had a chance to fish for some of these fish, as we are unlikely to see conditions as favourable for some years now.

Fish & Game are monitoring trophy rivers such as these, to ensure all anglers get the chance to fish for trophy trout without the risk of over harvest, with any fish caught exceeding 400mm in length required to be released. Results from the most recent dive on the Hurunui River below Lake Sumner are;
The Lake Outlet
Large Brown trout – 79 (one Rainbow trout)
Medium - 48 (two rainbows)
Small – 31
Total – 158
Above Sisters Stream
Large Brown trout – 77 (one Rainbow trout)
Medium – 35
Small – 99
Total - 211
Good luck over the long weekend.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 18 March 2016

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. The weather is going to be dominated by a Nor' Westerly system. This will mean heavy rain and gale force winds in the high country, while the coast has a mixture of cloud with Northerlies or North Easters. All the main rivers are fishable at the moment, but the forecast heavy rain will most likely bring drown another fresh by Saturday morning.

The Rakaia is quite low at the moment and there may be a small window for a salmon fish Friday evening and Saturday morning before the fresh will come down. Likewise with the other main salmon rivers. The Waimakariri has seen some nice sized salmon caught lately, while the odd salmon is being caught in the Rakaia, Hurunui and Waiau Rivers in the mid reaches.

Foot hill streams had a bit of a flush this week after the southerly rain. So streams like the Ashley and upper Selwyn have a healthy flow at the moment. They could be worth a look if you can handle the wind.

The high country is going to be very unpleasant this weekend. Rain and gale force winds will dominate this weekend with no windows of calm weather forecast. It's probably best to target these rivers later next week after things settle down.

Fish & Game staff this week completed another drift dive in the backcountry. In general fish numbers in the backcountry are down a bit from last year. Overall though the size and condition of the fish is still impressive and the backcountry fishery seems very healthy.

As some of you are aware the Groynes fishing lakes have been infested with lagarosiphon this year. This has made them almost impossible to fish. The weed has been treated but it takes some time for the weed to fully die off. Fish & Game have started releasing fish again but are focusing on the bottom two ponds as these are the least affected by the weed. The bottom pond (pond four) is the best one at the moment. There should be regular releases from now on until the end of April.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 11 March 2016

Over the past 24 hours the wind has been howling and rain has been falling in the main divide. We all know what that means! The front however was fast moving which means that the peak intensity of the inland rain has now past and moved North. The end result of Thursdays wild weather is a sharp rise in river levels, although not substantial, hopefully they should subside fast also.

The Waimakariri at Otarama is currently flowing at 97 cumics, this may rise further yet, while the Rakaia at the Gorge has risen and peaked at 185 cumics. Behind the North/West Front there is also a strong South to South/West front due which will sweep up the east coast with strong winds also. In short this weekends fishing conditions are looking probable! Although sea conditions will be rough, and the colour of our main snow fed rivers will probably be marginal at worst in the first part of the weekend, but better by Sunday.

The gale force winds from the North West will be replaced by strong 65km winds from the South on Friday. Sunday will probably be the best option for river colour fishability, and also for calmness whilst fishing in the High Country Lakes area.

This week lowland rivers and streams are continuing to drop. The Wairapa and Waimairi streams have now dried up in the upper reaches around Avonhead. This is of considerable concern due to these streams being a nursery for yearling brow trout. They also provide good spawning gravels for adults. Hopefully the flows will return in time for the brown trout spawning.

If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.


Fly of the Month


Stick with the Cicada. At this time of year a breeze can be an advantage to the fly angler. Calm conditions give trout plenty of time to decide if the fly is an imitation or real. At this time of the season some trout have been cast at, by many anglers, with all sorts of gear. They are wiser now than they were! Use the wind to your advantage. If the trout has a limited time to decide whether to take or not, then it will often be a snap decision that leads to a hook up. On a trip to our high country lakes last weekend a nice wee rainbow, and a brown made that mistake for me. The deer hair cicadas were almost riding the waves, and all I can say is splash those cicadas down!

Groynes Junior Fishery, Salmon Releases Imminent.

Good progress has been made with the clearance of weed at the Groynes. The forecast is to release more than 200 salmon into all of the 4 lakes early next week. This is the place where many young anglers get their first experience with the freshwater sports fishery, and it will be vey pleasing to have the use of it back. Please remember that the Groynes is a junior fishery only. It is acceptable for an adult to assist junior anglers, but it is not acceptable for adults to fish. Rangers do frequent the area.
Compliance issues
If you see any illegal activities please Call Fish and Game on 0800 327426, or Dirk Barr, 021 221 8378, Steve Terry, 021 221 8327, Tony Hawker, 021 221 8325. We will try and get a ranger there asap.


Notice to Anglers

Special Meeting
To consider restricting the winter season in North Canterbury region pursuant to the powers contained in the Conservation Act 1987
Notice is hereby given that the North Canterbury Fish & Game Council is considering restricting the 2016 and beyond winter season in waterways east of SH1 in order to address the decline in fish numbers and other pressures on the fishery.

For that purpose it is calling a special meeting on Wednesday 16th March 2016, 6.30pm – 8.00pm at the Canterbury Horticultural Society Centre, 57 Riccarton Avenue. All welcome.
T Isitt
Chairman
North Canterbury Fish & Game Council

Up Coming Events

Waimakariri Fishing Competition - Saturday 12th March. First Light to 3.30pm.
To enter, Contact the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association for more information, and specific competition area rules.
The Annual Rangers Fishing Competition - Thursday 24th March.
This competition is held at Kairaki Beach at the Waimakariri river mouth and is open to all anglers. This social event has no entry fee and lots of good prizes. Fish and Game rangers will be cooking sossy's for all on the beach and also attempting to fish and take out the trophy! More information will feature in next weeks report.

Any Salmon Around?

Although there does not seem to be any major runs around in any of the rivers at present, there are just a few being caught in most areas. The Waimakariri river is showing the most promise at present with some very good quality fish being landed. If the Waimakariri river is going to really fire up it will have to happen soon. The big question is, are they there to come home? There is still time for a good run as traditionally this river should peak around mid March. Lets hope cooler water temperatures over the next month will inspire some activity.

As reported a few weeks ago the Waiau river seems to have had a reasonable salmon run. Staff observed numerous salmon in the salmon fishing exclusion Western Zone whist drift diving monitoring trout populations. Salmon have not been seen during this count in the past so that was very encouraging to see.
North Canterbury CSI weekly report
Fish and Game rangers were out in force on the Waimakariri river earlier this week. During their compliance rounds Scandinavian angler, Salala Habib, was asked for his licence whilst he was cleaning up someone's discarded nylon from the beach. 2 casts later and he was rewarded with a stunning conditioned 16 pounder. He proudly stated that the rangers had brought him good luck, and insisted they must be in the photo with his prized catch. I think he was rewarded for his goodwill, and good nature on the beach.
Tight Lines all,
Dirk Barr
North Canterbury Fish and Game

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 4 March 2016

It has been two weeks since the last fresh in the main rivers and they are now low and clear. This is likely to remain the same well into the foreseeable future, with no significant rain on the long range forecast. Salmon fishing has subsequently gone quiet again, with reports of only the odd salmon caught each day from the main rivers in recent days, following a flurry of activity last weekend, which saw 13 salmon taken at the Waimakariri Mouth on Sunday. Some of the salmon being caught are in the order of 16 – 18lbs, hopefully a promising sign of some nice salmon yet to run the rivers. The mouth of the Rakaia River is not that great for salmon fishing to date this season and has attracted limited activity and success.

We still hope to see reasonable numbers of salmon show up in all the rivers sometime over the next month, with the Waimakariri generally fishing well in the latter half of the season. While the rivers are low and clear we expect to see salmon numbers build up around the mouths and tidal reaches, with salmon coming into the gut and lagoon areas at high tide and retreating back to the ocean as the tide recedes. This can result in some great fishing in these areas and prime spots in these lower reaches are likely to be well contested! Anglers wanting to target salmon upriver would be best to be on the water at first light and use light tackle as there will be little activity throughout the day.


North Canterbury CSI weekly report


The Waimakariri Salmon Fishing Competition is on next Saturday, 12th March, next weekend, with the weigh station at Kairaki Beach. The fishing area for this event is between the mouth and the railway bridge. This event is organised by the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association and details of entry are in the official booklets which are available at most Christchurch tackle stores and also the following website; http://www.nzsalmonanglers.co.nz/board/bbs/board.php?bo_table=events&wr_id=180

Following this event, will be the annual Waimakariri River Rangers Competition, be held on Thursday 24th March. All anglers are welcome to take part in this social event. The fishing area is from the north side of the mouth up to the Yacht Club. There is no entry fee, some great prizes and Fish & Game will have a BBQ running.

Earlier this week, Fish & Game staff drift dived the upper Waiau River on St. James Station and were pleasantly rewarded. Over a 1km stretch we counted 25 large Brown trout, with a couple over 7kg. Fish & Game are monitoring trophy rivers such as this, to ensure all anglers get the chance to fish for trophy trout without the risk of over harvest, with any fish exceeding 400mm in length required to be released.


North Canterbury CSI weekly report


We have had reports from anglers recently concerned about the variable turbidity in the lower Waimakariri River. After a large flood or fresh event in the Waimakariri, Fulton Hogan must often rebuild a long gravel berm, to provide a buffer for gravel extraction activities near the river and to filter sediment runoff. Fulton Hogan have resource consents to carry out this work and the associated discharge of large amounts of sediment into the river.

Following recent discussions with North Canterbury Fish & Game, the company has shown good faith in agreeing to repair the gravel berms as quickly as possible, between when the river flow returns to a workable level and when the fresh has naturally begun to clear. They will also plan to work around some of our key salmon fishing times and events, such as the major salmon fishing competitions and long weekends, to avoid sediment loss before and during these times or events; which we know frustrates so many anglers.

It is important to note that other gravel extraction companies also operate in the lower Waimakariri, so our intention is to build co-operation amongst these other extractors to achieve a win-win outcome. Our thanks goes to Fulton Hogan and particularly Kelvyn Jolly for his cooperation and assistance in minimising sediment discharges and for keeping us informed of extraction activities.
Good luck if you are heading out for a fish this weekend.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 26 Feb 2016

The hot weather continues into the weekend as the Nor' Wester still dominates the weather system. Tomorrow will be hot and windy especially in the high country. Sunday morning may offer a short calm period before the Nor' Wester builds up again.

The Hurunui and Waiau rivers are ideal flows for salmon fishing at the moment. Salmon will be spread out throughout both of these rivers. The Rakaia and Waimakariri will be fishable by tomorrow as long as there is no more rain in the headwaters today or tonight. Remember the Rakaia fishing competition is on this weekend so there will be a lot of people on the river.

Backcountry fisheries should be clear and fishable this weekend but the wind is going to be challenging in the high country for sight fishing. High country lakes will not be much good for boating apart from a small window on Sunday morning. Shore based angels may still have some luck finding sheltered spots.
If you do find a sheltered corner of a lake the fishing can be quite production this time of year as it is warm enough for terrestrial insects including cicadas.

I am yet to see cicadas in the backcountry yet but they are due. Cicadas can turn benign lakes into a feeding frenzy. When cicadas are on fly fishing becomes a whole lot easier. Presentation is not so important as trout are attracted to the heavy splash of the insect hitting the water. Although there are some very realistic cicada imitations out there, "matching the hatch” is not so crucial. Any buoyant bushy dry fly will do.

In Nor'Westers lowland streams are worth exploring. Often the strong winds don't reach right to the coast, so river mouth fishing can still be the go. Streams such as the Otukaikino, Lower Selwyn and the Cam can often be sheltered with their willow lined banks. The Waimakariri is due for its main salmon run any day now.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 19 Feb 2016

This weekends fishing conditions are looking very average! Significant Nor West fronts are continuing to move up the West Coast over the next 2 days bringing strong winds and some heavy rain fall in the alps. There may be up to 100mm of rain in the Canterbury headwaters up until 7pm Saturday. Of course this is on top of the substantial amount that has already seen the main rivers rise to flood levels on Thursday. Gale force winds are also predicted for inland Canterbury.

Unfortunately it looks as if settled weather will not be present until after the weekend. Anglers looking to fish for trout in the high country lakes this weekend would be best to target Sunday as being the better of the 2 days.

The lowland rivers are currently trying to hold on to flows. The rain in January has helped a lot but please be aware that the streams are dropping, and there is every possibility, that some streams will de water. March is often our lowest flow month in the low country.

If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

Fly of the Month

Look out it's Cicada time!. This time of the season is a truly exciting one with the prospects of cicada activity imminent. The often deafening chirping sound of these little beauties indicates their presence as they sun themselves on the stones or surrounding vegetation. On a trip to the West Coast this week their chirping could be heard while driving past trees and scrub, over the noise of the vehicle. They are out in huge numbers right now. At this time of year a breeze is an advantage to the fly angler as the cumbersome flight nature of these heavy terrestrials often creates crash landings on the water.

The trout know this and they are waiting for it! Cicadas come in a variation of colours but most have an almost black or green appearance. Their size is about that of a large blowfly and often a Black Gnat will be a close imitation to the cicada. The best hook sizes for the cicada imitation are 12#,10# and 8#. I personally prefer to use a long shank 8 or 10 and will have black and green versions in the fly box. There are many variations of this pattern, but because of the large nature of the cicada, deer hair patterns will be the best for buoyancy. Don't be to concerned about rough casting as it is often the heavy splash of the cicada that will entice the take.

Groynes Junior Fishery, Salmon Releases on Hold.

Intended salmon releases are currently on hold at the Groynes due to imminent plans to rid the lakes of the invasive weed that has taken over. This weed growth has affected ponds 1 and 2 severely making them un fishable. The Christchurch City Council has committed to eradicating this weed and will commence the operation this month. It is hoped that the ponds will be fishable again by mid March. When given the all clear, a large release of salmon is intended for the children of Christchurch to catch. We will keep you informed of progress in this weekly report.

Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition

This high profile event has been the highlight of the salmon fishing season for many anglers for over 30 years and will be held on the 26th to 28th of February. Entries close at 5pm Tuesday 23rd of February. To enter go to www.rakaiasalmon.co.nz or entry forms are available from most hunting and fishing retail stores. The extensive prize pool includes spot prizes for all angler's, irrelevant of catching a fish, and totals around $50,000, This is a social competition and it is important to keep in mind that your entry should not be conditional or reliant upon, if there are many fish around at the time, or if the river is dirty.

All of the proceeds from your entry fees are put back into the river in the way of numerous enhancement projects undertaken by the Rakaia River Fishing Promotions Enhancement Committee. These valuable projects include salmon ova planting days at which the team will use their incubator systems to plant thousands of eyed ova into 3 nursery streams that flow into the Rakaia. Volunteers are required for these days which usually only take a couple of mornings in July and are followed by a riverside barbeque.

Other proceeds from your entry fees go towards habitat funding for fencing materials ensuring the protection of high country spawning streams. Other valuable contributions have been made to various hatchery improvements at the Montrose site above the Rakaia Gorge. These are all positive steps towards improving our fishery, and providing more salmon for all anglers to catch. By entering this competition you are playing an important part in protecting and enhancing the Rakaia river salmon fishery.

Report on Fin Clipping Event


North Canterbury CSI weekly report


Volunteers lined up on both sides of the raceways removing adipose fins from smolt.


Last weekend the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association and The Canterbury Lurefishing Association lead the way at the fin clipping event held at the Fish and Game Montrose hatchery. Club members were also joined by Fish and Game Rangers, and Councilors, and members of the public for 2 days with a target of fin clipping 110,000 salmon. The task was easily completed, in 2 half days, by the 135 volunteers whom attended over the weekend.

At the peak 28,000 salmon were being clipped per hour which meant that volunteers could afford to take time out to enjoy the social fishing talk, knowing that the job was going to be easily achievable. On both days the clipping was finished before the barbeque lunch, which meant that anglers could just sit back and enjoy the beaut weather, in great surroundings, with like minded people talking fish! A large number of first time volunteers attended, and many of them commented that they had no idea just how much went on behind the scenes relating to the fishery.

They were certainly also surprised by the level of commitment shown by so many people to the cause. The fin clipping weekend was a great opportunity for anglers to play a part in our fishery, and was undoubtedly an outstanding success.

The important aspect of monitoring our salmon fishery is all part of the Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program. Fish and Game would like to thank all the volunteers and those associated with their respective salmon angling clubs, for the overwhelming level of support shown at the hatchery over the weekend. The successes of this are directly due, to the goodwill and passion shown by so many good people, simply referred to, but respectively known in our fishery as, the dedicated volunteers!

Compliance issues

Thank you to the anglers whom call in with reports of illegal angling activities. For your information rest assured that Fish and Game are being very successful when it comes to securing prosecutions in court. Most offences detected are fishing or hunting without a licence, other cases include, keeping a foul hooked sports, fishing closed waters, hunting with lead shot, shooting protected species etc All cases taken up over the past 2 years have resulted in fines and in most cases forfeiture of gear. All of the prosecutions also result in a criminal conviction on the offenders record. If you see any illegal activities please Call Fish and Game on 0800 327426, or Dirk Barr, 021 221 8378, Steve Terry, 021 221 8327, Tony Hawker, 021 221 8325. We will try and get a ranger there asap.

Any Salmon Around?

North Canterbury CSI weekly report
This lucky angler caught his salmon limit in the surf and the best weighed 17 pounds.

Some say no, some say yes. That would mean that there are not a lot around, but if you are in the right area at the right time some good success could be had. Personally it seems like the Rakaia river is in between runs at present. There is very little salmon activity at the mouth but just a few are sneaking through. There was 6 caught on Wednesday before the fresh. The Waimakariri seems to have a few starting to build in the lower reaches now. This fresh should signify a run in both of the above rivers as the timing is right. The big question is of course, are they out there?

The Northern rivers have showed a lot of promise to date. The Hurunui has produced some good salmon in the surf, and the river, along with the Waiau. Reports are frequent that there are reasonable numbers of salmon up stream in both of these rivers. Unfortunately for anglers they will not be fishable for awhile. Fortunately for the salmon many will make it home.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 12 Feb 2016

Steve Terry: Fish and Game Officer

Over the last two weeks there has been no significant rainfall in the alps to bring the rivers down in a fresh and the main salmon rivers. This is likely to remain the same well into the foreseeable future, with no significant rain on the long range forecast. Salmon fishing has gone quiet again with reports of only the odd salmon caught each day from the Rakaia River, a few from the lower Waimakariri up to McIntosh's, and a few each day from the Hurunui & Waiau rivers, and obtaining such information from locals is rare!

We still hope to see reasonable numbers of salmon show up in all the rivers sometime over the next month, with the Waimakariri generally fishing well in the later half of the season. There has been a reasonable number of salmon taken weighing between 16 – 20lbs and it appears there is an abundance of krill around the coast at present so salmon will be making the most of this and putting on as much condition as they can before heading for their spawning grounds.

While the rivers are low and clear we expect to see salmon numbers build up around the mouths and tidal reaches, with salmon coming into the gut and lagoon areas at high tide and retreating back to the ocean as the tide recedes and this can result in some great fishing in these areas. Prime spots in these lower reaches are likely to be well contested!

Anglers wanting to target salmon upriver would be best to be on the water at first light and use light tackle as there will be little activity throughout the day. The weather forecast for the weekend should suit salmon anglers with mild Nor-westers and patchy cloud both days. River conditions also look good with the Rakaia still holding a bit of colour.

With the variable weather we get in Canterbury, planning fishing trips becomes a challenge, and along with the river flows website at the bottom of the weekly emails, I find the following websites useful when planning trips away; Metvuw shows images of predicted weather for up to week in advance, and I use this to forecast rainfall and wind direction - www.metvuw.com/forecast, I use the 7-day Thumbnails for the South Island. Combine this with the Metservice National Weather site - www.metservice.com/national/home, and to see how much rain has fallen in any particular area, use the ECan rainfall page - ecan.govt.nz/services/online-services/monitoring/rainfall/Pages/rainfall-north-canterbury.aspx
Good luck if you are heading out for a fish this weekend.

Photo below is angler Sam Wright with a nice 18.5 lb salmon taken from the Rakaia after work this week on a 22g silver Z-spinner.
North Canterbury CSI weekly report


North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 5 Feb 2016

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. It seems summer has finally arrived this week for Canterbury. The hot weather this week has seen the main rivers increase in temperature. This morning despite the colder conditions the Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau are hovering around 19 degrees. The weather this weekend looks like cooler temperatures with some cloudy periods and light winds, this will also help keep the water temperature down.

All the salmon rivers should be fishable this weekend. The Rakaia looks to have the best colour and flow. The other rivers have cleared faster. Salmon are still being caught by those putting in the effort and fishing and the right times of day. Salmon are starting to get caught in the Waimakariri as well.
The lack of wind means the high country will be worth a look this weekend. Many of you will be camping with the long weekend. Some of the smaller lakes such as Lyndon and Georgina will go a bit quite as the water temperature heats up.

Trout, especially rainbows, will go into deeper water. These fish are best targeted by boat, where rules allow, to get further out into the deeper water. Some of the bigger cooler lakes such as Selfe or Taylor will still have good shoreline fishing for cruising browns. This is also a good time of year for using cicada imitations which can lead to some of the most exciting fly fishing of the year. Shore line based spin angler should concentrate on first light for the greatest chance of success.

Backcountry rivers will be low and clear again this weekend. Once again cicadas could be a good option or just some large and bushy imitation. February can be a challenging month to try and catch fish in the backcountry if they have seen a lot of anglers over the holiday period. Be prepared to walk some extra miles or use smaller lighter gear for both fly and spin to get results.

Foot hill streams have a generous flow at the moment which has been something if a rarity in recent years at this time of year. Make the most of this opportunity to fish a local stream in pleasant February conditions.

The Annual Chinook Salmon Smolt fin clipping program will commence at the Montrose hatchery at 8:30am, Saturday the 13th of February and will involve 2 days with a good team. This important task of marking Chinook salmon for the purpose of identification within the fishery is one of the most essential fisheries management tools we have.

North Canterbury Fish & Game are inviting members of the public to assist with the task of adipose fin-clipping approximately 130,000 salmon smolt at the site. These smolt are destined for release into the following waterbodies; Silverstream, Otukaikino, Rakaia, Coleridge, Kaikoura, Clarence and the West Coast.

The car pool meeting point will be at the Yaldhurst Hotel car park, at 7.30am Saturday & Sunday. Volunteers whom have not been to the Montrose hatchery before, are advised to meet at Blackford Road, which is the first Road on the right after crossing the Rakaia Gorge bridge, on the South side of the river. The entrance to the property is on your right, approximately 6kms up the road from the turn off.

Fish & Game will also be providing a barbeque lunch on the day. Warm clothes and wet weather gear is advised. Gumboots or waders are also advised. Please invite your friends and children to enjoy the comradery of anglers on this social and educational event.

Members of the public please contact Dirk below, thanks.
Dirk Barr
North Canterbury Fish and Game
Hatcheries Manager
021 221 8378

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 29 Jan 2016

As most of you will be well aware, the recent rain has kept most anglers at home, with only the keenest venturing out and as such, I have little to report this week. Over the last week there have been three small freshes in the main salmon fishing rivers, which has kept these rivers discoloured and unfishable. Most lowland rivers also have a healthy flow following the rain this week and the prospect of staff having to salvage rivers has thankfully eased. Once rivers clear there should be salmon throughout the main rivers and we expect to hear of some great fishing next week, before the next fresh inevitably arrives.

The weather looks great for fishing the high country this weekend, so make the most of the light winds and clear skies, with lake and headwater stream conditions ideal at present. Being relatively handy to Christchurch at around an hours' drive west, Lake Lyndon is low at present and the fishing has gone quite as the trout seek shelter in the deeper cooler sections of the lake. This is also true for Lake Coleridge which has been quiet recently as salmon shoal up in deeper waters. The other lakes in the upper Waimakariri catchment such as Pearson and Grassmere would be worth a fish using brown beetle imitation in the evenings.

A friendly reminder to anglers, please remember, there is no salmon fishing in the Western Zone of our rivers above the white posts, as we have had reports of this occurring recently. Rangers have been actively patrolling waterways this season and will continue to do so in coming weeks, so please remember to carry your licence with you at all times. A long walk back to the vehicle to retrieve your licence when the fishing action is hot, does not help anyone, let alone receive a criminal prosecution for flouting the regulations, as it is an offence not to produce a licence when requested by a ranger, let alone fish without one!

Good luck over the weekend.


Fin Clipping Weekend at Montrose: Urgent Assistance Needed!


Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February 2016

Hatchery staff are desperately trying to hold oxygen levels to avoid releasing any more non marked smolt. The Annual Chinook Salmon Smolt fin clipping program will commence at the Montrose hatchery at 8:30am, Saturday the 13th of February and will involve 2 days with a good team.

This important task of marking Chinook salmon for the purpose of identification within the fishery is one of the most essential fisheries management tools we have.

North Canterbury Fish & Game are inviting members of the public to assist with the task of adipose fin-clipping approximately 130,000 salmon smolt at the site. These smolt are destined for release into the following waterbodies; Silverstream, Otukaikino, Rakaia, Coleridge, Kaikoura, Clarence and the West Coast.

The car pool meeting point will be at the Yaldhurst Hotel car park, at 7.30am Saturday & Sunday. Volunteers whom have not been to the Montrose hatchery before, are advised to meet at Blackford Road, which is the first Road on the right after crossing the Rakaia Gorge bridge, on the South side of the river. The entrance to the property is on your right, approximately 6kms up the road from the turn off.

Fish & Game will also be providing a barbeque lunch on the day. Warm clothes and wet weather gear is advised. Gumboots or waders are also advised. Please invite your friends and children to enjoy the comradery of anglers on this social and educational event.

Members of the public please contact Dirk below, thanks.

Dirk Barr
North Canterbury Fish and Game
Hatcheries Manager
021 221 8378

Steve Terry
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 22 Jan 2016

So far this month has been a real mixed bag for anglers in the region. A large fresh just over a week ago put a stop to salmon angling and this recent easterly and southerly rain has kept the rivers dirty, and they are not clear as quickly as anticipated, but should be fishable by Saturday. Salmon fishing had quietened off since before Christmas, but should see some fish in the rivers following this recent fresh. These rivers should be in great condition until the next fresh and we expect to hear of some great fishing over the next month or so, freshes permitting.

For those of you new to the sport of salmon fishing and keen to have a go at fishing the surf for salmon, firstly spend some time practicing your cast on the local rugby field and see what distance you can cast. Those who specialise in surf casting for salmon can cast up to 130-140 metres, with new-comers averaging 50-60 metres. Secondly you need the conditions to be calm enough for you to cast once you get to the beach, so keep an eye on the surf report, with an off-shore breeze and less than one metre swell ideal.

Retrieve your line quickly and keep your gear high in the water - except for very dirty water. Dirty water following a fresh sits on top of the salt water, so a clear patch of water can appear from nowhere, or you may be able to allow your gear to drop below the dirty layer. It is also important to point out to those anglers intending to fish for salmon in salt water that they still need a licence if you are fishing within 500 metres of the river mouth.

If the salmon aren't about, there is still a good chance you will catch a Kahawai, as there are plenty of these all around the country again this year. If bled and put in the chilli-bin with a couple of frozen water bottles they are great eating. These fish are under rated as an edible fish and make great eating a number of ways, either raw as sashimi dipped in a mix of soy sauce and wasabi, or fried fresh that day and they are also great smoked. I find that trimming the darker flesh off when preparing the fish before cooking ensures a much better quality end result.

Families with school kids should make the most of the last week of holidays, taking advantage of any days with light winds and clear skies, with lake and headwater stream conditions ideal at present. Being relatively handy to Christchurch at around an hours' drive west, Lake Lyndon is getting plenty of attention from both anglers and recreational boaters.

Trolling for rainbow trout is best at first and last light, with water skiing etc. during the hot daylight hours a good way to fill the day in and it's great to see 30 – 40 boats and many anglers each day enjoying this lake. Most people understand the need to accommodate all user groups and it is great to have not had any complaints from any lake users this season. Good luck over the next few weeks.


Fin Clipping Weekend at Montrose

Urgent Assistance Needed!
Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February 2016

Hatchery staff are desperately trying to hold oxygen levels to avoid releasing any more non marked smolt. The Annual Chinook Salmon Smolt fin clipping program will commence at the Montrose hatchery at 8:30am, Saturday the 13th of February and will involve 2 days with a good team.

This important task of marking Chinook salmon for the purpose of identification within the fishery is one of the most essential fisheries management tools we have. North Canterbury Fish & Game are inviting members of the public to assist with the task of adipose fin-clipping approximately 130,000 salmon smolt at the site.

These smolt are destined for release into the following waterbodies; Silverstream, Otukaikino, Rakaia, Coleridge, Kaikoura, Clarence and the West Coast.

The car pool meeting point will be at the Yaldhurst Hotel car park, at 7.30am Saturday & Sunday. Volunteers whom have not been to the Montrose hatchery before, are advised to meet at Blackford Road, which is the first Road on the right after crossing the Rakaia Gorge bridge, on the South side of the river. The entrance to the property is on your right, approximately 6kms up the road from the turn off.

Fish & Game will also be providing a barbeque lunch on the day. Warm clothes and wet weather gear is advised. Gumboots or waders are also advised. Please invite your friends and children to enjoy the comradery of anglers on this social and educational event.

Members of the public please contact:
Dirk Barr
North Canterbury Fish and Game
Hatcheries Manager
021 221 8378


Steve Terry
Fish and Game Officer 

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 15 Jan 2016

This weekends fishing conditions are looking uncertain at the time of writing. There is a significant Nor West front moving its way up the West Coast on Friday bringing strong winds and possibly some heavy rain fall in the alps. There may be up to 80mm of rain in the Canterbury headwaters between 7am and 5pm. Current conditions of main snow fed rivers are good at present, but be mindful that flows may rise to become unfishable on Saturday. It seems likely that the front will move through quickly, and winds should ease by Saturday. This will be ideal for anglers intending to fish the high country lakes. Make the most of the early part of the weekend if you are looking to fish for salmon or sea run trout.

Recent lowland rain temporarily helped some of the smaller streams from drying, but it will not be enough keeping in mind that February and March are probably our lowest flow months. Staff have carried out salvage operations on the Cust and Ashley rivers to date. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

There have been some very good fishing reports from our high country lakes recently. Lake Selfe in particular is consistently producing some very nice rainbow trout up to around 5 lbs. These trout are being caught by fly and spin anglers.


Fly of the Month

The Black Gnat. This fly is a great all rounder. Originally tied to imitate a blow fly although I am sure it is taken for a cicada at times. There are many variations of this pattern available these days. Some of them are tied more like a traditional humpy, which makes them more buoyant, these are my choice. Drifting these along a vegetation edge can be very enticing to a trout! It is often a good idea to tie on a dropper from the dry, about 400mm long depending on the water depth, with a nymph attached. This gives the trout an option if surface morsels are not on the menu at the time. The dry fly will then become your strike indicator.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes
There are still some opportunities for juniors anglers under the age of 17 as of the 1st October for catching fish at the Groynes. The Groynes junior fishery ponds are a great place to teach your children how to cast and there is a very realistic chance that they may catch one. Please be aware that adults are only permitted to assist their children with fishing. That means that to help cast for the junior and then leave the retrieve or waiting for a fish to bite to them is how it should be done. It is not acceptable for an adult to actively retrieve the lure or bait or attempt to catch fish at any time. Rangers are frequent visitors to the lakes and have heard all the excuses.

Soft baits and bait fishing with shrimps or worms are favoured. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora. Phone 03 313 5728.

Salmon Releases on Hold at the Groynes Junior Fishery
Intended salmon releases are currently on hold at the Groynes due to imminent plans to rid the lake s of the invasive weed that has taken over. This weed growth has affected ponds 1 and 2 severely making them un fishable. The Council has plans to drain and eradicate this weed around the end of January. Because of this any salmon that have not been caught by the kids will be threatened by the low levels. We will keep you informed about this activity in this weekly report.

Compliance issues
Thank you to the anglers whom call in with reports of illegal angling activities. We usually have a ranger handy to investigate, but often the alleged offender has departed before he arrives. There are some problems in relation to face book reports of illegal activity, guess what, the offenders are on there too! If you witness any illegal activity please do not put it on face book, and try not to alert the offender. Call Fish and Game on 0800 327426, or Dirk Barr: 021 221 8378, Steve Terry: 021 221 8327, Tony Hawker: 021 221 8325. We will try and get a ranger there asap.
Any Salmon Around?
North Canterbury CSI weekly report
Haven't seen any!
In some regards you may as well ask the anglers dog, or are they just as secretive when it comes to salmon fishing?

It seems there are a few around, mainly in the Rakaia and Waimakariri. Numbers have dropped away over the past 2 weeks on the Rakaia, but more runs should arrive. The early run which occurred on the Rakaia was a reasonable one, and is now well into the western zone. This "closed for salmon fishing” area is a total salmon sanctuary, and it is good to know that these salmon have got past the anglers, and are protected for the spawn, ensuring future generations of salmon runs.

Often there is a quiet spell in January, and I think we may be in it. Of course that does not mean that they will not be pouring in tomorrow? After all salmon anglers do need to be optimists! Salmon anglers are now anticipating the main run which should occur in February on the Rakaia, and March on the Waimakariri. The Waimakariri has seen a few more fish caught over the past week or so. It seems to be slowly building. Here's hoping!
Dirk Barr
Fish and Game Officer 

North Canterbury CSI weekly report
Sue Wilson caught this one in December at the Rakaia on her 5th cast for the season


North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 8 Jan 2016

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. As I write this there is heavy rain falling in the main divide. Although this eases by tomorrow, strong winds will still dominate the high country for most of the weekend while the plains and coast will have variable cooler weather.
At the moment the salmon rivers are dropping and clearing fast, however I expect with the rain forecast today they will come down dirty by tomorrow. They may not be fishable until early next week. You'll have to keep an eye on the flows tomorrow morning to make sure.

There are salmon being caught in all the main rivers, but the rising water temperature has meant less salmon are being caught in the last couple of days. The forecast fresh should drive the water temperature down making the salmon more active. So anglers should try and target these rivers as soon as they become fishable as it doesn't take long at this time of year for the rivers to heat up again.

The high country lakes have been busy with angling activity over the holiday period. After some of the frenzied feeding activity on green beetles in December, they have now quietened down. The warmer temperature tends to drive the fish into deeper cooler water. This can make it challenging for shore based anglers. The cooler windier conditions forecast this weekend will change this trend a little. Often trout are observed surfing the waves eating the food that gets stirred up by the wave action. It can be challenging conditions casting and standing in the wind all day, however, some anglers swear by this technique. If casting into the wind is not your cup of tea, the good thing is with lakes there is usually somewhere that has some shelter from the wind.

Lowland streams received a well needed boost from the rain last week. They now have reasonable flows for this time of year. Hill fed streams would be worth a look. The Ashley had a decent fresh which has now connected the whole river again. Don't forget all the local streams around Christchurch which have stable streams all year. Often these streams get forgotten about this time of year as people go further afield for holidays.

Bach country rives will probably be a write off this weekend due to the rainfall. They should become fishable by early next week. I have spent a bit of time in the back country rivers in the last couple of weeks. I have had really contrasting days with lots of fish seen that completely ignore everything to runs of fish that readily take big bushy dry flies.

The freshes usually help with educated fish as they feed more regularly after he river begins to clear and there is an abundance of food floating downstream. There are still some massive fish in the backcountry this year but anglers should concentrate on landing one or two quality fish rather that expecting to catch a lot as the fishing can be incredibly challenging.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 5 Jan 2016

With the weather being warm and the wind still around, angling conditions are still proving a little trying, so I thought I would take a different tack this week. As some of you will have received vouchers for your favourite outdoor store from Santa, or are just looking for an excuse to get out of the house, I felt we should look at what's been hot at the shops over the last few weeks.

As we have all heard, the salmon have been coming into the big rivers, especially good catches being reported in the Rakaia River. It seems some who have put in the time have been rewarded.
So I asked Ash, from Rangiora's centrally located Hamills store to show me what's looking popular this season.


North Canterbury CSI weekly report
And as you can see from the picture, it looks like as long as it's bright and shiny – it will work.
Some have a new shape, which will undoubtedly mean they swim with a different action and of course they come in all the usual weights.

Everyone believes the colour and weight they use works best. I know I prefer a nice new silver Effzet Dam 18 gram lure, but if I feel like a change, an 18 or 22 gram white zeddy, with a little green tape on the inside of the spoon has worked well for me too.

I am a firm believer that, if you are confident in what you are fishing with - it will work.
For the 'intel' on trout gear, I swung past the newly relocated North Canterbury Hunting & Fishing outlet, just along from the old shop in Southbrook.

North Canterbury CSI weekly report
Sean, the stores trout fishing guru is holding up a range in the photo, popular with spin fishermen. What I find interesting here....it's the tried and true going out the door. The 'good ole' black and gold toby, who doesn't have several of these in their arsenal? And same too could probably be said of the Tazzie Devil, and pictured is my favourite red and black but the gold and black along with the rainbow pattern are also proving popular too.

The Muddler Rapala (pictured centre) has also been near the top of the anglers shopping list this summer too. The minnow imitation always swims well and can fool even the wiliest of trout.
Hopefully over the coming weeks the weather settles down, but as we are in the midst of an El Nino the water temp will continue to stay warm for a while yet. Make the most of the early mornings and the cooler evenings, especially while you are on a break from work through the remainder of the season.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 18 Dec 2015

The weekends weather forecast is looking very favourable for anglers, and fishing prospects are also looking good. We have a settled few days ahead which will provide good high country, and low country angling conditions. There has been some welcome rain in the low country which will just freshen flows up a little, and also frequent high country rain has kept flows ups in the main salmon river catchments. The Waimakariri is a good colour at present, and the Rakaia is not far behind it at 180 cumics.
Despite recent rain, it will not be enough to save many lowland streams and rivers from drying up in the near future. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

The best options for fly or spin anglers this weekend will be all of the North Canterbury region. We are very fortunate here in Canterbury to have such a diverse fishery that caters for so many angling techniques. Anglers can travel very short distances and fish local Low land streams or which can provide some great sport on light fly or spinning gear. Then there are also the dusk/night big brown trout fishing options around Lakes Ellesmere and Forsyth. You could try trolling for Trout and Land Locked Salmon at Lake Coleridge.

The High Country lakes are now in their prime season with great dry fly opportunities with solid Rainbows and Browns on offer. Fish for trophy Trout in the headwaters of our main catchments, with spectacular views as a bonus. Or try the Eastern zone snow fed rivers for sea run trout or salmon. We are spoilt for choices when the weather plays its part, and now is the time to get out there, before it changes its mind!

Fly of the Month
The Manuka Beetle! The High Counrty trout have been living it up over the past 2 weeks. As these beautiful little beetles crash land on the water, the trout seem to be waiting for them. As the sun rises higher around 10am to 11am ( slurp time) the Manukas beetles dry their wings and take to the sky. Unfortunately they are heavy flyers! If you are in the right place at flight time with a Manuka Beetle on the end you could be in for a great angling experience.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes
There are still some good opportunities for juniors anglers under the age of 17 as of the 1st October for catching fish at the Groynes. The Groynes junior fishery ponds are a great place to teach your children how to cast and there is a very realistic chance that they may catch one. Please be aware that adults are only permitted to assist their children with fishing. That means that to help cast for the junior and then leave the retrieve or waiting for a fish to bite to them is how it should be done. It is not acceptable for an adult to actively retrieve the lure or bait or attempt to catch fish at any time. Rangers are frequent visitors to the lakes and have heard all the excuses.

Soft baits and bait fishing with shrimps or worms are favoured. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora.
Phone 03 313 5728.

Salmon Released for Xmas at the Groynes Junior Fishery
Salmon numbers of around 150 will be released into the Groynes ponds today. These fish are very nice looking specimens and mostly weigh up to around 1kg. The salmon have been donated by the New Zealand Salmon Smolt Company near Clarkville, to the junior anglers of Christchurch. We are gratefully indebted to Karl French and the team there for their on going support to Fish and Game. Cheers Guys.
Please note that ponds 1 and 2 are not being used for releases at present due to excessive weed growth. Ponds 3 and 4 at the Eastern end are. Measures will be taken to fix this problem in late January.
Any Salmon Around?
Sure are. Things are looking very promising at this stage on the salmon scene. Numerous fish have been caught in the Rakaia River, and the odd one in the Waimakariri. There have also been some good reports from the Hurunui river. The Waimakariri is a long way off reaching its peak, so it is good to hear of the odd one at this stage. There will be salmon in the Rakaia up through the middle reaches by now, with more fish running on the back of the last fresh. Get that xmas shopping finished and head for the river I suggest.
Merry Xmas, and Tight Lines all,

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 10 Dec 2015

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. Once again this weekends weather is going to be dominated by strong North West winds as a front hits the west coast tomorrow.

All of the main salmon rivers will be fishable this weekend. The Rakaia and Waimakariri should have perfect colour for salmon fishing. It is possible that they will be dirty on Sunday from the rain that's going to fall on then main divide on Saturday. So tomorrow might be the day to chase a salmon. There have been salmon caught on all the alpine rivers recently.

Fish & Game staff have been busy releasing brown and rainbow trout into our high country lakes. This is part of an on going stocking programme to top up lakes which have limited spawning potential and high angling pressure.

While doing one of these releases we observed a green beetle hatch on one of the lakes. Around about 11am the surface of the water would start to get littered with hundreds of bright green manuka beetles. This was then followed by frantic rising of trout. Fly anglers should definitely try and take advantage of this phenomenon over the next week.

Although this weekend has winds that will be challenging for lake fishing there is generally somewhere on a lake that will be reasonable sheltered. The warm windy conditions will certainly encourage the beetle hatch, so if you can find somewhere where you can get a fly on the water you should be rewarded.

High country rivers are currently clear and fishable but this could change after Saturday. The rivers have been fishing well for fly anglers when conditions are suitable. The trout are now becoming responsive to well presented dry flies. Spin anglers will now need to target these fish either at the start or end of the day as the trout get harder to catch as the season progresses.
Tightlines.

Tony Hawker
Fish and Game Officer
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 4 Dec 2015

Unfortunately the Fish & Game hatchery at Isaacs suffered a major loss of catchable sized rainbow trout and salmon a few weeks ago. This means that we do not have sufficient stocks to hold the annual fishing day at Lake Lyndon, which was to be held this Saturday, the 6th of December and unfortunately this means the event has been cancelled. It was the extra release of hundreds of catchable fish that made this day a success.

On the salmon fishing front, things have been relatively quiet in the main rivers, with another fresh bringing the rivers down dirty. Before this recent fresh, I had heard of salmon caught as far up as Highbank in the Rakaia, along with a few in the lower Waimakariri, so there should be salmon throughout the rivers when conditions improve. Over the next few months, keen salmon anglers will be paying close attention to the ECan rain and flow sites, looking for the ideal window where flows and turbidity are optimum for salmon fishing. This window is often quite narrow and with many people busy leading up to Christmas, this proves difficult to be flexible around these small windows, however keen anglers recognize the great opportunity these prime times offer.

On the fishing front, most of our high country lakes continue to fish well, with good reports coming from Lake Coleridge where some good sized salmon are being caught. The coming weeks should see good brown and green beetle hatches, and provide great opportunity for fly anglers. Sea-run trout fishing has been slow but steady in the Waimakariri River around the bridges and as usual at this time of year, there also seems to be plenty of Kahawai around, which make a welcome by-catch for many anglers. Lowland streams are starting to warm up and reports are that the trout in the lower Selwyn have become difficult to catch. Lowland rivers such as the Styx and the South Branch of the Waimakariri River should however fish well until river levels drop off and the water warms.

Fish & Game have begun the inevitable task of fish salvages in the last week with the Cust and Ashley rivers no longer flowing and pools drying by the day. Please keep an eye out for drying rivers, as Fish & Game are able to relocate fish to more permanent waters but once flows drop off between pools, waters warm very quickly and oxygen levels drop off and the window of opportunity to salvage fish reduces very quickly.

Over the last few years Fish & Game have increased their stocking program for both salmon and trout in the high country lakes. In recent weeks and the weeks leading up to Christmas, Fish & Game have and will continue to release thousands of yearling Brown and Rainbow trout into many of the high country lakes and rivers in the region. A few thousand yearling salmon and Rainbow trout have also recently been transported to some of our neighbouring Fish & Game regions lakes and rivers, along with hundreds of catchable trout to various Take a Kid Fishing events around the South Island.

Notice of Annual General Meeting
When:  16 December 2015
Time:    6.30 pm
Where: Canterbury Horticultural Society Hall
             57 Riccarton Avenue
             Christchurch
For those that want a copy of the Annual Report when it becomes available, please email northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz with your name and address.

Anglers are reminded that Fish & Game produce a daily recorded phone message with river flows and likely fishing conditions of the main rivers throughout the fishing season. Please call (03) 366-2986 for this recorded message.

Good luck if you are heading out for a fish leading up to the busy festive season.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 30 Nov 2015

The weekends forecast is looking like a real shocker for snow fed river fishability. A heavy Nor West front is expected along the Westland ranges on Friday with some serious rainfalls spreading east of the divide. The main rivers are already running high due to rain earlier in the week so there will not be much hope of finding fishable water in our main catchments.

Strong North West winds are also going to be an issue for those hoping to fish the high country lakes. My advice would be to stick to the low country streams this weekend.

Good reports of nice sea run trout being caught are coming from the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers of late. Some very nice fish have been caught in the Waimak around the bridges on dusk. Trout are very good at sensing the movement of a lure even when the water is discoloured, but not dirty. A good way to be sure of fishability is to get familiar with the ECAN river flows website, and learn at what level or cumic reading the river is fishable at.

Lowland streams and rivers are dropping to critical low levels at present. It is imminent that Fish & Game staff will be carrying out trout salvage rescues within the next few weeks. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.
The best options for fly or spin anglers this weekend will be the lower reaches of all the North Canterbury low land streams.

The moon is full at the moment which will mean that the best streamer style lures to use are lighter coloured patterns in smaller sizes such as long shank 6# may work. There are some very impressive fish in these waterways but they are not easy, and that is why a 10 pound trout is regarded as a prized trophy.

Regulations
Anglers are reminded that the North Canterbury High Country rivers that flow into lakes in the Western Zone Lakes are closed until Tuesday 1st December. If in doubt consult your regulations book.

The Groynes Junior Fishery.

Please be aware that adults are only permitted to assist their children with fishing at the Groynes. That means that to help cast for the junior, and then leaving the retrieve, or waiting for a fish to take, to them is how it should be done. Rangers are frequent visitors to the lakes and have heard all the excuses.

A Monster from the Groynes.

Fish & Game released some wild card monster salmon that were donated to them by the Aoraki Salmon farm in mid October. They have proven hard to catch but here is proof that it can be done. Zack Davies caught this monster on pilchard bait; it weighed 18 pounds. Now that's a serious fish! There are still a few of these monsters in the ponds waiting to prey on some lucky unsuspecting juniors lure.


North Canterbury CSI weekly report
Any Salmon Around?

Yes! And they are not fishy stories. The Rakaia and Rangitata rivers have produced a few salmon over the past week. The local butcher at Burnham is a very avid salmon angler and he caught one 12 pound fish in great condition, and 3 others have been taken to him for smoking this week. They were all Rakaia fish.

The Waimakariri has also had at least a couple taken from it. The rivers may be a bit too dirty over the weekend but the surf would be worth keeping an eye on. So will the next fishable opportunity in the rivers as there may be a good run in the rivers.

Family Fishing Day at Lake Lyndon
Unfortunately Fish and Game have had to cancel the event planed for Sunday 6th. December due to a unforeseen water diversion creating a devastating loss of most salmon and trout stocks at our at Peacock Springs site. We will endeavor to get back on track for the following season.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 6 Nov 2015

This week's fishing report is rather brief, with many anglers waiting for the much anticipated opening of the High Country lakes tomorrow. The weather forecast looks ok for a change, with light a mild wind, increasing throughout the day, a welcome change from the standard gale force Nor-wester we often get on opening morning. The only fishing worth mentioning over the last week has been a few sea-run trout caught at the Rakaia and the odd one in the lower Waimakariri. We should expect to see this improve over the next month as they chase the abundant whitebait into the rivers. The Ellesmere tributaries have also been fishing well over the last week.

This coming weekend sees the opening of the High Country lakes on Saturday the 7th November, which will be celebrated again this year with a fishing competition at Lake Coleridge, with a prize pool valued at over $10,000 generously sponsored by Hunting & Fishing & Composite Developments. This competition is not only restricted to Lake Coleridge, it includes all of the Coleridge area Lakes, and it is free to enter.

The competition will be based at Ryton Bay, where there will be a Fish & Game tent and weigh station. Weigh-in is from 9am – 3pm, with the prize draw at 4pm. Please ensure you arrive at the weigh-in before 3pm to avoid missing out. A BBQ will be serving up sausages during the day.

An estimated 1,000 or more anglers fish the Lake Coleridge Lakes and the surrounding areas over opening weekend. Lake Coleridge is the most popular lake fishing spot in North Canterbury and this event is a great opportunity to promote to anglers and the public in general, the value placed on Lake Coleridge and the surrounding lakes, not only as a recreational resource for angling, but also a celebration of the "kiwi way of life".

The focus of the competition is participation and every angler who shows a licence is automatically in the spot prize draw. Anglers who present trout or salmon have a better chance, as there are prizes for the heaviest fish for each species, for both adults and juniors. We are expecting a successful opening day with recent spawning surveys in the Coleridge tributaries showing good numbers of Rainbow trout in great condition, many of which will be back in the lake by tomorrow. Indications are that there should also be plenty of salmon about this season, as last season there were many smaller salmon caught, and indications from the end of the winter season show that they have undergone a growth spurt recently!

North Canterbury Fish & Game have been stocking most of the Coleridge lakes for a number of years now and over the last twelve months, have released thousands of Chinook salmon and Rainbow trout into Lake Coleridge and the surrounding lakes. Lake Coleridge is the only lake in the region that is stocked with Chinook salmon and also one of the few lakes that you can catch salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout all in the one day.

The competition also welcomes anglers fishing any of the nearby smaller Coleridge lakes, such as Selfe and Georgina. A number of anglers will be camped overnight around the various lakes to make the most of first light, as the majority of fish likely to be caught in many of the high country lakes on opening day are usually taken at first and last light. The managers of Glenthorne Station have asked that we advise anglers of the following;

  • There is no access to any other part of Glenthorne Station.
  • No dogs are allowed in any area of Glenthorne Station – this includes Ryton Bay.
  • No fires are to be lit.
  • Camping is to be permitted for the weekends of the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th of November 2015. On Monday the 30th of November all the gates will be locked with any property left behind being removed.
    Any queries – anyone can contact the manager Chris Johns on - 03 318-5822 or email chris@glenthorne.co.nz.
  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 30 Oct 2015

The weekends forecast is looking mainly good inland and coastal. No major winds seem likely until Monday with yet another strong Nor West front approaching. To date the Nor West fronts have been reasonably kind as far as river conditions go. It seems as if the rivers are clearing to fishable within a couple of days of the rain. This makes for good sea run trout fishing! The river at the Rakaia Gorge was clearing to a fishable colour this morning and should provide anglers with trout opportunities in the lower reaches on the weekend.

Good reports of some nice sea run trout being caught are coming from the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers of late. White bait and smelt runs are encouraging the trout into the river deltas. A good way to be sure of fishability is to get familiar with the ECAN river flows website, and learn at what level or cumic reading the river is fishable at.

Lowland streams and rivers are dropping fast again this season. The time will come soon that we are salvaging trout from dewatered streams. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

The best options for fly or spin anglers this weekend will be the lower reaches of all the North Canterbury main catchments for sea run trout, and the mid or upper reaches for resident brown trout. Some very respectable fish are still there to be caught in the headwaters of our larger rivers.
For Anglers looking to stretch a fly line or spin fish in larger low country streams this weekend rivers such as the Ashley or the upper Selwyn. Don't forget about some of our Christchurch local streams. There is some great sport to be had in streams such as the Otukaikino, Styx, Silver Stream and the Cust main drain.

Regulations

Anglers are reminded that the North Canterbury high country lakes are closed until Saturday 7th November. The Central South Island region opens on Sunday 1st of November. Although the main fishing season is declared open from the 7th of November there are still a few places that do not open until the 1st of December. These are rivers or streams that flow into "tributaries" of Western Zone Lakes. If in doubt consult your regulations book.

The junior fishery at the Groynes has unfortunately attracted some adult anglers whom think it is ok to break the regulations and take fish from a junior fishery. Rangers have been out regularly and have confiscated a number of rods and reels to date.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes

There are still some good opportunities for juniors anglers under the age of 17 as of the 1st October for catching fish at the Groynes. The Groynes junior fishery ponds are a great place to teach your children how to cast and there is a very realistic chance that they may catch one.

Soft baits and bait fishing with shrimps or worms are favoured. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora.
Phone 03 313 5728

Any Salmon Around?

The only salmon stories I have heard to date are that there have been a unusually high number of salmon caught of the Kaikoura coast line. I hope that this indicates there are more salmon in the sea to date this year?

Family Fishing Day at Lake Lyndon

North Canterbury Fish and Game are inviting new to angling families to an educational fishing day at Lake Lyndon on Sunday the 6th of December. The social junior fishing event will finish at 12pm with the prize giving to follow at 12.30pm. This event is the next step for all of those junior anglers who have started learning to fish at the Groynes Lakes in Christchurch. This next step is all about the High Country fishing experience, and learning how to catch trout in their wild environment. Lake Lyndon is the closest high country lake to Christchurch with a travel time of around 1 hours drive from the city.

Lake Lyndon is regarded by many North Canterbury anglers as a favorite place to fish and provides some great rainbow trout angling. The lake regulations also allow fishing from boats ie, trolling and bait fishing for "junior anglers only" is also permitted. On the day many local fishing clubs, volunteers and Fish and Game staff will be available to help out with techniques, and advise to help junior anglers learn about the secrets to becoming a successful angler. Nice sized rainbow trout will also be released into the lake on the day for the event. Some of them will have lucky tags in them, and if caught by a junior angler they will receive a special prize. More details of this event will be published weekly in this report.
  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 23 Oct 2015

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. The weather this weekend looks to be dominated by South West winds, but there still looks to be some calm periods especially in the mornings of Saturday and Sunday.

The alpine rivers will still have some colour in them from the rain around the main divide mid week. Fishing for sea run trout in the lower reaches is still a good option. Haven't heard of any reports of salmon being caught yet but the first one of the season can't be far away.

The headwaters and back country rivers will be running high but may just start to clear for the weekend. The full flows will be ideal for spin fishing using rapalas or tobys. Fly anglers will need to use well weight nymphs to get down to the fish in these bigger flows. I haven't seen much evidence of dry fly action yet.
Foot hill and lowland streams will be low and clear this weekend. There are plenty or trout around in the Lake Ellesmere tributaries as well. Night time fishing using streamer lures as been popular once again in the Selwyn this season.

For junior anglers the Groynes still has salmon left over in the ponds from the Take a Kid Fishing event. Adults please remember this is a junior only fishery. You are welcome to help your child cast if they can't do so themselves but the children need to be retrieving the lure or holding the rod.

A significant event on the North Canterbury fishing calendar is the high county opening on the first Saturday of November (7th). This is the opening for many of the high country lakes and rainbow dominated rivers such as Broken River. Please note that the Harper/Avoca and Ryton Rivers do not open until the 1st of December.

Fish & Game will be holding the annual fishing competition once again this year at Ryton Bay, Lake Coleridge. There is a total prize pool of $10,000 generously sponsored by Hunting and Fishing. Weigh in is from 9am to 3pm with prize giving at 4pm. Fish must be caught in Lake Coleridge or the other Coleridge Lakes. There are plenty of spot prizes even if you don't catch a fish. Entry is free and so are the sausages!

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 16 Oct 2015

Prospects for North Canterbury anglers look mixed this weekend. The main rivers in the region saw their first decent fresh for the spring this week and are still discoloured. With strong winds forecast for the alps and headwaters of the larger rivers this weekend, these rivers are likely to rise and remain discoloured and unfishable well into next week.

There are a few sea-run trout being caught in the lower Waimakariri including McIntosh's Rocks, and this should improve right up until Christmas as the trout follow whitebait and soon the silveries into the river. Kahawai are present in abundance once again this year, so salmon anglers should be gearing up for the season, as it won't be long before we hear a report of the first salmon caught for the season, more likely in the traditionally early Rangitata and Rakaia rivers. If you haven't already done so this season, now would be a great time to check over your gear and get your reels serviced, replace your line and any rusty trebles etc.

Most low country rivers should have good numbers of trout throughout them at present, especially in the lower reaches as they chase the whitebait that have shown up in abundance in many rivers this season. Leading up to Christmas, anglers should make the most of any drop in river flows before the next Nor-west fresh arrives. Other lowland rivers such as the Styx and the Otukaikino, or South Branch of the Waimakariri River should also be fishing well early in the season following the rest they have had from anglers over the winter.

I have heard good reports from the lower Selwyn with some top condition trout taken. Although open year round, an area that would be worth a look this weekend is the lower and mid reaches of the Ashley River, as it has not has any significant easterly or southerly rain since June. It is not usually affected by Nor-west rain in the alps and will be fishable despite the wind and rain that is forecast this weekend.

A reminder to parents that the annual Take a Kid Fishing day is on this Sunday, the 18th of October at the Groynes Fishing Lakes. The Isaac Wildlife Trust have donated around 800 salmon for this event. Bring all the family and enjoy a fun kids fishing day. It's free for all children, including the fishing licence for the day.

Planning ahead, the opening of the high country lakes is only three weeks away, on Saturday the 7th November, which will be celebrated again this year with a fishing competition at Lake Coleridge, with a prize pool valued at over $10,000 generously sponsored by Christchurch City Hunting & Fishing.

While out fishing this season, anglers are our eyes and ears in the field and are encouraged to report incidences of any illegal activity they may see while fishing, and taking note of vehicle registration numbers would be helpful. Rangers will be increasing their activity over the coming season, so a friendly reminder also to please carry your licence on you at all times when fishing, as this will avoid any lengthy walk back to your vehicle, or the unnecessary paperwork associated with issuing infringement notices for not carrying your licence, with the worst case scenario the confiscation of fishing equipment! Please check the regulation guide before venturing to new areas to fish this season, as there have been the odd regulation changes this year.

Help Required:

ECan are currently working on a project to collect information on native freshwater crayfish and mussels in the region. These are threatened species and ECan know very little about their distribution. They are keen to have records of both live and dead observations, current or historical. Please click on the link below to an online survey if you are prepared to share your knowledge, thanks.
To the survey.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 2 Oct 2015

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. Opening day this year was once again characterised by north westerly winds. This weekend looks to be trending the same way.
All of the rivers will be clear and fishable this weekend due to some stable weather over the last month. The Ashley has had a recent fresh but should be fishable by the weekend, although the flow will be high enough that it will be difficult to wade.

Lake Ellesmere is currently open to the sea, so its tributaries will be worth a look. Unfortunately the lower Selwyn is looking very weedy this year due to the lack of winter floods. Last year many fish could be seen over the clean gravels. This year the dark weed on the bottom makes it very hard to spot fish even when the water is clear. This won't affect night anglers so much but daytime anglers may struggle this year. There doesn't seem to be as many bullies around without clean gravels, so this could mean that trout numbers will be down as well.

I visited other lowland and foothill streams on opening day and did see good numbers of well conditioned fish. Most of the streams were covered in thick algae which made spotting fish quite difficult but it was pleasing to see that most of the promising fishy looking water did indeed contain a trout or two. None of the fish that I saw responded to dry flies but they did readily take a well placed nymph.

Backcountry rivers should be low and clear this weekend as long as the current rain on the West Coast does not spill over. I am anticipating good backcountry fishing this year based on last years numbers of fish and the lack of floods over the winter. The main problem this weekend will be the wind.

The best fishing conditions will probably be on lowland streams for fly anglers while spin fisherman should target the lower and mid reaches of the main alpine rivers. They are all exceptionally low for this time of year meaning access will be quite easy. Especially on rivers like the Waiau and Hurunui.
Its too early to talk about salmon yet but the river mouths will be worth a look for sea run fish. Especially after the first fresh of the season

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 22 April 2015

Tony Hawker, Fish & Game Officer

As the salmon season draws to an end, there are mixed reports around how the season fared ranging from "one of the best for many years" to "one of the worst they have had". Most anglers have packed their fishing gear away until next season, however there are still a few salmon in the mid reaches of the main rivers, more so the Waimakariri, and one or two spots still worth a look this late in the season.

Remaining salmon will be waiting for the next fresh to head up to their spawning grounds.
Staff carried out the annual aerial salmon count in the headwaters of the Rakaia this week, and were pleasantly surprised with the numbers observed, with over 1,200 spawning salmon counted. The peak of the run appears to have been a week or so earlier than usual this year and many of these salmon likely entered the river pre-Christmas, when there were less anglers on the river targeting salmon.

Fishing in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Gorges has been yielding a few salmon for keen anglers in recent weeks, although these two gorges are really only accessible by jet boat and the salmon at the tail end of the run are becoming increasingly harder to catch as the season comes to an end. Please remember that fishing for both trout and salmon is now closed in the Western Zone of the Rakaia, with Waimakariri anglers having until the end of April to fish for trout in the western zone.

Anglers wishing to head into the high country might like to try Lake Coleridge, as salmon are starting to think about spawning and are often caught either near the mouth of the Ryton River or trolling around Ryton Bay. Anglers only have until the end of April to take advantage of this as the lake closes for spawning in May.

Over the last few months, staff and volunteers have carried a number of drift dives in the region to monitor both trout numbers but also the habitat they live in to ensure these back country fisheries remain sustainable. These have included the Boyle River, two sites below Lake Sumner in the Hurunui River, the Hope River and the Waiau River below the Ada River confluence. All sites showed an increase in numbers of trout from previous seasons, with many of the trout a trophy size due to the mouse plague this year. Hopefully some of you had a chance to fish for some of these fish as we are unlikely to see conditions as favourable for some years now.

Fish & Game released 30 large salmon into the Groynes yesterday in time for ANZAC weekend, some weighing over 5kg, and young anglers might need to increase thee drag on their reels a bit if they hook one of these!

Fish & Game continue to advocate for anglers around sustainable use of water in our rivers, from big projects to the smaller issues where the accumulative effects are important. Anglers and hunters are the eyes and ears of our organisation. Should you see anything, no matter how minor it may appear, please contact North Canterbury Fish & Game on 0800 FISHANDGAME (0800 347426)

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 10 April 2015

Tony Hawker, Fish & Game Officer

Well, it is definitely getting colder at night and that means that the fishing season is drawing to a close. There is still some good fishing to be had though, especially on the salmon front.

All of the salmon rivers have had a reasonable fresh this week but should be fishable by tomorrow. This has certainly got some salmon moving in the rivers. The Waimakariri should fish well in the lower reaches, while up river is probably the place to be on the other salmon rivers.

For those anglers targeting the high country, Saturday is definitely the better day. Sunday's forecast is heavy rain about the divide and gale force north westerlies. If Saturday produces some sun there should still be some good fishing on high country lakes. There should still be plenty of surface insects around and the lake temperatures should be nice and cool.

For those targeting back country rivers the recent fresh will help make the angling more productive with trout coming on the feed again once waters recede. April is a good month for backcountry fishing as the trout are more responsive now than during the hot summer months. There is also a build up of fish from now as trout move upstream to spawn.

Lowland rivers are still in a sorry state despite the region looking a lot greener from recent rains. The currently dry lowland streams will probably not recover until the groundwater aquifers are full again which will take significant amounts of rain. The lower Ashley is still in a precarious state and not worth visiting. The Selwyn near chamberlains is also very low. I have noticed good numbers of trout in other lowland streams that are not dry this year. So find a local stream with a reasonable flow and check it out. You might be surprised.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 26 March 2015

Dirk Barr, Fish & Game Officer

This weekends weather is looking quite good for low land anglers but not so flash for headwater anglers. Strong Nor'West winds reaching gale force are forecast for Saturday and Sunday in the Canterbury headwaters with moderate rain expected in the foot hills. Heavy falls may occur in the main divide which may affect river levels. Rising river levels should not effect the lower reaches until later Sunday but be aware all the same. The lowland weather should be fine throughout the weekend with a possible southerly change late Sunday afternoon.

At the time of writing ( Thursday 9pm ) the Waimakariri is flowing at 47 cumics at Otamara and the Rakaia is at 118 at the Gorge. The Rakaia river is fluctuating down as low as 82 cumics when the Coleridge power generation water is being taken over night. This often means the river is at its lowest level in the morning. and It is always a good idea to check the ECan web site for river flow and rain fall information, and also the Met Service for weather forecasts prior to planning a days fishing.

The Waimakariri, Hurunui, Waiau and Rakaia rivers should all have salmon entering them now. All of these places are well worth fishing this weekend. The best options for a salmon will be in the lower reaches especially if the rivers are on the rise in the headwaters. Salmon are nearing spawn time now and the time will come soon that they will make their run regardless of river conditions. Some encouraging numbers are now evident in the lower reaches of the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers. Upstream anglers are finding the fishing very hard with the few fish that are upstream being very lure shy in the gin clear water. There is often only a small window of opportunity to get a take out of one at first light, the anglers chances diminishing severely as the dawn brightens.

For anglers looking to stretch a fly line or spin fish in larger low country streams this weekend rivers such as the upper Ashley or the upper Selwyn still offer some good sport. High country options will be affected by the Nor West wind. Lake fishing maybe the only viable option. Very large trout are still being caught in the upper Waiau/Hope/Boyle/and Hurunui rivers. Reports of 16 pound trout being caught and released by anglers really gets you thinking how privileged we really are in North Canterbury! I talked to an angler whom had landed one of these beautiful 16 pound fish last week. We agreed that this is not something that happens very often and it may be years before we see fish like these again. Make the most of it!

Fish & Game
As reported last week staff are finishing of the last of the drift dive sites this month. Some very impressive numbers and specimens have been seen. I will never forget the experience of being eye to eye with a brown trout that I estimated at weighing over 18 pounds in the Hope River last week. We are truly blessed in North Canterbury.

Staff are mainly focused on gearing up for spawn counts and getting ready for the salmon to enter the traps. There does not seem to be a lot of salmon in the rivers of late but they may be going to make a late run when the rivers rise. This is always a nervous time for hatchery staff looking to secure ova for the salmon enhancement program. To date no fish have entered the trap at Montrose and only 1 has turned up at Silver Stream. Last seasons salmon smolt are doing well and are due for release in July. Some small releases have occurred in the Rakaia due to low oxygen levels. Montrose is currently carrying the Silver Stream release stock of 30.000 smolt due to be transferred for imprinting next week. Whiskey Creek stocks of 30.000 are also awaiting transfer. The Otukaikino release of 30.000 is already on site at Peacock Springs awaiting release. Half of the Montrose stock is still awaiting fin clipping. We are looking forward to having our team of trusty volunteers on board to complete this task on the 18th of April. Despite no salmon in the traps yet stripping of ova will start around the 20th of April, stocks will be stripped every 3 days throughout Autumn at Montrose and Silver Stream. The month of April is an exceptionally busy one as the Gamebird season is also near.

Junior fishery at the Groynes

Significant releases at the Groynes ponds are now taking place on a weekly basis. Recent releases have been from salmon donated by Aoraki Smoke House Salmon, and The NZ Salmon Smolt Company. These have been combined with salmon grown by Fish and Game especially for the junior anglers of North Canterbury. Some of the salmon donated are very nice fish weighing around 10 to 12 pounds. Fish and Game are very thankful for these generous donation to our junior fishery and I am sure there will be some exstatic young anglers as a result. Fish and Game plan to release hundreds more salmon at the Groynes over the next 2 months with a major release planed for Easter. Soft baits and bait fishing with worms should work well. Remember the Groynes ponds are strictly reserved as Junior Fishery. Adult licence holders may not fish there under any circumstances.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 20 March 2015

With river flows again low and clear, there has been only limited angling success in the region over the last week and as such, reports of success are slim. Salmon fishing has gone reasonably quiet, however we are in the traditional peak of the Waimakariri salmon run, and there have been reports of a few being caught in the mid reaches of the Waimakariri River above the pylons and the mid reaches of the other salmon rivers, between the SH1 and Gorge Bridges.

The lower Rakaia where the river reaches the lagoon has also seen a few caught recently. Fishing in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Gorges has been yielding a few salmon for keen anglers in recent weeks, although these two gorges are really only accessible by jet boat and the salmon are becoming increasingly harder to catch.

The Waimakariri Salmon Fishing Competition is on tomorrow, with the weigh station open from 7am until 4pm at Kairaki Beach. This event is organised by the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association and details of entry are in the official booklets which are available at most Christchurch tackle stores.

The fishing area for this event is between the mouth and SH1.

Following this event, will be the annual Waimakariri River Rangers Competition, be held on Monday 23rd March. All anglers are welcome to take part in this social event. The fishing area is from the north side of the mouth up to the Yacht Club. There is no entry fee, some great prizes and Fish & Game will have a BBQ on from 11am.

On Wednesday this week, Fish & Game staff drift dived the upper Hope River and were pleasantly rewarded with one of the best dives we have ever had. In a 2km stretch we counted 25 trophy brown trout, the majority of which were around the 6 to 7 kg mark, with a couple over 8kg. These trout have obviously been making the most of the Beech tree seeding year and mice were visible throughout the day in high numbers. For those anglers wanting to catch and release a "fish of a lifetime”, this is the year to do so. Fish & Game are monitoring trophy rivers such as this, to ensure all anglers get the chance to fish for trophy trout without the risk of over harvest, with any fish exceeding 400mm in length required to be released.

Salmon fishing in the Groynes fishing lakes continues to be a success, especially the one closest to the Clearwater golf course, with another 40 good sized salmon released there yesterday.

Good luck if you are heading out for a fish this weekend.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 13 March 2015

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. Despite the impending cyclone that may hit NZ on Sunday night, the weather in Canterbury this weekend looks to be quite reasonable. There is a southerly coming through tonight which is clearing tomorrow morning.

All of the salmon rivers will be fishable this weekend. In fact the levels look to be dropping quite fast so they will probably be low and clear by Sunday. The Waiau in particular is dropping quickly. Salmon have been reported moving upstream in the Waimakariri. Chances are salmon will be moving through the other rivers as well as it was the first decent fresh we have had in a while. The southerly tonight will keep conditions ideal for salmon fishing tomorrow morning.

Low land streams have also dropped right down again but did get some relief from the rain last weekend. The Ashley did connect this week but it looks like it may go dry again in the lower reaches. The Selwyn is still very low.

The back county looks like a good option this weekend with very little wind forecast. Back country rivers have been fishing superbly but hey have been suffering from a lot of angling pressure. The recent fresh would have helped with that somewhat. Big artificial dry flies usually work pretty well at this time of year. Spin anglers should target big pools at night as some of the larger fish are inactive during the middle of the day. There have been some monster trout caught this year up to 16lbs in some of our back country rivers.

The Groynes will be fishing well as we recently released some good sized salmon into the lakes. Remember this is a junior fishery only and is a good chance for kids to get into fishing. The salmon are responding well to either bait or spinners.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 6 March 2015

This weekends weather is looking quite formidable in the high country with prospects of substantial rain and in the headwaters of our major rivers. 70mm to 150mm is forecast to fall from midnight Thursday until midnight Friday and that is not the end of it. More rain of lesser amounts will continue Saturday. This weather system will almost definitely give our salmon rivers a much needed fresh.

The down side is that angling options will be very limited this weekend. The up side is that the salmon will be encouraged to make their home run and this fresh may well provide the main salmon run of the season, if they are out there that is.

There may also be a bit of rain along the East coast however dull conditions may be in your favour for salmon fishing. At the time of writing ( Thursday 9pm ) the Waimakariri is flowing at 50 cumics at Otamara and the Rakaia is at 147 at the Gorge. It is always a good idea to check the ECan web site for river flow and rain fall information, and also the Met Service for weather forecasts prior to planning a days fishing. There is nothing worse than getting all geared up and arriving at your destination only to be disappointed by the conditions. This will be a wise move this weekend as there will be overnight changes to conditions.

During my last report I wrote that fish salvages in our smaller low land streams have almost come to an end now mainly because there is just no more water! However it seems I was very wrong. Fish and Game are getting reports of stranded trout in places that we have never seen before. Some of our safe haven release sites are now under threat and it makes you wonder how bad can this get. They Ashley is now disconnected below the State Highway, and the Selwyn is now disconnected at Chamberlains Ford. All we can do is hope for rain in the lowland as soon as possible. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

The Waimakariri, Hurunui, Waiau and Rakaia rivers should all have salmon entering them now. All of these places are well worth fishing this weekend. Surf conditions may be favourable with the North West providing calm conditions. The best options for a salmon will be in the lower reaches especially if the rivers are on the rise in the headwaters.

I estimate that the only fishable conditions for salmon this weekend will be Friday night, possibly Saturday morning in the Rakaia lower reaches, and possibly a little longer in the Waimakariri lower reaches. I also strongly advise that anglers check those river flows and forecasts and be very observant if you intend walking or driving out onto the river bed this weekend. Salmon fever is high out there at the moment, but do not let it over ride your safety decisions regarding rising river levels.

For Anglers looking to stretch a fly line or spin fish in larger low country streams this weekend rivers such as the upper Ashley or the upper Selwyn are the best bet. High country options will be very limited. Lake fishing maybe the only viable option. Very large trout are still being caught in the upper Waiau/Hope/Boyle/and Hurunui rivers. Reports of 16 pound trout being caught and released by anglers really gets you thinking how privileged we really are in North Canterbury! These big browns are difficult to catch, and will certainly test your skills, but even if they beat you or just wont take, just to see one makes for an unforgettable angling experience.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes

There has been a significant release at the Groynes ponds last weekend. The salmon released were donated by Aoraki Smoke House Salmon and some of them are very nice looking fish weighing around 10 pounds. Fish and Game are very thankful for this generous donation to our junior fishery and I am sure there will be some exstatic young anglers as a result. Fish and Game plan to release hundreds more salmon at the Groynes over the next 2 months. Soft baits and bait fishing with worms should work well. Remember the Groynes ponds are strictly reserved as Junior Fishery. Adult licence holders may not fish there under any circumstances.

Notice to Anglers

The annual Rangers Competition is to be held at the Waimakariri River, Kairaki Beach only, on Monday the 9th March at 8.30am – 2pm. This is not a rangers only competition, all anglers are invited. There are great prizes and a barbeque on the beach provided by Fish and Game. This has been a great social event over the years and we look forward to seeing many of you there. If the river proves unfishable on the day the postponement date is Monday 23rd March.
Tight Lines for the weekend!

 North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 27 Feb 2015

Over the last few weeks there has been no significant rainfall in the alps to bring the rivers down in a fresh and the main salmon rivers are now very low and clear. This is likely to remain the same well into the foreseeable future, with no significant rain on the long range forecast. Salmon fishing has gone quiet again with reports of only the odd salmon caught each day from the main rivers.

We still hope to see reasonable numbers of salmon show up in all the rivers sometime over the next month, with the Waimakariri generally fishing well in the later half of the season. While the rivers are low and clear we expect to see salmon numbers build up around the mouths and tidal reaches, with salmon coming into the gut and lagoon areas at high tide and retreating back to the ocean as the tide recedes. This can result in some great fishing in these areas and with the Rakaia Fishing Competition on this weekend, prime spots in these lower reaches are likely to be well contested! Anglers wanting to target salmon upriver would be best to be on the water at first light and use light tackle as there will be little activity throughout the day.

Anglers in the Rakaia competition please remember, there is no salmon fishing in the Western Zone of our rivers above the white posts and there are to be no salmon taken between 10pm and 5am. For those anglers not involved in the competition, please exercise tolerance to the increased numbers of anglers out on the river. Please be generous with your allowances of minor fishing etiquette infractions that are bound to occur from time to time with high numbers of anglers on the river.

I have heard very little from trout anglers, but the high country lakes would be anglers best bet, with river fishing going quiet and as usual first and last light are your best bet.

Fish and Game have been releasing salmon regularly into the Groynes Fishing Lakes in recent weeks and will be releasing another 350 on Sunday, which will provide good fishing for junior anglers over the next week. As usual, early morning and evenings are also the best times to target these fish.

 North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 20 Feb 2015

Let's hope we see plenty more in the coming weeks as the rivers are all very low and in desperate need of a sustained period of rain, but I suppose February and March aren't known for their rainfall.
Despite the continuing warm summer, the water temperature appears to have dropped over the last few weeks and the salmon have begun turning up in better numbers this week, especially in the Waimakariri and Hurunui rivers, and the Rakaia continues to offer the salmon anglers good opportunities to hook up too.

The water in the Waimakariri all the way up to the Banana Hole was bubbling with Kahawai late throughout the week, offering the keen angler a further thrill, and I must say I have seen a definite increase in the numbers of fishermen out on the waterways this week.

As is usual for this time of the year we are receiving calls regarding the lack of etiquette from rowers, jet boaters and anglers alike on the lower Waimakariri. We must all share the water during these high use periods, and on behalf of F&G I would ask that you all exercise a little more patience over the coming weeks. I realise it can be very frustrating, especially if you feel you are in the right and we are proposing a meeting with representation from all user groups in the coming week to ensure everyone's safety.

If its trout fishing you are after, the back country is the place to head, and "mice fishing" is what you should be targeting.

Any high country waterway surrounded or close to beech forest would be well worth a look. We have been hearing stories of some big brownies being landed…rumour has it that one well respected angler landed a 16lb whopper, and similar stories of great condition big fish from areas around Lake Sumner have been reported too. Those in the know tell me that perseverance, along with a "technically" good cast has also been suggested, as you may have to put in some serious effort to catch one of these trophies.

A couple of upcoming dates: Contact the NC F&G office for details 03 3135728.

The Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition 27/28 February/1 March 2015.

The Rangers Salmon Fishing Competition (Waimakariri River) Monday 9th March 2015.

The NZ Salmon Anglers Waimakariri Fishing Competition 21 March.

See all events
North Canterbury CSI weekly report
Anglers turn up in numbers on the lower Waimakariri. G.Hughes

 North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 13 Feb 2015

Dirk Barr, Fish & Game Officer

This weekends weather is looking good as far as river conditions go. There may be a bit of rain along the east coast however dull and cool conditions may favour those of you whom like to chase salmon. Mean river flows of our main braided rivers have been gradually dropping over the past 2 weeks and it wont be long before clear flows reflect the true lack of water in them. March and April are typically the lowest river flow months of the year. With that in mind anglers should take advantage of present conditions while they are good. At the time of writing ( Thursday 9pm ) the Waimakariri is flowing at 38cms at the old Highway Bridge and the Rakaia is at 123 at the Gorge. It is always a good idea to check the ECan web site for river flow and rain fall information, and also the Met Service for weather forecasts prior to planning a days fishing. There is nothing worse than getting all geared up and arriving at your destination only to be disappointed by the conditions.

Fish salvages in our smaller low land streams have almost come to an end now mainly because there is just no more water! However some catchments are still receding upstream and there will be some places to keep an eye on. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

The Waimakariri, Hurunui, Waiau and Rakaia rivers should all have salmon entering them now. All of these places are well worth fishing this weekend. Conditions in the surf may not be suitable with a southerly change due Friday but take the long rod in case. The best options for a salmon will be in the lower reaches especially if the weather cools down with the southerly change. River temperatures have a huge effect on salmon activity. The Rakaia for example over the past 3 weeks has been warming up to 24 degrees in the heat of the day. Salmon will be in survival mode in these conditions and very unlikely to take.


For anglers looking to stretch a fly line or spin fish in larger low country streams this weekend rivers such as the upper Ashley or the upper Selwyn are the best bet. Coleridge tributaries may also be worth a look with cicadas starting to show on the hot inland days of the last week. For those of you heading for the high country conditions may well be good. There has been some great dry fly action on our high country lakes (Rakaia high country lakes and Waimakariri high country lakes) of late with some very nice trout being caught. I managed to get out for a fish with a dry fly and nymph on Lake Evelyn last week, a nice conditioned rainbow rose to the fly, which was followed by a brown on the nymph. I thought of how lucky we are to have such quality angling opportunities like that in our back yard, and less than an hours drive away.


Junior Fishery at the Groynes

There have been two releases at the Groynes ponds during the past 10 days. The salmon are not huge but they will provide some great action for young anglers. Fish and Game plan to release hundreds of salmon at the Groynes over the next 2 months. Soft baits and bait fishing with worms should work well. Remember a fishing licence is required for all.

Tight lines for the weekend!

 North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report: 5 Feb 2015

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. The high temperatures and fine days have meant some amazing days for camping and boating but it has made fishing conditions tough. This weekend looks as if it might be dominant by South Westerlies with some rain for the main divide tomorrow and than fine everywhere for Saturday and Sunday.

The Rakaia is currently running dirty after some heavy rain in the headwaters. It looks like it may take a few days to clear and might be marginal for salmon fishing by Sunday or early next week. This was a much needed fresh to keep the water temperature down. Salmon are throughout the river so anglers should be ready as soon as the river becomes fishable. The other salmon rivers were not affected so much by the rain and should still be fishable this weekend.

Lowland rivers continue to get lower due to the lack of rainfall. The lower Ellesmere tributaries still have plenty of large fish in them but it is almost impossible to catch them during the day. Either target them on cloudy cold days or at night for best results.
High country lakes have also been challenging lately due to higher water temperatures. Rainbow trout will tend to go deep at this time of year and will be harder to catch with trolling methods. First light in the morning is definitely the way to go.

Brown trout are still cruising lake edges and can be caught on a dry if the weather is calm enough. Remember that February is the best month for using cicada imitations in the back country. Presentation is not an issue when using cicadas, just slap them on the water and brace yourself for some savage takes.

Backcountry rivers have been tough lately due to good weather and flows increasing the angling pressure. The recent fresh in the backcountry should help with this as trout come on the feed after the river clears. It maybe a little windy in the highcountry this weekend though due to the South Westerlies.

Fish & Game has stocked the Groynes today with around 120 salmon, so this would be an ideal weekend to take the kids fishing there. Remember this is a junior fishery only.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 30 Jan 2015

Well another week of no or very little rain across the region is coming to an end, but it does look like we will get something from the 'rain gods' this weekend. I for one will be hoping it will be enough to give the salmon rivers a fresh and hopefully bring on the run proper.
Saying that, fish are turning up in the big rivers, and the Rakaia looks the place to target, with good numbers of fish being caught most days. The Waimakariri has been quieter this week, but I have seen a photo of the 21lber caught last weekend, and believe one or two each day are being taken from the popular spots – Mackies, the Banana Hole, and down the mouth.

And at least those fishing at the mouth of the Waimakariri have been having some fun, hooking up on the abundance of Kahawai around at the moment.

I often get asked what has been 'working' on the salmon, referring to what gear is proving most successful. And it always makes me laugh when I see an angler land a fish after a good fight and people come running over, not to congratulate the angler, but to see what colour zed spinner or what brand of lure the angler hooked up with.

Personally, I believe given the nature of the salmon, it doesn't really matter what colour or shape you cast into the water, as salmon are an aggressive fish by nature and will probably attack anything, providing you are lucky enough to have your set up pass in front of their nose.

Though for those of you who have asked, a white 24gram zed spinner with a strip of green tape is what I caught my one and only fish this season on. Others I have seen include the old silver zed spinner, white salamanders and a green and white zed spinner. I swung past Hamills this morning and asked what was hot; see the attached picture of Bruce holding up a selection of what's currently racing out the door.

Fish & Game staff have again had the electric fishing machine and the portable fish tanker out on local river beds, extracting fish from diminishing pools and relocating them to waterways with more stable flows. And to answer another question I have been asked several times of late, we are making every effort to not over populate any stretch of water, or put existing resident fish under stress, by releasing too many fish into small stretches of river or side stream.

If you are interested in chasing trout higher up the river systems, or in the high country lakes, then it could be a great time to bring out the cicada patterns or even the willow grub, if you are targeting a waterway surrounded by willow trees.

These warm days will however mean your best chances could very well be limited to the early morning or evening, as the fish will remain deeper in the cooler water during the hotter hours.

We are still receiving reports of big trout being landed in those areas of the region which are surrounded by beech forest, and have been subject of the mouse plague. One experienced angler told me he put the same fly in front of one big brownie about 50 times and it wasn't interested, and then on the 51st cast… BOOM! So perseverance and presentation look to be the key if you are targeting these trophies.

So let's hope we see some rain soon, for fish and the fishermen's sake.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 23 Jan 2015

Over the last few weeks there have been a few small freshes in the main salmon fishing rivers which has kept these rivers largely unfishable. These rivers are now in great condition and we expect to hear of some great fishing over the weekend and into next week, before the next fresh inevitably arrives. Before the last fresh, we were starting to see a few salmon landed in all reaches of the main salmon fishing rivers, and there will be salmon throughout these rivers on the tail of these recent freshes. The salmon rivers are also a good colour for sea-run trout fishing in the lower reaches this weekend, which usually produces best results late evening and into the night.

The weather looks great for fishing the high country this weekend, so make the most of the light winds and clear skies, with lake and headwater stream conditions ideal at present. Being relatively handy to Christchurch at around an hours' drive west, Lake Lyndon is getting plenty of angler attention and good numbers of rainbow trout are still being caught following the release of hundreds of catchable Rainbow trout into the lake in early December. The other lakes in the upper Waimakariri catchment such as Pearson and Grassmere would also be worth a fish using either green or brown beetle imitation in the evenings. Lake Coleridge should also still be producing land-locked salmon for trolling anglers, especially early morning along the margins.

Fish & Game released another 100 salmon into the Groynes Fishing Lakes this week, and remember this is for junior anglers only, as rangers have found a number of adults fishing these lakes illegally this season.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 16 Jan 2015

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. I hope you all had a good xmas break and managed to do some fishing. Some of you like me will be taking your break next week. Luckily the weather looks like it is going to be quite good next week. This weekend however is going to be dominated by NW winds and rain in the main divide.
All of the main salmon rivers are at fishable flows at the moment but the Rakaia might be dirty by Saturday if rain falls in the headwaters today.

The Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau may follow suit later in the weekend. Both the Rakaia and Waimakariri are producing salmon at the moment. Just be aware that water temperature are high at the middle of the day at the moment and fish are very unlikely to take in these conditions, so early morning is best before the water heats up.

High country lakes will be unpleasant with the wind this weekend but the weather looks good for lake fishing next week. The lakes have been difficult to fish lately as the fish have gone deep due to higher water temperatures. The Coleridge lakes have been particularly quiet. If you are having no luck at Coleridge, remember you can troll at Lake Lyndon. This is now a very well stocked lake. It also doesn't get as rough as Coleridge so is ideal for the smaller craft.

Lowland streams are now getting very hard to fish with low water levels and high water temperatures. The Ashley even in the gorge has seen midday water temperatures of 22oC. It will be a waste of time fishing in these conditions as trout just go into survival mode once the water temperature gets past 20oC.

Backcountry rivers are ideal at the moment with low clear conditions and cooler water temperatures. The fishing is starting to get tough though with angling pressure being higher during the holiday season. A fresh this weekend though will produce ideal backcountry conditions next week as trout will come on the feed more once the waters recede.

There have been reports from anglers that there is not only bigger fish this year in the back country but far more numbers of fish as well. This was confirmed yesterday when Fish & Game staff undertook a drift dive in the Boyle River and counted 64 large trout over a 2.6km dive. This is about four times the number that we usually see in this river. However, a lot of these fish were very well fed and some looked to be quite dormant digesting their evening meal of mice.

My advice for fly anglers is to just keep moving. If you are chucking your whole fly box at an unresponsive fish, it is a better use of you time to just move on to the next one, as there are plenty of fish in the rivers this year and you are bound to find one that is feeding actively.

Spin anglers are best to wait until the evening and fish some of the larger pools. Large numbers of fish were congregating in some of the larger pools. Some of these might have a snap at a spinner as the light is fading.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 9 Jan 2015

The main salmon rivers are in great condition for fishing this weekend, for the first time in weeks. These conditions are likely to remain the same well into next week, with no significant rain forecast in the alps, and anglers keen should make the most of this as reports indicate the rivers have salmon throughout them now and they are in better condition and on average larger than they have been for a few years.

Unfortunately the lack of rain in the alps is much worse for lowland streams for some time now, and Fish & Game staff have been busy salvaging fish from many streams over the festive season.

We expect to see reasonable numbers of salmon show up in all the rivers over the next month, with the Waimakariri generally fishing well in the later half of the season, a few weeks behind the other salmon rivers. Anglers wanting to target salmon upriver would be best to be on the water at first and last light.

On the trout fishing scene, the high country lakes are continuing to fish well with warmer weather encouraging insect activity and a good option for anglers wishing to venture out this weekend, would be Lake Pearson or Grassmere, around the vegetative margins with a large dry fly or small veltic spinner using a light trace. Fishing seems to have gone quiet at Lake Coleridge and best action has been seen at first and last light as usual, and in close to the shore.

Please note; we are receiving numerous reports of adults fishing in the junior only lakes at the Groynes, and while it is OK for adults to assist children with casting or retrieving, it is expected that children have the ability to retrieve baits and hopefully any salmon that are hooked. If children venture off, please refrain from fishing until they return, as adults fishing until they have hooked a fish with the intention to then give the rod to a child is not legal, and rangers are continuing to find adults unlawfully fishing here!

Good luck if you are heading out for a fish this weekend.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 24 Dec 2014

Due to the xmas break this report is only a few days after the last one. The next report will be due this time next week. The weekends forecast is looking like a strong North West pattern at this stage, (7am Wednesday 24th). Although rain in the main divide is a strong possibility over the weekend, there are still possibilities of fishable water early in the weekend at least. At present our main snow fed river flows are dropping and could fish well within a couple of days. The current flow for the Rakaia is 248 cumics and the Waimakariri  is 86 cumics. It is always a good idea to check the ECan web site for river flow and rain fall information, and also the Met Service for weather forecasts prior to planning a days fishing. There is nothing worse than getting all geared up and arriving at your destination only to be disappointed by the conditions.

Our lowland rivers are continuing to drop to critically low levels. Fish salvages will almost be certain over the next few days. Staff are keeping a careful watch on the Ashley lower reaches at present. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

The Waimakariri, Hurunui, and Rakaia rivers will be well worth a go in the tidal reaches for searun trout this weekend as the river colour may well be perfect by about Friday, Use smelt type patterns or soft baits for the best success. Other areas for sea run trout fishing are the lower Ashley and Selwyn rivers fish on dusk and into the night as this is the prime time. Use heavier line at night as this is when the super trout are on the hunt. They may break conventional tackle of around 6lb test like cotton. Continuing reports of very impressive sized trout are frequent for the Ellesmere tributaries this season.

For anglers looking to stretch a fly line or spin fish in larger low country streams this weekend rivers such as the upper Ashley or the upper Selwyn are the best bet. For those of you heading for the high country you may well be restricted by the weather. Take advantage of any window of good conditions as it seems we may be stuck in this North West pattern for some time. Lake fishing is always an option in Canterbury when the wind is up. There is usually somewhere to fish which is more sheltered than most. I personally don't mind a bit of wind as I find the trout can be more forgiving with a little wave action.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes
A xmas present for junior angler licence holders! On Tuesday the 23rd December Fish and Game staff released over 200 catchable salmon into the Groynes ponds. Three of the ponds were stocked with the exception of the smaller pond at the Eastern end. The salmon are not huge but they will provide some great action for young anglers and I am sure that there will be many children whom catch their first fish this week. Fish and Game plan to release numbers similar to this on a monthly basis over the summer months. 

Soft baits and bait fishing with worms should work well. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora. Phone 03 313 5728

The Salmon Scene
Yes there are salmon in our rivers now! Many have been caught in the Rakaia river and a few in the Waimakariri. The Rakaia is the best option at present. Anglers will need to fish as soon as it is clear enough as there are only small fishable windows due to the constant North Wester's of late. There have been some very nice conditioned fish caught so far, and some of them have been over 20 pounds. The Waimakariri has produced a few salmon this week as well which is quite early for this river. It seems that this season is very different to the last one when very few fish were evident before xmas.

Notice to Anglers
Many of you will be heading out of Canterbury to fish during the holiday season. Remember to have your fishing licence and a copy of the regulations with you as other regions may have quite different regulations to what you are used to in Canterbury.
We wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.
Merry Xmas to all!
From the North Canterbury Fish and Game team.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 19 Dec 2014

Over the last week the main salmon fishing rivers have been in great condition for fishing and we are starting to hear some good reports. The Waimakariri River has seen four to five salmon landed most days from McIntosh's Rocks but little anywhere else. There are reasonable numbers of Kahawhai around the mouth providing good fishing for those who are targeting them. The Rakaia has salmon throughout the river now with anglers reporting catches up to the gorge. Christchurch anglers travelling further south are also reporting catches in the Rangitata. We have heard very little from the Hurunui or Waiau rivers, but with reports of salmon in most of the east coast rivers at present, I imagine these rivers will be fishing just as well. The salmon are generally larger and in better condition than last years, which is welcomed by anglers.

There has been no significant rainfall in the alps for almost two weeks now and anglers should make the most of these favourable conditions this evening or tomorrow morning, as heavy rain is forecast in the headwaters starting this evening. There is a high chance this will make the rivers unfishable until Christmas but let's hope we only get a small fresh that clears quickly in time for the long weekend. We expect to see reasonable numbers of salmon show up in all the rivers over the next month, with the Waimakariri generally fishing better in the later half of the season, a few weeks behind the other salmon rivers.
The prospects for trout fishing this weekend look great east of the alps, but unfortunately the strong winds forecast for much of the weekend which will restrict anglers looking to go fly fishing in the high country. The Ellesmere tributaries continue to fish well with good reports coming from the lower Selwyn and Harts Creek. These rivers are best fished at night.

All the lowland Canterbury rivers are in great condition for trout fishing and a Veltic or Rapala spinner can produce good results and is an easier option than fly fishing in strong winds such as those forecast for the weekend, or alternatively try using a sinking fly line with a Hope silvery to imitate whitebait. Similar methods should also work in the South Branch of the Waimakariri below Dickies Road.

We are still seeing the odd sea-run trout taken in the lower reaches of the main rivers and although there are not as many as seen in previous years, anglers fishing late evening and into the night are having reasonable success with ideal river conditions at present.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 11 Dec 2014

The weather looks quite reasonable this weekend. Saturday looks to have a bit of drizzle and then clearing on Sunday. The good news is there is no NW winds forecast.
All of the main rivers have been running quite high lately but they should be ideal for salmon fishing by the weekend. There is the odd salmon being caught so this weekend should produce a few salmon as the rivers settle down.

The high country looks good this weekend as there is very little wind forecast. The lakes should fish well as trout are feeding regularly off the surface at this time of year. Lake Lyndon will be well stocked with rainbow trout averaging 1kg as hundreds were released last weekend as part of the Lake Lyndon fishing day. There are plenty left over as not that many were caught on the day. They respond well to spinners or fly, especially first thing in the morning.

Lake Ellesmere tributaries are continuing to fish very well. The Selwyn is producing some monster fish this year. They are getting very hard to catch but the odd one does take, especially just after dark. All methods seem to work on occasion, including soft baits, rapalas and sometimes even a dry fly. The next warm evening should produce some brown beetles. Fishing with a beetle imitation in the evening can be effective.

High country rivers should be clearing by the weekend. They should fish well as there hasn't been a lot of fishing pressure so far due to the weather. There are some reports of some very well conditioned brown trout being caught.

There will also be a release of fish into the Groynes next week, so the fishing will remain good there right up to the xmas break and into the school holidays

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 27 November 2014

I have very little to report on fishing success over the last week and prospects for the weekend don't look that great for North Canterbury anglers yet again, with strong nor-west winds and rain forecast for the alps. As expected at this time of year the main rivers have been discoloured and unfishable for some time now, limiting anglers' opportunities to fish the backcountry lakes and rivers. Hardy anglers can have success targeting lake trout in the waves on the downwind shore, where trout often congregate to feed during these conditions.

Outside the North Canterbury region, the only salmon catches to report have been the odd salmon taken in the Rangitata surf. There have also been a few Kahawai caught off the beaches around Kaikoura which are likely targeting silveries and whitebait. Although many salmon anglers have historically not been the greatest fans of catching Kahawai (they were caught in plague numbers around river mouths limiting opportunities to catch a salmon), these are great sport on light gear. Unlike salmon where the flesh stays in better condition for longer with little care, if bled immediately and keep on ice, Kahawai are great eating fresh raw as sashimi with a little wasabi and soy sauce, or cooked on the bbq in a light batter.

The Ashley River if likely to be anglers best bet this weekend, as it has a healthy flow at present and is not affected by the nor-westers. Staff have been busy salvaging fish this week from drying streams and anglers should make the most of the Ashley, as it is likely to dry up this side of Christmas.

Lake Ellesmere tributaries are continuing to fish well at night, with plenty of good size trout about. The warmer weather over the last week has warmed these streams and likely to have slowed trout during the day but has the plus side of increased terrestrial activity.   
Monday 1st December sees the opening of the high country streams flowing into lakes, including the Ryton and the Harper rivers and their tributaries. With didymo present in some of these tributaries, this is probably a timely reminder that anglers should still take care when moving between rivers over a short period of time, due to the risk of spreading not just didymo, but other unwanted pests which can have drastic consequences on local stream ecosystems.

Over the last few years Fish & Game have increased their stocking program for both salmon and trout. This month Fish & Game will be releasing thousands of yearling Brown and Rainbow trout into many of the high country lakes in the region, as well as some of the back country rivers. This is the first time trout have been released into some of these rivers for decades and comes as a result of a successful rearing year at our hatcheries. A special thanks goes to our dedicated volunteers who help to keep these hatcheries operating, as without them, stocking programs such as this would not occur. A few thousand of our rainbow trout are also heading into some of our neighbouring Fish & Game regions lakes and rivers, along with hundreds of catchable trout to various Take a Kid Fishing events around the South Island.


Family Fishing Day at Lake Lyndon
North Canterbury Fish and Game are inviting families new to angling to an educational fishing day at Lake Lyndon on the 7th of December. Fish & Game will be releasing hundreds of rainbow trout into the lake on the day of this event so anglers will have a great chance of success. A number of these will be tagged and if any of these trout are caught by anglers either on the day or at any time in the future, please present the tag to Fish & Game and you will receive a small prize.

This event is the next step for all of those junior anglers who have started learning to fish at the Groynes Lakes in Christchurch. The lake regulations allow trolling from boats, and bait fishing for "junior anglers only”. On the day, volunteers and Fish and Game staff will be available to help out with techniques, and give advice to help junior anglers learn more about becoming a successful angler.

Over the summer months, Fish & Game will also be releasing hundreds of salmon into the Groynes Fishing Lakes for junior anglers. As usual, the best chances of success are very early morning and late evening.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 20 November 2014

It's definitely windy season out there. It's going to be NW today and this evening. A southerly change will come through Saturday afternoon with Sunday looking reasonably fine at the moment.

There is heavy rain expected today in the headwaters of the main Canterbury rivers. The Hurunui, Waiau, Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers are already running reasonably high after some rain this week so the prospect of these rivers remaining fishable for the weekend does not look promising. There have been some reports of salmon in good condition being caught in the Rakaia and some good searun trout being caught in the lower reaches of the Waimakariri. There is some more rain in the headwaters of these rivers forecast for Wednesday but there maybe some fishable flows between now and then. Perhaps early next week.

Foothill streams such as the Ashley and Selwyn are continuing to fish well with healthy flows for now. The Selwyn is continuing to produce monster trout this season. Brown beetles are also starting to appear which can mean the odd lower Selwyn fish can be fooled with a beetle imitation in the evening.

The high country lakes might be worth a look on Sunday morning after the southerly has passed through. It has almost been winter like conditions in the high country the last couple of weeks. At least this will have the effect of keeping our lakes and rivers at a cool temperature before heading into summer.

Fish & Game has salvaged fish already this season out of the mid reaches of the Cust. The windy warm conditions on the plains will continue to put pressure on our lowland streams. Anglers noticing any drying rivers with stranded fished should contact our office as soon as possible as we may be able to salvage these fish and return them safely to a permanently flowing piece of water.

For the kids there are still some fish to be caught in the Groynes fishing lakes. Either spinners or bait works well in the evenings there. Also coming up is the Lake Lyndon fishing day on the 7th of December. Catchable fish will be released into the lake to increase the catch rate. This will be a good family out with prizes available at the Fish & Game tent. Although registration is from 9am to 1pm anglers can fish at any time. In fact I would encourage people to get there as early as possible as most of the fish were caught early in the morning last year. This is a good opportunity for young kids to catch their first high country trout.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 13 November 2014

The weekends forecast is looking like a mainly Nor West one which dos not help anglers looking to target the high country lakes and rivers. The main snow fed rivers have received a significant amount of rain fall this week and they may not clear sufficiently if more rain falls this weekend. Check the ECAN web site for river flow information.

Some of our lowland rivers are now dropping in flows to the point where fish stranding maybe possible in the lower reaches. Fish and Game staff salvaged 1500 trout (mostly small but also some very nice trout ) from the Cust river last week. If you notice any waterways that have non connected flows please contact the Fish and Game office 0800 347 426.

If the main river flows drop to a marginal colour this weekend it would be well worth targeting sea run trout. The Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers in the tidal reaches would be my pick. Use smelt type patterns or soft baits for the best success. Other areas for sea run trout fishing are the lower Ashley and Selwyn rivers. There are some very big trout in the lower Selwyn at present and fishing for them on dusk and into the night is best.

For Anglers looking to stretch a fly line or spin fish in larger low country streams this weekend rivers such as the Ashley or the upper Selwyn. Don't forget about some of our Christchurch local streams. There is some great sport to be had in streams such as the Otukaikino, Styx, Silver Stream and the Cust main drain.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes
There are still some good opportunities of catching fish at the Groynes. There have been some small releases of salmon over the past two weeks with more major releases planned for December. The Groynes junior fishery ponds are a great place to teach your children how to cast and there is a very realistic chance that they may catch a fish.

Soft baits and bait fishing with worms should work well. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora. Phone 03 313 5728

Any Salmon Around?
There has been the occasional salmon caught in the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers to date. This weekend is traditionally one that produces a few fish as the first of the Rakaia salmon run appears. We all know how unpredictable salmon are though! But it would be worth having a look if the river conditions allow.

Family Fishing Day at Lake Lyndon
North Canterbury Fish and Game are inviting new to angling families to an educational fishing day at Lake Lyndon on Sunday the 7th of December. The social junior fishing event will finish with the prize giving at 1pm. This event is the next step for all of those junior anglers who have started learning to fish at the Groynes Lakes in Christchurch. This next step is all about the High Country fishing experience, and learning how to catch trout in their wild environment. Lake Lyndon is the closest high country lake to Christchurch with a travel time of around 1 hours drive from the city.

Lake Lyndon is regarded by many North Canterbury anglers as a favorite place to fish and provides some great rainbow trout angling. The lake regulations also allow fishing from boats ie, trolling and bait fishing for "junior anglers only" is also permitted. On the day many local fishing clubs, volunteers and Fish and Game staff will be available to help out with techniques, and advise to help junior anglers learn about the secrets to becoming a successful angler. Hundreds of additional rainbow trout will also be released into the lake on the day for the event. Some of them will have lucky tags in them, and if caught by a junior angler they will receive a special prize. More details of this event will be published weakly in this report.

Notice to Anglers
Anglers please note that all Western Zone rivers that flow into lakes are closed for fishing until 1st December.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 31 October 2014

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. This weekend is the much anticipated high country opening. Fish & Game will be marking the occasion with our yearly Lake Coleridge fishing competition tomorrow. There will be plenty of prizes and an all day BBQ. Remember you don't have to catch a fish to get a prize but you do have to register with your fishing licence at the Fish & Game tent at Ryton Bay. Weigh in is from 9am to 3pm with prize giving at 4pm. Entry is free!

Unfortunately the weather forecast for the high country is not looking the best this weekend. North West gales are forecast for both days with the strongest winds being on Sunday. It looks like first thing Saturday morning might be the calmest period. If you do manage to get out on Coleridge there should be plenty of good conditioned rainbows. Our spawning counts this year confirmed another upward trend this year for rainbow trout numbers. They are also in fantastic condition. The salmon in Coleridge this year once again look to be on the small side.

As well as the highcountry lakes opening this weekend there is also the opening for the Broken and Porter Rivers. These rivers contain rainbow trout and a re generally suited to fly fishing because of there small size. Although these rivers are probably running clear this weekend the wind is going to make them very hard to fish. You might be better to wait until more favourable conditions.

Please remember that the Ryton, Harper and Avoca Rivers do not open until the 1st of December. This is to protect late spawning rainbows that may still be in those catchments.
The main alpine rivers have a slight bit of colour in them which will make them ideal for fishing in the lower reaches. There is no significant rain forecast in the highcountry until Sunday evening, so these rivers should continue to clear throughout the weekend.

Hill fed rivers such as the Selwyn and Ashley will be clear and fishable this weekend. Both the lower reaches of thee rivers have been fishing well. The Selwyn is continuing to produce the odd trophy this year while the Ashley seems to have a good population of searun trout.
Good luck this weekend and I might see you at Lake Coleridge tomorrow

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 24 October 2014

Dirk Barr, Fish and Game Officer

The weekend's forecast is looking a bit mixed but in general there should be plenty of angling opportunities. The main snow fed rivers are clearing and should be fishable over the long weekend providing no rain falls in the Alps today (Thursday). Saturday looks like the best day weather wise with a southerly change due on Sunday with some rain but clearing for Monday. The rain forecast dos not look like enough to have much of an effect on the levels of the low land or high country streams and rivers. Check the Ecan website for more information on flows.

This time of year is an exciting one for sea run trout fishing prospects and chances are often at there best when the river colour is described as marginal. As the river clears they tend to be more active feeders on dusk, and into the night. This can offer an exciting fishing experience. They will be especially active if there are large runs of smelt in the river. Large numbers of smelt are in the Ellesmere system at present. Large trout are often behind them!

Typical methods of fishing for sea run trout usually revolve around the traditional technique of "lure fishing" in the main snow fed rivers. This technique involves using a 10 foot long rod with an over sized fly or mooching reel, and then roll casting a lead weight with a streamer style "feathered lure" upstream. The Parsons Glory, or Hopes Silvery Dark or Black Prince are my favorites. Soft baits also have an amazing action which will entice a take.

Low country streams will be worth a look this weekend. Lake Ellesmere tributaries on dusk or into the night is a good prospect for this weekend, the lake has been open to the sea since Tuesday and this has provided a stronger out flow from the streams that feed it. The stronger flow often encourages sea run trout into the system. The lower Selwyn has a strong positive flow at present and good opportunities may await the angler there. Large numbers of trout have been observed around the upper huts area in the early part of the season. Spinning with Rapalas or Veltics, or fly fishing with streamer style patterns like Woolly Buggers, or the infamous Mrs Simpson work well on dusk. The moon also has an effect on trout activity at night. The full moon has long gone now and the darker the night the better has been my experience. Large dark coloured lures would be my choice on a dark night. Lighter colours work better on a bright night or before the sunset has completely faded to dark on a non moonlight night. Try an olive coloured woolly bugger long shank #6 if the trout are being selective.

For anglers looking to stretch a fly line or spin fish in larger low country streams this weekend rivers such as the Ashley or the upper Selwyn which is carrying a good flow at present. Don't forget about some of our Christchurch local streams. There is some great sport to be had in streams such as the Otukaikino, Styx, Silver Stream and Cust.

Junior Fishery at the Groynes

The Annual Take a Kid fishing day was held at the Groynes last weekend and was an outstanding success. Isaac's donated 800 salmon for the day and Fish and Game added another 50 rainbow trout to these, some of them very large.  Conditions were overcast on the day which was perfect for catching fish. About half of the fish released were caught that morning so there are still plenty in there. Some great evening fishing for the kids has followed throughout the week, and this would be a great place to take you children for a fish on dusk this weekend. Soft baits and bait fishing with worms should work well. Remember a fishing licence is required for all children regardless of age and it is a 100% Junior Fishery. Licences are available at most major tackle stores, or North Canterbury Fish and Game, 32 River Road Rangiora. Phone 03 313 5728

Fish and Game also hope to have some additional releases at the Groynes throughout the summer months. This is something that North Canterbury Fish and Game would love to continue to provide for the children / junior anglers of Christchurch.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those volunteers who gave their time on the TAKF day. Thank you team! all those kids, some with their first fish, are our future licence holders and our future environmentalists. They are our insurance policy, the next generation of guardians standing up for the protection of the resource, our sports fishery!

Any Salmon Around?

Well it is early days yet however, there has been one factual salmon caught that I know of in the Rakaia River. There have also been a few caught at Kaikoura in the sea which is encouraging as these fish maybe making their way along the coast line to the river mouths. Watch this space!

Family Fishing Day at Lake Lyndon
North Canterbury Fish and Game are inviting new to angling families to an educational fishing day at Lake Lyndon on Sunday the 7th of December. This event is the next step for all of those junior anglers who have started learning to fish at the Groynes Lakes in Christchurch. This next step is all about the high country fishing experience, and learning how to catch trout in their wild environment. Lake Lyndon is the closest high country lake to Christchurch with a travel time of around 1 hours drive from the city.
Lake Lyndon is regarded by many North Canterbury anglers as a favorite place to fish and provides some great rainbow trout angling. The lake regulations also allow fishing from boats ie, trolling and bait fishing for "junior anglers only" is also permitted. On the day many local fishing clubs, volunteers and Fish and Game staff will be available to help out with techniques, and advise to help junior anglers learn about the secrets to becoming a successful angler. Hundreds of additional rainbow trout will also be released into the lake on the day for the event. Some of them will have lucky tags in them, and if caught by a junior angler they will receive a special prize.  More details of this event will be published weekly in this report.

High Country Opening

The Canterbury high country opens on the Saturday 1st of November. This day signifies the start of the main fishing season in which almost all rivers and lakes are open to fish. The exceptions to this are western zone rivers that flow into high country lakes. Anglers are reminded that these rivers open on the 1st of December in order to protect the late spawning rainbow trout. Our rangers are out in force now, however we do have a large region to cover. There have been complaints from the public that people have been fishing Lake Lyndon out of season. If you do come across anyone illegally fishing please contact Fish and Game with details such as registration plate numbers, and names if possible.

Lake Coleridge Competition

To celebrate the traditional opening of the high country fishing season Fish and Game are holding the annual Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition. This competition is not only restricted to Lake Coleridge, it includes all of the Coleridge area lakes, and it is free to enter. The competition is generously sponsored by Hunting and Fishing and the prize pool is valued at around $10,000. More details of the event will be posted in this weekly report closer to the time.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 17 October 2014

Steve Terry, Fish and Game Officer

Prospects for North Canterbury anglers look mixed this weekend, with strong winds and heavy rain forecast for the alps and the larger rivers may rise and become discolored and unfishable. The larger east coast rivers have not seen a decent fresh yet this spring and we are well overdue for one. Most rivers should have good numbers of trout throughout, up until the first big fresh when the stable habitats and lies are changed and they relocate or are often washed downstream. Leading up to Christmas, anglers should make the most of any drop in flows before the next Nor-wester brings the rivers down. These rivers should fish well when flows drop off, especially for sea-run trout in the lower reaches.

Salmon anglers are also gearing up for the season, as it won't be long before we hear a report of the first salmon caught for the season. There have already been a number of reports that salmon have been caught, however we have not had this confirmed, however it is around now that the first of the seasons early salmon show up, so this is possible and they should start showing up any day now, more so in the traditionally early Rangitata and Rakaia rivers. If you haven't done so already this season, now would be a great time to check over your gear and get your reels serviced, replace line and any rusty trebles etc.

The Selwyn River has a good flow in both the upper and lower reaches and there should be trout throughout this catchment, including the Hororata River. Lowland rivers such as the Styx and the South Branch of the Waimakariri River are also fishing well early in the season, following the rest they have had from anglers over the winter. Although open year round, an area that would be worth a look this weekend is the lower and mid reaches of the Ashley River, as it is not as affected by the rain in the alps and will be fishable this weekend. There are also a few sea run trout starting to show up in the lower reaches as they follow the whitebait in.

A reminder to parents that the annual Take a Kid Fishing day is on this Sunday, the 19th of October at the Groynes Fishing Lakes. The Isaac Wildlife Trust have donated around 800 salmon for this event. Fish & Game will also be releasing a few large salmon and rainbow trout into these lakes for this event. Bring all the family and enjoy a fun kids fishing day. It's free for all children, including the fishing licence for the day.

Planning ahead, the opening of the high country lakes is only two weeks away, on Saturday the 1st November, which will be celebrated again this year with a fishing competition at Lake Coleridge, with a prize pool valued at over $10,000 generously sponsored by Hunting & Fishing.

While out fishing this season, anglers are our eyes and ears in the field and are encouraged to report incidences of any illegal fishing activity they may see while fishing, and taking note of vehicle registration numbers would be helpful. Rangers will be increasing their activity over the coming season, so a friendly reminder also to please carry your licence on you at all times when fishing, as this will avoid any lengthy walk back to your vehicle, or the unnecessary paperwork associated with issuing infringement notices for not carrying your licence, with the worst case scenario the confiscation of fishing equipment! Please check the regulation guide before venturing to new areas to fish this season, as there have been a few regulation changes this year.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 10 October 2014

Tony Hawker, Fish and Game Officer

It's been a typical start to the fishing season with variable spring weather creating challenging conditions.  Fortunately the weather looks to be OK at this stage for the weekend for both coastal and high country areas of Canterbury.

Yesterday I was up the head of the Ashley releasing some brown trout.  The river was just starting to clear after a peak of around 20 cumecs earlier in the week.  It should be a perfect flow by the weekend for fishing the lower reaches for sea run trout.  The gorge area will still be a bit challenging to fish this weekend with the higher flow.

The Selwyn also has a nice clean flow.  The lower reaches at the Selwyn Huts are still a little murky due to Lake Ellesmere water backing up.  However, the lake opening should fix this soon.  Despite the clarity there is still heaps of trout in the lower Selwyn and other Ellesmere tributaries.  As usual these trout are hard to catch during the day, but the odd one does take a streamer fly or spinner/softbait.  The best method to get these fish is still at dusk or night time with streamer flies or using bait.

The Rakaia, Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau Rivers are running quite high and dirty at the moment.  They may clear by the end of the weekend.  All of them will still provide good conditions at the estuaries for sea run trout.  The headwaters of these rivers may clear enough for some decent high country fishing as there is not much wind forecast for the weekend in the high country.  Use large nymphs for the heavier flows and hungry fish.

Upcoming events this month include Take a Kid Fishing which is held at the Groynes fishing lakes on Sunday the 19th of October.  This event is ideal for introducing kids to fishing who are yet to catch their first fish.  It can be challenging to find somewhere for young kids, especially pre school age, to catch a trout or salmon.  The Take a Kid Fishing day has freshly stocked trout and salmon as well as experts on hand to offer assistance.

  North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 3 October 2014

Tony Hawker, Fish and Game Officer

A fine day on opening was a real treat this year.  The high country was a stunner on Wednesday.  I was up the back of Lake Coleridge completing a rainbow trout spawning survey.  The numbers of rainbow trout were very good so expect another good rainbow trout season on Coleridge this year when the season starts on the 1st of November.

As you can see at the moment the weather is pretty average this weekend.  Snow showers are forecast today and tomorrow and NW winds on Sunday.  If you do manage to brave the weather most of the alpine rivers are slightly dirty and high at the moment.  The Rakaia looks as if it is clearing the quickest.  The headwaters in the back country will be clear enough but the conditions are going to be wet, windy and cold.

Lake Ellesmere is now open to the sea so keep an eye on the inflowing tributaries.  There are already good numbers of fish at the river mouths.  Sunday looks like the better evening to try these as I have often found a NW evening works quite well on the Selwyn.

I had a request this week asking what is available for boaties at this time or year.  It can be hard this time of year for boat fishing as most lakes are closed to give the fish a rest before the high country opening on the 1st of November.  However there are a few exceptions such as Lake Forsyth, Loch Katrine and Lake Sumner.

Foot hill streams such as the Ashley and Selwyn are looking good at the moment with nice clean flows.  Fishing for sea runners at the Ashley from now until mid November can produce some large fish.

Remember there is also good fishing close to Christchurch with rivers such as the Styx, Otukaikino and the Avon.  We undertook surveys on the Avon this year which showed a surprising amount of fish in the 2-3lb range despite the silt deposits from the earthquake.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 29 September 2014

Tony Hawker, Fish and Game Officer

Hello and welcome to the first North Canterbury fishing report of the 2014/15 fishing season. Opening day is on Wednesday this year which is an awkward day to get off fishing. If you can get out on Wednesday though, at this stage the weather looks to be OK.

All the main rivers are up a bit at the moment but they should clear by Wednesday especially in the back country. The foothill rivers will be low and clear this year.

Keep the Lake Ellesmere tributaries in mind over the next couple of weeks. Machinery is on site now trying to open the lake. It is predicted that the lake will be opened this week. This will aid fish migration into the lake and will also provide more food. This is the best time of year to try and catch one of those monsters in the lower Selwyn before it gets too warm and the fish become inactive.

The Ashley is also looking good this year. I went for a walk a couple of weeks ago in the middle reaches and saw very good numbers of large fish. All the lowland stream seem to have good numbers of fish this year after the good flows experienced around April, which encouraged fish to move into them to spawn. Many of these fish have stayed there but will move out again as flows recede.

As mentioned earlier the backcountry rivers should clear by Wednesday but keep an eye on the weather as there is a NW front hitting the South Island on Thursday. If this happens to come earlier it could make opening day quite unpleasant in the high country.

As for the weekend, the weather is looking a bit messy, so my advice would be to get out on opening day if you can. Best of luck if you do decide to get out.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 24 April 2014

Steve Terry,Fish and Game Officer

The fishing season is all but finished now and with most rivers high and dirty at present and likely to remain that way for a few days, last minute prospects for the long weekend ahead don’t look great. Salmon spawning surveys and angler salmon harvest phone surveys are about to begin, and reasonable returns to hatcheries so far have given us an early indication that there should be reasonable spawning numbers in the high country spring creeks.

Angler catch data from the lower Waimakariri River also indicates that approximately one in seven salmon caught in the river this season were of hatchery origin and adipose fin-clipped, so this bodes well for the wild fishery also. Most anglers have packed their fishing gear away until next season (many of whom are eagerly awaiting opening day of the gamebird season on Saturday 3rd May), however for those keen anglers that cannot wait until next season, there are a number of rivers open all year in the Eastern Zone. Following a short closure in May to allow salmon uninterrupted spawning, there are also a number of lakes opening again in June. Please check your regulation booklet, or the North Canterbury Fish & Game website for regulations on these waters.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 17 April 2014

Steve Terry: Fish and Game Officer

As the salmon season draws to an end, there are mixed reports around how the season fared ranging from "one of the best for many years" to "one of the worst they have had". Most anglers have packed their fishing gear away until next season, however there are still reasonable numbers of salmon in the main rivers and one or two spots still worth a look this late in the season. With a long awaited, albeit small fresh coming down the main rivers yesterday, salmon will be on the move and any late running salmon still entering the mouths will be making the most of this.

The Rakaia Mouth has still been yielding a few salmon each day and this fresh is likely to trigger the last of the salmon to enter the river. There are still quite a few salmon in the mid reaches of the Rakaia, particularly between the SH1 and Gorge Bridge. There have also been a few salmon caught each day in the lower reaches of the Waimakariri, with Macintosh’s Rocks and the Banana Hole all yielding fish and no doubt the mid reaches below the gorge will still be holding good numbers. However, with southerly rain forecast for the next few days followed by nor-west rain in the alps, it is likely to be the other side of the long weekend before rivers are fishable again. The upside to this is of course is that this allows salmon the chance head upstream to spawn and keep the cycle going.

Fin Clipping Day at Silverstream, Saturday 26th April 2014
The final day of the annual chinook salmon smolt fin clipping program will take place at the Silverstream hatchery at 8.30am, Saturday the 26th of April. This important task of marking Chinook salmon for the purpose of identification within the fishery is one of the most essential fisheries management tools we have. North Canterbury Fish & Game are inviting volunteers to assist with the task of adipose fin clipping approximately 30,000 salmon smolt at the site. These smolt stocks are destined for release from Silverstream in June. Fish and Game will also be providing a barbeque lunch on the day.

A car pool meeting point will be at the Peg Hotel car park, Main North Road, Belfast at 8am Saturday. Volunteers whom have not been to the Silverstream hatchery before are advised to meet at the Peg Hotel as the hatchery is not easy to find. The Silver Stream Hatchery or The NZ Salmon Smolt Company is located at Heywards Road Clarkville. Heading north, and just over the Waimakariri River, take the first motorway exit on the left onto Tram Road. Heading west for approximately 6kms, turn left onto Heywards Road. The hatchery entrance is on the left about 100 meters from this intersection and just before the Silverstream bridge.

All volunteers will be required to disinfect footwear and attend an induction from the site Manager before entering the work area. Warm clothes and wet weather gear is advised. Gumboots or waders are also advised. Thanks in advance for your help.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 11 April 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

There has been only limited angling over the last week and as such, reports of success are slim. As the salmon season tapers off, many anglers have packed their fishing gear away until next season, however there are still reports of a few being caught in the lower Waimakariri River and the mid reaches of the other salmon rivers, particularly between the SH1 and Gorge Bridges. With the recent rain and slight lift in flows in recent days, salmon will be on the move heading for their spawning streams and the main rivers are all well worth a look before 8am each day.

In the Waimakariri, the mouth, Macintosh’s Rocks and the Banana Hole all still yielding a few salmon but the bulk of the fish have moved upstream now. Fishing in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Gorges has been yielding a few salmon for keen anglers in recent weeks, although these two gorges are really only accessible by jet boat and the salmon are becoming increasingly harder to catch as the season comes to an end. Please remember that fishing for both trout and salmon is now closed in the Western Zone of the Rakaia with Waimakariri anglers having until the end of April to fish for trout in the western zone.

The weather for the weekend looks very average with a southerly tomorrow and more rain, and the long range forecast is predicting rain on and off for the next week. This will limit opportunities for lake and back country fly fishing.
Anglers wishing to head into the high country might like to try Lake Coleridge, as salmon are starting to think about spawning and are often caught either near the mouth of the Ryton River or trolling around Ryton Bay. Anglers only have until the end of April to take advantage of this as the lake closes for spawning in May.

Salmon fishing in the Groynes fishing lakes continues to be a success in the three main fishing lakes, especially the one closest to the Clearwater golf course. The best bet for parents wishing to take their kids for a fish is at first and last light using any of the authorised methods, with worms and shrimps working well.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 4 April 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. The weather is a bit of a mixed bag this weekend. Although there will be little wind in the high country it looks like there is a chance of showers or drizzle on both the plains and near the main divide.

All of the rivers are low clear and fishable this weekend. The main salmon rivers are particularly low. The bulk of the salmon run has gone through the river mouths now with angler catch starting to die off in those areas. The Waimakariri is still the best bet for the salmon. There are still salmon in the river system below State Highway One. For the other rivers there will be salmon in the mid to upper reaches but they won’t be easy as the rivers are low and clear and the salmon are moving fast to their spawning grounds.

On that note there are a few regulations that kick in this month to protect salmon spawning. They are:
No fishing for salmon in the Kaiapoi River above the Williams Street bridge and the following rivers and streams are now closed for both salmon and trout fishing:
    • Cass Hill Stream
    • Coleridge Tailrace
    • Cora Lynn Stream
    • Double Hill Stream
    • Goat Hill Stream
    • Glenariffe Stream
    • Hydra Waters
    • Manuka Point Stream
    • Lake Stream
    • Rakaia River above Coleridge Tailrace
    • Winding Creek

For trout anglers there is still some good opportunities out there. Backcountry rivers are low and clear and contain good numbers of well conditioned fish. Although the days are shorter and are not as warm, trout will still respond to large dry flies. The mid reaches of the Hurunui and Waiau are well worth exploring this time of year, as there has been a long stable period without floods. The current low flows also allow anglers access along these rivers.

The highcountry lakes are still fishing well. Surface activity is starting to fade away this month but there has been some settled weather lately which has still produced some great lake fishing. I fished the Hurunui Lakes recently and although there were hardly any fish rising most were still caught with a dry fly. On calm conditions cruising trout can be ambushed with either a dry or a nymph. Simply cast well ahead of the trout’s known beat and twitch the fly as the trout swims by.
Spin anglers will find it challenging this time of year as the trout have seen it all before and the rivers are so clear. My advice would be to go to ultra light gear with fluro-carbon tippets and use small sized lures such as rapalas and veltics.

The groynes fishing lakes were stocked with salmon again this week so will be fishing well this weekend. The cloudy drizzly days this weekend will actually improve the fishing there as bright sunny days tend to drive the fish into the deeper part of the ponds.

If you don’t want to go fishing this weekend but have some spare time on Saturday, Fish & Game is asking for volunteers for fin clipping at the Montrose hatchery.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 28 March 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

This weekend's fishing prospects look very good with a settled weather pattern for the next few days. Light winds and sunny forecast over the weekend will suit trout anglers in the high and low country. Salmon anglers will also find a cool start, but calm conditions in the mornings and clear river conditions to fish. So plenty of options for all this weekend.

As the Autumn weather arrives it signifies we are approaching the end of the traditional fishing season, but it’s not over yet! Field staff have just completed the drift dive season in the high country this week, and despite the cold mornings the days warmed up to the point where insect life was still very active in the afternoons. Cicadas were still chirping in the afternoon sun and light winds made perfect conditions for the handful of anglers in the area whilst we were there.

The area of the last drift dive trout count was the upper Waiau River. Staff braved the cold waters of this catchment on Wednesday after a frost in the morning to count a 1.2 kilometer stretch of this river which is traditionally counted in the exact location annually. Brown trout numbers counted in this area were the highest since the count began with 55 large trout being observed. Large is the term used by staff for trout that exceed 600mm in length or around 3.2 kilograms or 7 pounds plus. No fish under this size were counted on this dive, with many of them exceeding the 12 pound mark. This is a fishery which is in a very healthy state and shows what can happen if the habitat is left in it’s natural pristine state.

Trout anglers will find that as we move into April fish become less active on the surface. Nymphs or wet streamer style lures will be the most productive at this time of year, although some afternoon dry fly action may still be had on a sunny day. Spin anglers will often be more successful at this time of year. Trout are not getting the same surface food intake as what they have been used to in the warmer months, and are they looking for more sub surface.

Salmon angling prospects are very good this weekend, especially in the lower reaches of the Waimakariri. The main run is now in the river awaiting the next fresh to make their run home. There is still some good up river fishing prospects to come as the traditional late running Waimakariri salmon head for the spawning grounds. Reasonable numbers of salmon have entered the low country spawning streams during the past week with the peak due in around the third week in April. All of the salmon that return to Silver Stream and the Otukaikino River traps will be used to enhance the Waimakariri river fishery, providing salmon anglers with more success opportunities in the future.

The Rakaia river mouth area is also fishing consistently for this time of the season with the last of the run moving through the system. Most Rakaia river salmon will now be well up the catchment awaiting maturity before entering the mountain spring fed streams. Despite a slow start to the fishing this season it seems that reasonable numbers have been in the rivers and many anglers have had very successful season. Annual spawn counts will be undertaken by staff in April and hopefully this will also confirm a successful return.

The junior fishery at the Groynes ponds is still providing our junior anglers with a great introduction to fishing. Releases of catchable sized salmon are taking place every week now with the last release forecast for mid April. This release program is proving invaluable to the next generation of anglers with many kids getting their first experiences of salmon and trout fishing at the Groynes and then moving on to the wild fishery.

Tight lines all for the weekend, and if you are free on Saturday 5th of April to help out with fin clipping at Montrose it would appreciated greatly.
Fin Clipping Day at Montrose - 5th April 2014
The Annual Chinook Salmon Smolt fin clipping program will continue at Montrose Station on Saturday 5th April.
This important task of marking Chinook salmon for the purpose of identification within the fishery is one of the most essential fisheries management tools we have.

North Canterbury Fish and Game are inviting members of the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association and the Canterbury Lurefishing Association and members of the public to assist with the task of adipose fin clipping approximately 30.000 Salmon Smolt at Montrose Station. These smolt stocks are destined for 3 release sites including Whiskey Creek, Montrose Stream and the Otukaikino River.

Numbers of members advised to complete this task on this weekend are 60 in total. Members of the public are also welcome but they must be adopted by the clubs and be included on the daily registration list. So invite your friends and children to enjoy the comradery of anglers on this social and educational event. Fish and Game Rangers and Council members are also invited to take part over the weekend. Fish and Game will also be providing a barbeque lunch on the day. A car pool meeting point will be at the Yaldhurst Hotel car park at 8am if required.

Montrose Station is located around 6 kilometers up the Blackford Road which is the first turn right on the South side of the Rakaia Gorge bridge. An angler access sign will mark the driveway which leads to the Fish and Game Hatchery. Please note that this is a locked gate and vehicles will be let through between 9am and 9.30am on both mornings, and names will be registered at this point. Warm clothes and wet weather gear is advised. Gumboots or waders are also advised.

An indication of numbers from the clubs prior to the weekend would be appreciated.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 21 March 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

I am pleased to report that the weather looks very good this weekend especially if you plan to go to the high-country. A large high is bringing settled weather inland with some light north east winds around the coast.

This would be an ideal weekend to fish high-country lakes as there should be still conditions. If the sun is out there should be some dry fly action around the edges. Backcountry rivers are also looking good as they have all recovered from some recent freshes. March is a good month for exploratory dry flies. If there is a bit of heat in the days there would also be some cicadas around.

The salmon rivers will all be fishable this weekend. The Rakaia has dropped very quickly after a reasonable fresh this week. Hopefully this has moved some fish up the river.  There are some fish in the river but conditions have been challenging with low clear water. The Waimakariri is still producing good numbers of fish caught in the lower reaches.

The Rangers competition was a great success at the Waimakariri River Mouth on Wednesday. Over 100 anglers registered for the competition which saw 10 salmon weighed in. The biggest being 6.8kgs.

Remember that the Waimakariri Salmon Fishing Competition is on tomorrow. Entries will close at 9am tomorrow morning. The competition starts at first light and closes at 4pm with prize giving to follow at 5pm at the Kairaki Beach Camp Hall. There are $4000 dollars worth of prizes and a good number of fish in the river, so it should make for a good day out.

For those with young kids new to fishing there are still good sized releases going into the Groynes every week. There are also still heaps of rainbows in Lake Lyndon due to the releases earlier in the season. Lyndon is only 45 minutes from Christchurch and should be sheltered from the easterly, so would make a fantastic family day out.

The lower Ashley may well be worth a look as well as the river drops after a decent fresh earlier this week. There should be some sea run trout in the lower reaches.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 14 March 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

North Canterbury Rivers have not seen a significant fresh for some time now with all rivers very low and the salmon fishing has been limited to the tidal reaches and gorges of the main rivers. There have been a few good days in the lower Waimakariri River, with around 20 salmon taken on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The Rakaia and Hurunui river mouths have also seen six to ten taken most days and I am sure the same is true for the Waiau River.

With all the warm weather we have had, trout fishing has been productive on cicadas in the rivers and lakes. It looks like we are in for some heavy rain over all of Canterbury this Sunday which may limit opportunities. A good site to keep an eye on upcoming weather events is Metvuw http://www.metvuw.com/forecast/ and click on the 7-day Thumbnails for rainfall predictions over the South Island.

Next week we have the annual Waimakariri River Rangers Competition which will be held at 8.30am until 1.30pm on Wednesday 19th March at Kairaki Beach. All anglers are welcome to take part in this social event. The fishing area is restricted to from the north side of the mouth up to the Yacht Club. There is no entry fee, some great prizes and Fish & Game will have a BBQ on from 11am.

Following this event will be the annual Waimakariri Salmon Fishing Competition be held on Saturday
the 22nd March. This event is organised by the NZ Salmon Anglers Association and details of entry are in the official booklets which are available at most Christchurch tackle stores. The fishing area for this event is between the mouth and SH1. 

Fin Clipping Weekend at Montrose
15th & 16th March 2014

The start of the Annual Chinook Salmon Smolt fin clipping program will take place at Montrose Station on the 15th and 16th of March.

This important task of marking Chinook salmon for the purpose of identification within the fishery is one of the most essential fisheries management tools we have. 

North Canterbury Fish & Game are inviting members of the public to assist members of the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association and the Canterbury Lurefishing Association, with the task of adipose fin clipping approximately 90,000 salmon smolt at Montrose Station. These smolt stocks are destined for three release sites including Whiskey Creek, Montrose Stream and the Otukaikino River.

Numbers of volunteers required to complete this task this weekend are 60 in total. Members of the public are welcome and will be adopted by the clubs and be included on the daily registration list required by the landowners at Montrose. Please invite your friends and their children to come and enjoy this social and educational event. Fish and Game will also be providing a BBQ lunch on both days. The car pool meeting point will be at the Yaldhurst Hotel car park at 8am each day.

Montrose Station is located 6km up Blackford Road which is the first turn right heading south from the Rakaia Gorge Bridge. An angler access sign will mark the driveway which leads to the Fish & Game Hatchery. Please note that this is a locked gate and vehicles will only be let through between 9am and 9.30am on both mornings. Volunteer names will also be registered at this point prior to heading down to the hatchery area.

Warm clothes and wet weather gear is advised. Gumboots or waders are also advised.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 7 March 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

Angling prospects for the weekend look exceptional for both trout and salmon anglers. The heavy rain during the week mostly fell in low country areas however some of the streams affected did manage to top up the main snow fed rivers a bit. The Rakaia river did not receive much relief from its current low flow and only rose slightly before dropping back to around 112 cumics. The Wamakariri river however received a much needed rise peaking around 120 cumics and at the time of writing is dirty and not fishable. I suspect that it will not be fishable for a couple of days as the southerly rain affected tributaries can take a long time to clear.

The Ashley river also rose substantially to around 140 cumics. This river will clear quickly but should hold a good flow now for the rest of the season. Thankfully it has also put an end to the on going trout salvages which have been taking place on a weekly basis on this river. The High Counrty rivers and lakes were mostly unaffected by the latest weather pattern and should provide good trout fishing prospects for the weekend. As the days warm up over the weekend the cicadas will start chirping again providing the fly angler with some exciting sport. All High country streams and lakes should provide some great terrestrial style fly fishing opportunities during the month of March.

The weather forecast for the weekend is showing North West winds preceding a Southerly change Saturday morning. Rain is forecast to be minimal from both directions. NW winds will be moderate inland until the Southerly change. Best High country day will be Sunday. Low country should be fair both days.

The increased flows in the Wamakariri river should see the start of the main salmon run over the next few days. This river has been tragically low without any freshes for over a month. The current dirty water should have excited and encouraged salmon to make their run. Anglers should find salmon throughout the entire system within the next week. This river would be my pick for anglers looking for some salmon sport this weekend or through into next week.

The Rakaia river will not have changed in conditions compared with last weekend. It will still be low and clear this weekend. Last weekend marked the annual calendar event of the Rakaia River Salmon Fishing Competition. Around 670 senior anglers entered and caught around 54 salmon over three days. Not great odds, however that is to be expected during low flows. Despite the few salmon caught the event went very well and was a great success. A positive aspect of an event like this is the way it brings anglers together in a social environment. Anglers entered in this competition are also supporting the Rakaia River salmon fishery as all profits from their entry fees are set aside for salmon enhancement programs on the river.

Up coming events on the Waimakariri river are firstly the annual Rangers Competition which will be held at 8.30am until 1.30pm Wednesday 19th  March at Kairaki Beach. All anglers are welcome to take part in this social event. The fishing area is restricted to from the North side of the mouth to the Yacht club. There is no entry fee, great prizes, and Fish and Game will have the BBQ on from 11am.

Following this event will be the annual Waimakariri Salmon Fishing Competition. This event is organsied by the NZ Salmon Anglers Association and will be held on Saturday the 22nd March. Details of entry are in the official booklets which are available at most CHCH tackle stores. The fishing area for this event is from SH1 to the sea.  

Wanted ! Lake Lyndon Lucky Tagged Trout

Fish and Game staff  tagged 26 rainbow Trout and released them into the Lake for the Junior Angler Fishing Day earlier this month. Two of these lucky trout were caught on the day. The tag is located near the dorsal fin and is bright yellow in colour. Each of these tags has a number on it. If you catch one of these fish and want to release it, that’s great, in this case we ask that you simply cut the plastic tag off with scissors or line clippers, and release the fish. All you have to do then is present the tag to North Canterbury Fish and Game at 32 River Road Rangiora to collect a spot prize.

Anglers are currently getting some great fishing opportunities out of the continued release program for the Groynes Ponds. Around 200 salmon and trout are being released into these ponds every 2 weeks. Many of these juniors are now branching out to our High Country Lakes and rivers, and they are taking their friends. These junior anglers our not only our anglers of the future, they are our future protectors of rivers and our environment.

Finally, thanks for the information feed back regarding rainbow trout being caught in the Rakaia River, especially the mouth area. We are very interested in this information so please call me if you catch one. Dirk, 021 221 8378

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 28 Feb 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

Over the last month or so river levels have been very low, with the exception of a couple of small freshes in the Rakaia over the last fortnight which should have attracted a few salmon into the river. The Rakaia Fishing competition starts today and there should be reasonable numbers of salmon in the river. The have been a few salmon caught between the SH1 and Gorge bridges over the last week or so, around eight caught at the mouth yesterday and hopefully this is a good sign of some improved catches as the season has been relatively slow so far.

We are still seeing a handful of salmon caught in the lower Waimakariri each day and good numbers of salmon have been seen near the mouth and tidal reaches waiting to run the river on the next fresh, which is long overdue in the Waimakariri, as it also is in the Hurunui and Waiau rivers. The Hurunui is seeing up to ten salmon caught in the surf some as they too wait for a fresh and I am sure there will be a similar trend in the lower Waiau although boat access to the lower river is now a challenge with the low flows.

Anglers in the Rakaia competition please remember, there is no salmon fishing in the Western Zone of our rivers above the white posts. For those anglers not involved in the competition, please exercise tolerance to the increased numbers of anglers out on the river. Please be generous with your allowances of minor fishing etiquette infractions that are bound to occur from time to time. Also a reminder to jet-boaters that boating through the Rakaia lagoon from the north side is also restricted to around high tide only.

On the trout fishing scene, the high country lakes are continuing to fish well with warmer weather encouraging insect activity and a good option for anglers wishing to venture out, would be Lake Pearson or Grassmere, around the vegetative margins with a large dry fly or small veltec spinner using a light trace. There are still good numbers of Rainbow trout being caught in lakes Georgina and Lyndon following significant releases by Fish & Game recently. Fish and Game have also been releasing large numbers of salmon into the Groynes Fishing Lakes in recent weeks and yesterday, staff observed good numbers of these which will provide good fishing for junior anglers over the weekend. As usual, early morning and evenings are the best times to target these fish.
North Canterbury CSI weekly report
Fish & Game staff drift diving the Hope River

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 21 Feb 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

The weather this weekend looks to be more of the same unsettled weather. Saturday is going to have some high temperatures with gusty North Westerly's in the high country while Sunday is a lot cooler with a south west change. The forecast at the moment is for heavy rain about the divide on Saturday which would be great as our rivers need some decent rainfall.

For those going into the high country it doesn't sound like the best conditions. Sunday is the better day for inland places. Anglers just need to check flows after the North West rain on Saturday to make sure rivers are not going to be dirty. Up until now back country rivers have become very low and clear offering fantastic conditions for fly fishing, but the fish tend to get a little spooky. Hopefully this rain on Saturday will produce a fresh which should encourage the trout to feed a little more.
I have started to hear cicadas in the back country. These are the one insect that can send large docile trout into a feeding frenzy. The thing I like about imitating cicadas with large flies is you don't have to be very precise with the casting. You can land the fly quite heavily on the water as this is what the natural does. I have had many occasions when the trout are ignoring the best presentations of subtle looking flies, only to move several metres to take a cicada imitation that has been clumsily flicked upstream. Exciting stuff.

Low flows in some of our larger rivers can produce some rare opportunities as well. For example the lower gorges on the Hurunui and Waiau Rivers offer some excellent water with reasonable fish numbers. Usually the amount of water flowing through these areas precludes angler access. However at the moment you will find the rivers a lot more negotiable and easier to wade. These areas do not get fished as much as the back country tributaries.

The low flows have meant that some rivers are suffering. The Ashley especially is not in good shape. Fish & Game now have the salvaging effort under control and it should only require one visit a week from now on. However we still encourage anglers to contact us if they see stranded fish in the Ashley or any other river for that matter.

Some of you may have noticed that the ECan website for flows now has temperature readings on most of the rivers. On quite a few occasions the temperature in the lower Waimakariri as been above 20oC. In my opinion, fishing in these conditions would be a waste of time as both salmon and trout tend to just go into survival mode. The Ashley Gorge has been getting high temperatures as well. I remember fishing the Ashley Gorge two years ago when the water temperature was around 21oC. I still saw plenty of fish but they were behaving like they were stressed and were jumping out of the water a lot. They were not interested in feeding at all. So when you check the flows just also take note of the water temperature as well.

All of the lowland spring creeks are still worth some effort at this time of year. The water temperature remains cool in these streams while the height of summer produces an abundance of terrestrial insects such as dragon flies or willow grubs. Trout are often easy to spot because they sit high in the water column to make the most of the increased food source on the surface.

Fish & Game are continuing to release salmon into the Groynes. This weekend should be good fishing there as long as young anglers get there early as the fish tend to go off the feed during these really hot days.

On the salmon front it is still fairly quiet. There is a reasonable amount of fish in the lower reaches of the Waimakariri, while only the odd salmon is being caught in the Rakaia, Hurunui and Waiau. These rivers are very low and clear making upriver salmon fishing difficult. Let's hope that a decent fresh gets some salmon moving up the rivers soon.

Fish & Game would also like to remind those anglers on the lower Waimakariri that we have an obligation to be considerate and co-operative toward all other user groups, and after some anglers raised concerns over the actions of some rowing clubs, we have contacted the CRA asking that their users do the same.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 14 Feb 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

Angling prospects for the weekend look fine for both trout and salmon anglers. We are in a reasonably settled weather pattern for the next few days with no rain forecast in the Alps until about Tuesday next week. The coastal forecast also looks pretty good. A good chance to take advantage of a rare occurrence in Canterbury, light winds! Fish and Game staff have had a busy week with the first of the trout salvages starting. 

The Lake Lyndon pond area at the North West end of the lake dropped dramatically last  weekend and left over 100 adult rainbow trout stranded in very little water. There is a fine line between having too much water for staff to effectively salvage, or not enough to the point of the trout perishing before we can get in there and save them. This is because the bed of this pond is very level for a few hundred meters. When receding levels reach this flat bed area trout are in danger very quickly, and in this latest case we wished we were there the day before. Staff were able to save 42 nice rainbow trout, unfortunately 65 had perished over night. Thank you to the unknown angler whom also bucketed a number of trout to safety the night before.

The Ashley River has also dropped to the point that it now has disconnected pools below the Rangiora Bridge. Staff are watching this river on a daily basis waiting for low enough flows to use the electric fishing machine effectively. Once again this is a fine line between too much and not enough water. As one area dries in the middle reaches of this river, other areas up stream and down are also receding to critical levels. Staff had successful salvages there during the week and are ready to go on this one, at any time.

If you are out and about in areas of low flows over the next few weeks and notice any waterways in our region that are looking like drying up please call Fish and Game as soon as possible. Dirk Barr, 021 221 8378. Tony Hawker, 021 221 8325. Steve Terry, 021 221 8327.

All our High Country Lakes are worth a look this weekend. The dry fly indicatior nymph method is the most effective for fly anglers. I like to use a Humpy pattern or Black Gnat as the indicator, with a small Hare and Copper or Black and Peacock nymph about 700mm below, the length of trace will depend on the depth of water.

Terrestrial style patterns will also come into their own at this time of the season. Much larger patterns are used to imitate blowflies and the infamous cicada. This is undoubtedly an exciting time of the season for the dry fly angler. I like to refer to it as “Chirp an Slurp time”  In the warm temperatures of February/ March the loud chirping of the cicadas can be heard throughout the Canterbury High Country. Some are green in colour and some are black. The perfect case scenario for cicada fishing is warm and sunny, with a light to medium breeze. These heavy and sometimes cumbersome flying creatures will often crash land on the water, and it is this splat that the trout are waiting for. They will often rise freely to a roughly presented cast, as a splatting good cicada is way too irresistible for a snack. River beds and lakes are both cicada habitat.

The searun trout in the lower reaches of our snow fed rivers are difficult to catch at present. The main rivers  are now very low and clear and searun trout activity will only be at night unless there is a fresh in the rivers. Fish with lighter line and smaller lures, even in the dark it makes a difference to angling success.

The salmon season to date is starting to build. There have been some great catches, for this time of year, in the past few weeks in the lower reaches of the Waimakariri River. Many of these salmon have been fin clipped which indicates that hatchery smolt releases 2 years ago have been successful. The hatchery stocks that are in the river at present, and are not caught by anglers, will return to the trap at Silver Stream and the Otukaikino river. Fish & Game staff will then manually strip these fish of their ova and milt and use the ova and smolt to further enhance the Waimakariri fishery. These salmon are not only successfully providing anglers with increased opportunities, they are also providing salmon enhancement programmes with an important tool for future fisheries.

Salmon returns have in general terms been low to date this season. The Waimakariri has been an exception to this so far. Around 70 salmon have been caught in the MacKintosh’s Rocks area alone in the past 3 weeks. Anglers there are eagerly awaiting the peak of the season which is due in March.

Rakaia and Hurunui anglers are having some success however it seems that all rivers are now in much need of rain in the Alps to get the fish moving. Low clear river conditions make salmon very hard to catch up river. The best salmon prospects for this weekend will be in the tidal areas of the rivers.  

Wanted ! Lake Lyndon Lucky Tagged Trout
Fish and Game staff  tagged 26 Rainbow Trout and released them into the Lake for the Junior Angler Fishing Day earlier this month. Two of these lucky trout were caught on the day. The tag is located near the dorsal fin and is bright yellow in colour. Each of these tags has a number on it.. If you catch one of these fish and want to release it, that’s great, in this case we ask that you simply cut the plastic tag off with scissors or line clippers, and release the fish. All you have to do then is present the tag to North Canterbury Fish and Game at 32 River Road Rangiora to collect a spot prize.

Fire Hazards
Much of our region is of extreme fire risk at present. Anglers are advised not to light camp fires anywhere around access tracks to waterways especially as these areas often have tinder dry grass and forestry around them. There are some very concerned farmers around these access points that know that it would not take much for a breeze to send a spark into a volatile area. North Canterbury Fish and Game are asking all anglers to be extremely responsible in these areas!

The Groynes Junior Fishery
Junior Anglers are currently getting some great fishing opportunities out of the continued release program for the Groynes Ponds. Around 200 salmon and trout are being released into these ponds every 2 weeks. Many of these juniors are now branching out to our High Country Lakes and rivers, and they are taking their friends. These junior anglers our not only our anglers of the future, they are our future protectors of rivers and our environment.

Finally, thanks for the information feed back regarding rainbow trout being caught in the Rakaia River, especially the mouth area. We are very interested in this information so please call me if you catch one. Dirk, 021 221 8378.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 31 Jan 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. This weekend looks like a stunner. There is going to be a big high sitting over the South Island producing fine weather.

This would be an excellent weekend to go on a camping/fishing trip into the backcountry, especially to the lakes. The still mornings should produce some surface activity as there are plenty of dragon flies on our high country lakes at the moment. Some of the lakes such as Georgina get pretty warm this time of year which reduces the brown trout feeding to morning or evenings. Rainbows in these lakes tend to go out deeper in the cooler water.

The backcountry rivers should be superb this weekend. All should be clear and fishable. Fish & Game carried out a drift dive survey in the Lewis Pass area this week. Although some of the fish were large specimens, a lot of them were not on station feeding due to the large angler presence. This can be challenging at times. Don’t expect to get easy fish near any main road as there are a lot of anglers and tourists about at the moment. The fish are still there but become increasingly hard to catch. If you do find one and it appears to be feeding your cast will have to be perfect fist time and your flies and presentation will have to be realistic.

Another method is to target the heavier faster water with big dry flies. Often fish will move into this type of water as anglers spook fish from the edges of the river. Often these fish feel more secure in the heavier water and are more willing to take a fly. Spin fishing in these clear rivers at this time of year is more suited to early morning or evening at change of light.
If it is salmon you are after I am pleased to report there are reasonable numbers being caught this week. The best bet at the moment would be the Waimakariri below State Highway One. The mouth of the Hurunui and Rakaia would also be worth a look as would upriver in the middle reaches of the Rakaia. All these rivers are dropping fast and will be quite low over the weekend.

Fish & Game has released some more fish into the Groynes this week for the last week of the school holidays. Shrimp and softbaits are the most effective methods here. Fishing is best before 9am. The fish seem less likely to take during the middle of the day.

We are now entering the time of year when some of our rivers such as the Ashley risk running dry in some reaches. Fish & Game monitor these rivers the best we can but we cannot be everywhere at once. So if you notice a stream running dry and fish are getting stranded please give us a call. We have the equipment to be able to rescue these fish and return them to permanently flowing water.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 17 Jan 2014

Tony Hawker: Fish and Game Officer

The main alpine rivers at the time of writing (Thursday) look ideal for salmon fishing. However there is rain forecast later today in the alps which could bring down another fresh remember to check the following link before heading out just to check the flows are fishable.

Other streams such as the Selwyn or Ashley have a good healthy flow at the moment. Once again just check the link above before fishing these streams in case the southerly rain make them dirty. The Selwyn is still producing large fish in the lower reaches, but they are getting increasingly harder to catch. Bait fishing at night is still the most productive method.
The high country lakes are starting to get warmer now requiring some different techniques from anglers. Rainbow trout will be heading deep during the day.

If it is a windless day there should be plenty of surface activity to give away the position of cruising browns as they break the surface to take insects. The lakes will be fishing best in the warm evenings as trout move closer to the edge to feed. The best option is to camp the night and fish the evening and early morning as these are the most productive times.
One option that is worth serious consideration is Lake Georgina. This week we released 277 adult rainbows averaging 1.2kg in weight into the lake. These are hatchery reared fish that have become too large for the intended purpose. They are responding well to spinners as they tend to hang out a bit deeper than browns. Once again the evening should see a lot of activity on this lake with the additional fish being added.

The release of catchable fish into high country lakes is a rare occurrence so anglers should make the most of this opportunity. This is a particularly good lake for fishing and camping with kids as shoreline access is so easy. Remember also that Lake Lyndon has a high population of rainbows due to the release of 1300 catchable sized rainbows in December for a fishing event.

Backcountry rivers should clear quick enough for the weekend to produce some good fishing. This is a good time of year for exploratory fishing with big bushy dry flies. If you spot a fish and it doesn’t respond to these big flies. Immediately change to something more subtle such as a small dry fly (adams, grey dun) or a small nymph (pheasant tail, hare and copper).

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 24 Dec 2013

The season so far has been a consistent one for trout anglers with some great sport had in the North Canterbury region. There have been some very impressive searun trout caught, especially in the Ellesmere tributaries, with some weighing in the 12 - 16 pound bracket. The lower Selwyn River has a particularly large number of trout shoaled up around the huts area, and although hard to catch, they do have bite times during the night that can provide some real action.

The Ashley River is also producing some nice fish in the upper reaches so that will certainly be worth a look especially with the low flows at present.

All our High Country Lakes are worth a look over the xmas period. The dry fly indicatior nymph method is the most effective for fly anglers. I like to use a Humpy pattern or Manuka Beetle as the indicator, with a small Hare and Copper or Black and Peacock nymph about 700mm below, the length of trace will depend on the depth of water. On a good day the trout will be on the dry fly. Another tip worth remembering is when the trout are being selective try something unusually big. A large Black Gnat or Cicada pattern, size 10# or even 8# can induce a take.

For anglers looking to fly fish for challenging trout, in one of the regions most beautiful river valleys, the Hope and Boyle rivers have some very large Browns to try your luck with. On a day with a light wind they may be fooled with a large Black Gnat or something outrageously big crash landing on the water.

The searun trout are on in the lower reaches of our snow fed rivers. Both the Waimakariri and Rakaia River mouths are fishing well at present. One or two days after a fresh, and in the evening or night is the best time to catch them. Streamer Style patterns are the best. Try Parsons Glory, Black Prince, or Hopes Silvery. The Black Prince is often a forgotten lure these days, but I wouldn’t be with out it. Simple pattern but very effective.

The weather forecast for the next few days is a bit patchy. Some of the previous forecasts of rain in the Alps have not been flooding the Rivers for long, and they have been clearing quickly. It is these windows on the back of a fresh that entice and excite trout to feed and salmon to run. Make the most of these windows for the best sport.

The salmon season to date has not been great. There have been a few caught in the past few days in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers,  but they are few and far between. In comparison with last season at the same time, the Rakaia River especially was all go. However Salmon runs are impossible to predict. They could turn up tomorrow? In the old days it was not even worth going out until February with the bulk of the run occurring in March. Unfortunately, environmental factors at sea that may effect Salmon smolt survival is something that we can not monitor, but must have an effect on our fisheries.

Wanted ! Lake Lyndon Lucky Tagged Trout
Fish and Game staff  tagged 26 rainbow trout and released them into the Lake for the Junior Angler Fishing Day earlier this month. Two of these lucky trout were caught on the day. The tag is located near the dorsal fin and is bright yellow in colour. Each of these tags has a number on it. If you catch one of these fish and want to release it, that’s great, in this case we ask that you simply cut the plastic tag off with scissors or line clippers, and release the fish. All you have to do then is present the tag to North Canterbury Fish and Game at 32 River Road Rangiora to collect a spot prize.

Out of Region Angling
Remember that if you are on holiday and fishing outside the North Canterbury Region over the summer that regulations do differ from region to region. Limit bags, methods etc may not be the same! Consult your regulation guide before you go fishing to be sure.

Finally, thanks for the information feed back regarding rainbow trout being caught in the Rakaia River, especially the mouth area. We are very interested in this information so please call me if you catch one. Dirk, 021 221 8378.

The Groynes Junior Fishery
A Junior Anglers Xmas present of 100 Rainbow Trout have been released into the Groynes ponds today. The Junior fishery is working very well with many children getting their first angling experience there and then moving on to the High Country Lakes and Rivers. Make sure your  children do have the required junior licence whist fishing, even the Groynes they must have it on them. A reminder also that you may only assist your children with casting! The Groynes ponds are a junior only fisherey. Consult our regulation guide if in doubt.

Tight Lines, and Merry Xmas!
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 29 Nov 2013

Prospects for the weekend don’t look that great for North Canterbury anglers, with strong nor-west winds and heavy rain forecast for the alps on Friday night and Saturday morning, which is likely to dis-colour the larger rivers until well into next week. This is followed by a change to a southerly which may well dis-colour the foot-hill rivers and lowland streams. Either way, fishing options don’t look great for the weekend. The larger East Coast rivers have not seen a decent fresh for a few weeks so this should be just what salmon anglers have been waiting for to bring the salmon in. there have been a few landed this season, although things have been relatively quiet over the last week. Anglers should make the most of the next drop in flows before the next Nor-wester brings the rivers down again, a common occurrence at this time of year, and it is not un-common for the rivers to be unfishable for upwards of two to three weeks.

Sea-run trout fishing has been very good recently, especially in the Waimakariri River around the two bridges. Leading up to Christmas, the main rivers should fish well for these fish and the rivers are fishable for these sea-run trout a day or two before they are salmon fishable on the tail end of a fresh.

Lake Ellesmere tributaries are continuing to fish well at night with plenty of good size trout about. The cooler weather over the last week is likely to have slowed terrestrial activity and I have heard very little from the high country lakes, and with the weather forecast not favorable for the alps this weekend, will likely remain that way for the next week.

Family Fishing Day at Lake Lyndon
North Canterbury Fish and Game are inviting families new to angling to an educational fishing day at Lake Lyndon on the 8th of December. Fish & Game will be releasing around 1,000 x 700g Rainbow trout into the lake on the day of this event so anglers will have a great chance of success. Around 20 of these will be tagged and if any of these trout are caught by anglers and presented at the weigh station located at the lodge at the south end of the lake, they will be given a prize. This event is the next step for all of those junior anglers who have started learning to fish at the Groynes Lakes in Christchurch. The lake regulations allow trolling from boats, and bait fishing for “junior anglers only”. On the day, volunteers and Fish and Game staff will be available to help out with techniques, and give advice to help junior anglers learn more about becoming a successful angler. Please download the promotional flyer here

NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
When: 18 December 2013
Time: 6.30 pm
Where: Canterbury Horticultural Society Hall
57 Riccarton Avenue
Christchurch

For those that want a copy of the Annual Report when it becomes available, please email northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz with your name and address.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 25 Nov 013

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. Thankfully the wild spring weather seems to have settled down and the rivers are showing some sings of normality lately. This weekend looks superb has another big high parks itself over the South Island.

Anglers targeting the high country lakes should have ideal conditions. Trout in both lakes and rivers should start reacting to dry flies as increasing daytime temperatures mean more terrestrial insects flying around the surface of the water. Lately I have observed dragon flies on the surface of the lakes. These definitely encourage the trout to look up. Sometimes the trout become aerial in pursuit of these insects. An exact imitation isn’t necessary when the trout are in this mood. Any bushy dry fly will do. If there is not much surface activity than try and ambush cruising trout with a nymph. Cast the nymph well ahead of the trout while it is cruising the beat and just twitch the nymph slightly when the trout is in the near vicinity.
Back country rivers are also in ideal condition this weekend. All of the rivers should be in low clear condition as there hasn’t been any rain for a while. A recent drift dive in a back country river revealed that despite there has been some obvious flooding and scouring the trout numbers are similar to last year, although some of the trout were a bit under conditioned.
There are reports now of the odd salmon being caught on the lower Waimakariri and the Rakaia. These rivers are dropping fast and are an ideal colour at the moment for salmon fishing. The next fresh should bring in the first significant run of salmon.

Hill fed streams such as the Selwyn and Ashley are now flowing low and clear. The lower Selwyn and other Lake Ellesmere tributaries continue to fish well with lots of large fish seen at these river mouths. These fish are going to get progressively harder as the season progresses. November is my favourite months for the Lake Ellesmere tributaries as the hatch of brown beetles gives me a slight chance of luring these big fish to the surface.

For those of you with young kids, check out the Groynes fishing lakes. Salmon are regularly released into these lakes throughout the summer. Please remember that is a junior fishery only. Families should also pencil in the 8 of December for the Lake Lyndon fishing day hosted by Fish & Game. The day aims at encouraging families out to our country lakes as a stepping stone form the Groynes fishing ponds. Keep tuned in to these reports for more details of this event.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 25 Oct 013

Prospects for the weekend don’t look that great for North Canterbury anglers, with strong winds and heavy rain forecast for the alps and the rivers will continue to be high and discolored until well into next week. The larger East Coast rivers have seen four good freshes in the last two weeks, which is not unusual for this time of year and leading up to Christmas, anglers should make the most of any drop in flows before the next Nor-wester brings the rivers down. These rivers should fish well when flows drop off, especially for sea-run trout in the lower reaches and salmon anglers are also gearing up for the season, as it won’t be long before we hear a report of the first salmon caught for the season.

A good prospect for anglers this weekend would be the lower Ashley River, as the flow here has been receding all week and should be good around the lower reaches. Good numbers of sea-run brown trout should also have entered Lake Ellesmere as it has been open to the sea for the last few weeks and as usual, the lake tributaries will fish better in the evening and at night over the next month or so.

The opening of the High Country lakes is just over a week away on Saturday the 2nd November, which will be celebrated again this year with a fishing competition at Lake Coleridge, with a prize pool valued at over $10,000. The focus of the competition is on participation, and every angler who shows their licence at the weight in will be given a ticket for spot prizes. The competition will be based at Ryton Bay where there will be a Fish & Game tent and weigh station. Weigh-in is from 9am – 3pm, with the prize draw at 4pm. Please ensure you arrive at the weigh-in before 3pm to avoid missing out.  

Lake Coleridge is the most popular lake in the region for fishing and this event is a great way for anglers to celebrate the traditional high country opening. Fish & Game have been stocking the lakes in the area for a number of years now and over the last twelve months, have released around 80,000 salmon smolt and fry and 7,500 yearling rainbow trout into Lake Coleridge and its tributaries, with an additional 5,000 odd rainbows released into the surrounding lakes.
Good luck if you are heading out for a fish over the long weekend

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 11 Oct 013

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. Hopefully you have managed to get out for fish already this season, because this weekend is not looking the like the best conditions. Most of the hill fed streams such as the Selwyn and Ashley are running high and dirty after the rain this week. Some of the spring fed streams such as Harts Creek or the Otukaikino may be clear enough by the weekend.

The main alpine rivers are still worth a look around the river mouths, especially the Rakaia. The very top of these catchments will be starting to clear, but it is going to be another windy couple of days in the high-country.
For those desperate to get out there are some lakes open such as Lake Forsyth or Loch Katrine and Lake Sumner in North Canterbury. There has been anglers spotted fishing Lake Lyndon recently which is closed until November 2nd. If you are out and about this weekend and see anglers fishing where they are not supposed to, please let Fish and Game know. It is also very helpful if you take down details like car registration numbers. Otherwise there is little that we can do without this information.

Lake Ellesmere is currently open to the sea so there should be some sea runners entering the lake. Anglers can either try to target these fish coming into the lake near Taumutu or wait until the congregate at stream mouths chasing bullies and smelt. The Selwyn is too high at the moment but there should be some good fishing there as it recedes so it could be an option late next week.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 4 Oct 2013

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. It’s been a challenging start to the season already with dirty rivers and high winds. I spent a couple of days around the Hanmer region for opening. Clear fishable water was limited with lots of anglers driving around trying to find some clear running rivers. I did manage to find some water to fish that contained some nice trout. One thing that was pleasing was at least 50% of the trout I caught were willing to rise to a dry fly. In general the fish seemed to be feeding more actively than usual at this time of year.

For this weekend the weather looks a bit windy in the highcountry but at least it looks like it might not rain for a while. This will give the rivers a chance to clear. If you are heading for the highcountry than target the upper tributaries and bush fed streams as these will be the first to clear.

The best option is probably the low country streams this weekend. Any of the tributaries that flow into Lake Ellesmere would be worth a look. The Selwyn and LII both have large clear healthy flows at the moment. ECan is also working on an opening for Lake Ellesmere which will help with fish migration into the catchment. Fishing at night in these streams is popular. If, like me, night fishing is not your thing I have had reasonable success casting to fish in the late evening on caddis imitations. The odd one in the Selwyn is even caught during the day at this time of year.

Closer to Christchurch on the Otukaikino or Styx could also be worth a look as these are stable streams that remain clear. The Otukaikino in particular has been holding good numbers of fish in the last couple of years. The Ashley is still too high to fish at the gorge but the lower reaches will be worth a look for sea run trout. The colour should be just right for the weekend. The other larger rivers are probably going to be too dirty to fish. The Rakaia might clear enough by Sunday for a fish at the mouth for sea run trout or even a very early salmon!

Most of the highcountry lakes are now closed until November 2nd. There are a few exceptions with Loch Katrine, Lake Sumner and Lake Forsyth being open all year round. Lake Forsyth is well worth a look at this time of year as it contains large sea run trout. Some sort of smelt imitation fished in the evening would be the best method.
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 26 April 2013 (Note Final Report until the new season in October)

Welcome to the final report of the 2012-13 freshwater fishing season. Fishing has been fairly slow over the last week with the spell of unbelievable weather having come to its inevitable end. Anglers are still catching the odd salmon in the middle reaches of the Rakaia and Waimakariri but as spawning approaches, the condition of the fish is starting to fade. If you do want to catch a late season salmon to take home for the freezer, you are better to fish in the lower reaches in the hope of finding one which has just come in from the sea.

Prospects for the weekend are likely to be affected by the weather. A fairly nasty north west front is predicted to hit Canterbury on Friday afternoon, settle down a bit on Saturday and come back with a vengeance on Sunday afternoon. Sunday morning looks to be the best bet for reasonably calm conditions.

In terms of fish, as mentioned above most of the salmon run has now either passed and the fish that are still around are in spawning condition and probably best left alone. Brown trout are also starting to get ready for spawning and can be difficult to catch. Rainbow trout should still be feeding vigorously so my advice is to fish a high country lake which has some rainbows present.

Although many North Canterbury rivers and lakes close to fishing at the end of April, all year round fishing is available in a number of waters. Check your regulation guide for details. Please note that the gamebird hunting season opens on May 4 and runs for three months. It is probably best to stay off the river on opening day, and after that to be careful when moving around places where people may be hunting. While the onus for firearms safety completely lies with the hunter, non hunters can disturb birds and make them difficult to hunt.

Fish and Game will continue to send out email notices about current issues and coming events during the winter, but these weekly reports will now take a break until the start of the new season in October.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 19 April 2013

Welcome to the North Canterbury weekly fishing report. As the traditional fishing season draws to an end most of us find ourselves reflecting on the season that’s been. Stories of beautiful conditioned salmon, windless stunning dry fly days in the high country, and big sea runs in the tidal reaches. Yes it would be fair to say that there have been plenty of opportunities for the anglers. But how is it all stacking up from a fisheries management point of view.

The North Canterbury region have recently decided to take a different tact on the methods used for counting spawning salmon this season. This is because it is the consensus now that the “area under the curve” model and “salmon residential time” in spawning streams, or SRT, is proving inconsistent. This does not mean that the data collected to date is not valid or valuable, it simply means that the new approach of a “one of peak total count” maybe more accurate. Peak times in individual streams and catchments have already been consistently determined by the previous method. Staff and council are confident in this new approach, and it also means a lot less expensive helicopter time, compared to area under the curve counts, which require fortnightly counts x 4.

Food for thought.
As anglers we all have an invested interest in the fishery, and there are many and varied opinions out there on how it should be maintained and enhanced. At this time of year the most frequently asked question is, how many salmon are spawning? But is this the most important question? Data collected by North Canterbury Fish and Game staff over the past 20 years does not show any correlation between a large number of spawning adults, producing an equally abundant season 3 years later. Or a poor return of spawning adults producing a bad season 3 years later. In fact the data collected has often suggested the opposite result. So the question of how many fish are spawning may not be that important!

Maybe the question should be how many salmon do we need spawning in this stream? and how many do we need in that one?

An example of what I am getting at here is this. If I were to take a group of salmon anglers to the Montrose stream, and show them 400 salmon spawning in it, they would all say wow! That is so amazing! what a great season it will be in three years time! The reality is yes! a lot of eggs will hatch out in those 200 redds and grow into little salmon. But do the anglers realise that almost all of these salmon will die?

The reason for this is that when the, “approximately 600.000 little salmon fry” have absorbed all the food they carry in their egg sacks and wiggle out of their redds. They will need the spring fed Montrose stream, as their nursery, to provide them with their new food source. Here is the problem, there are not enough micro invertebrates, or insects, in the Montrose stream to support 600,000 salmon fry.

So they will be hungry! Yes, but not only that, they will be weak. As we know salmon are not stupid, and as all species of animals do, they will go looking for food. Unfortunately however, if they leave the Montrose nursery stream prematurely they are then instantly met by the mighty snow fed Rakaia, which offers even less than where they came from!

Salmon stock returns.
Wild origin counts will not be available until next month, but early indications are that a good number of salmon have returned to spawn. Hatchery returns are evident earlier due to the mainly low country location of them. At this point of time approximate figures for the Silver Stream trap Waimak are about 100, Montrose trap Rakaia 100. At the Otukaikino we have observed at least 25 adults at the out flow of the race ways at Isaacs, non trapped. This is looking very encouraging due to the recent release program there which is in it’s third year now. A trap was installed on this stream this week to gather more data.

Harvest time will start with the hatcheries stock over the next week, and another generation of salmon will be nurtured for the 2014 enhancement release program.

Fin clipping weekends proved very successful the past two weeks and are over now for another season. Thanks to the amazing dedication of over 100 volunteers from the NZ Salmon Anglers Association and The Canterbury Lurefishing Association, and members of the public, 155.000 smolt were fin clipped, and are now ready for release in July this year.

Salmon and Trout Scene
Prospects for a salmon are looking tough again for this weekend with the rivers being so clear, again! There is a bit of rain forecast though which will at least keep conditions dull which may help. There was a report from last week of a Rakaia angler landing a 12 and a 32 pound salmon on a wet miserable morning in the mid reaches. So there is still the odd one there. The lower reaches on the Waimak and Rakaia are quiet now and it seems like that will be it for this season.
Best options for a fish will be in the upper reaches this weekend. It is important to remember that there is no salmon fishing permitted in the western zone. The white posts defining the East/West boundary zones are clearly marked and listed in your regulation book. This also includes , no salmon fishing permitted in Lake Sumner which is also in the Western zone.
For trout anglers, the low country streams can be good fun at this time of year as mayfly hatches can be abundant on dusk, especially on cloudy days. Lake Coleridge often fishes well this month for rainbow trout, which will be in nice condition. Spinning or fly fishing around the lake edge near inflows is the best bet. Trolling with a dark coloured toby or rapala is also a good option this month.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 12 April 2013

As the salmon season tapers off in some rivers, many anglers have packed their fishing gear away until next season, however there are still reports of good numbers of salmon in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers. The mid reaches of the Rakaia, particularly between the SH1 and Gorge Bridge are worth a look before 8am each day. In the Waimakariri, the mouth, Macintosh’s Rocks and the Banana Hole all still yielding fish. Reports I have heard indicate that there are also still reasonable numbers of salmon in the upper reaches of the rivers below the white posts and fishing in both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Gorges has been yielding a few salmon for keen anglers in recent weeks, although these two gorges are really only accessible by jet boat, and are becoming increasingly harder to catch as the season comes to an end. The Waiau and Hurunui Rivers have quietened right off now with only the odd salmon caught in recent weeks.

The weather forecast for the weekend looks great with light winds until Sunday evening. With low and clear rivers at present, trout fishing upriver can be quite rewarding and both the upper Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers have been producing some nice trout in the side braids and holes in recent weeks. Please remember that fishing for both trout and salmon is now closed in the Western Zone of the Rakaia with Waimakariri anglers having until the end of April to fish for trout in the western zone.

Anglers wishing to head into the high country might like to try Lake Coleridge, as salmon are starting to think about spawning and are often caught either near the mouth of the Ryton River or trolling around Ryton Bay in April. Remember fishing is closed within 100m of any inflowing stream during the winter season so you only have until the end of April to take advantage of this salmon fishing near the Ryton Mouth.

Salmon fishing in the Groynes fishing lakes has slowed off but anglers are still catching the odd salmon in the three main fishing lakes, especially the one closest to the Clearwater golf course. The best bet for parents wishing to take their kids for a fish is at first and last light using any of the authorised methods, worms and shrimps working well. Around 300 more salmon are due to be released into the Groynes fishing lakes late next week.

Volunteers are required to help fin-clip salmon at the Montrose Hatchery this Sunday. A free BBQ lunch will be provided. This is an ideal opportunity to take the whole family out for the day with a variety of different fish to have a look at. To get to the hatchery, head South approximately 2 km from the Rakaia Gorge, take the first turn to your right up Blackford Road and head up approximately 6 km where you will see a Fish & Game sign on a fence. Please meet here at 8:45 as the gates will be locked after this. Alternatively you can meet at the Yaldhurst Pub car park at 8am car pool.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 5 April 2013

The salmon season is over and so too is the run of warm, dry and wind free days. Historically the salmon migration reaches its peak in mid March with fish numbers tapering off as the fishing season comes to an end. As in previous years, to increase the number of successful spawning salmon, the season has been shortened by a month. In the Waitaki River the salmon catch in the lower river has been affected with spilling of excess water through hydro dams in January, high flows experienced throughout the remainder of the season and a river mouth configuration which provided limited salmon angling opportunities. Conversely, fishing up river where the flows carried less sediment, the catch rate was much better and in my opinion the harvest was up on previous seasons. The number of jet boats using the Kurow boat ramp a sure indication that some success has been experienced. High flows certainly impeded pedestrian anglers access and those owning jet boats had an advantage.

The Rangitata River suffered through a period of low, clear flows in a protracted “norwest” free period later in the season however angler diarists on the south mouth recorded the best catch since the 2009-2010 season landing 548 fish. Colleague Hamish Stevens has just completed the first of 5 upper Rangitata aerial spawning counts and reports a count of 1169 spawning salmon, the highest number for at least a decade. Spawning counts provide Fish&Game with escapement populations (numbers of fish that are not caught by anglers) and redd counts, however much of what happens post spawning is beyond our management. The high count provides cautious optimism for the remaining counts, and that the salmon numbers in the Waitaki will mirror those of the Rangitata River. Waitaki River salmon spawning surveys are scheduled for mid May. Unfortunately unless there is significant rainfall in the Hakataramea River catchment in the next week or so the salmon count in this important spawning tributary will not be good. The present low flow of 960 litres per second will do little to encourage a spawning migration.

As part of CSI’s salmon conservation effort, two staff members decided to do a ranging run on the Waitaki River on Easter Monday, April 1st. They reported that there were no “April fools”, no salmon fishing was detected which was pleasing.
Sockeye salmon have been well distributed throughout the Waitaki catchment a result of the high flows and spilling of excess storage water in January. Fish & Game have received several reports of dying fish, which in all cases have been spent sockeye salmon. Unable to reach their natal spawning beds because of impassable hydro dams, they have sought out alternative spawning gravels in most Waitaki Valley lake tributaries. As with all Pacific salmon the sockeye dies soon after spawning. A species not well known, their involuntary downstream journeys has certainly raised sockeye salmon awareness amongst anglers.

The long, dry and windless period has favoured the many lake and river users. Caddis and mayfly hatches are still occurring with many specimens of the former collecting on the lighted windows of home at night.
Now that my summer projects are completed fishing is back on the agenda perhaps a bit late but if the settled weather resumes the possibilities are numerous. Slow glides under overhanging willows is a good place for the sawfly larvae to be on top of the menu. Commonly called the willow grub, it is a small but a most sought after delicacy for brown trout, and I think I know just the place to find some.

All waters have receded after recent rain however levels are slightly elevated compared with flows of one month ago.


'Sockeye salmon in spawning colours guard their buried eggs after spawning in the gravels of the lower Ohau River.” G.Hughes.

"Sockeye salmon in spawning colours guard their buried eggs after spawning in the gravels of the lower Ohau River.” G.Hughes.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 22 March 2013

Earlier this week the regions rivers had a brief reprieve from the low flows with a small fresh following the rain we received. This triggered a few salmon to head further upriver, however with river flows again low and clear, fishing has gone relatively quiet in mid-water reaches. The salmon will be sitting in deep holes again and upriver fishing is likely to only produce fish at first and last light. Over the last few weeks, the lower Waimakariri has been the place to be with reasonable numbers coming out of the tidal reaches every day.

The Waimakariri salmon run is traditionally later than other east coast rivers, and we should see good fishing continue into April, a time when most anglers have usually packed up their gear for the season! There is nor-west rain forecast for later this weekend and into next week, which hopefully brings a decent fresh to the rivers and gets the salmon moving.

Over the last two months staff and volunteers have been busy rescuing fish from a number of streams in the Lake Ellesmere catchment, along with many from the Ashley River where the flows dropped daily, stranding fish in every pool.
Some of the pools only held water for a few days before drying and the race was on to salvage as many as possible.
Thankfully the rain we had earlier this week has remedied this problem and there is now a healthy flow in the previously dry reaches of the Ashley, so let’s hope this is the end of the salvaging for the season.

Anglers please note in your enthusiasm to chase the salmon, that salmon fishing above the white posts in the western zones of these rivers is not permitted - in an effort to increase spawning numbers for future years.

On the trout fishing scene, things have gone a little quiet with trout going deep to avoid warm water and as the cool weather slows down insect activity, however it seems that Lake Coleridge has started to pick up again which it often does in the later stages of the season.

Over the past week, Fish & Game have released over 300 salmon into the Groynes Fishing Lakes. This would be well worth a look this weekend for families with children under 17 years old.

Volunteers sought for salmon fin-clipping day at Peacock Springs Hatchery

What:

Fish & Game have 60,000 eight month old salmon to fin-clip before they are released – so we need your help! The process of fin-clipping involves placing salmon in a fish bin containing an anesthetising agent where they are temporarily knocked out so volunteers can fin-clip them using scissors. They are then placed back into the raceway where they immediately recover in the fresh water.

When:

Volunteer fin-clipping days will be held the weekends of the 6th & 7th April and 13th & 14th April at 8.30am. The fin clipping will be finished by 3pm on each of these days. You are welcome to come for just one of the days.

Where:

Volunteers are to meet at the gate to the Isaac Quarry on Mcleans Island Road (Christchurch) at 8.30am. To get there turn off Johns Road into Mcleans Island Road (this intersection has major road works at present and may be closed so best to head up Sawyers Arms Road, through the Johns Road roundabout and turn left onto Logistics Road which will take you back to Mcleans Island Road). Drive past the Isaac Construction Main Office entry until you see the second entrance about 2km later on your right. At 8.30 am volunteers will be escorted to the rearing facility.

What to bring:

Gumboots, a wet weather jacket and warm clothes. Fish & Game will supply volunteers with a BBQ lunch and drinks. Kids welcome.

Why do we do it:

Fin-clipping helps Fish & Game monitor the effectiveness of their hatchery operations. Past phone surveys have indicated that around 10% of salmon caught come from hatchery releases; however at certain times of the year it can be up to 50%. Fish from the hatchery are released into the Waimakariri and Rakaia catchments, and also into Lake Coleridge.
For more information contact: Dirk Barr, Hatchery Manager
North Canterbury Fish & Game
Phone: 021 221 8378 or Office 03 366 9191

Review of regulations

North Canterbury Fish & Game are reviewing angling regulations this year. Anglers that would like any changes made to the regulations please put your request by email to northcanterbury@fishandgame.org.nz or post to North Canterbury Fish & Game, c/o The Department of Conservation, PO Box 50, Woodend 7641, by Friday 19th April. A meeting for submitters to discuss the submissions will be held at the Department of Conservation office, 32 River Road, Rangiora on the 15th May from 7 – 10pm.
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 14 March 2013

Although it has been a fantastic summer for BBQs and camping holidays, the long dry spell is taking its toll on our lowland fisheries. The Ashley, Selwyn, Hororata, Hawkins and various Lake Ellesmere tributaries need some significant rain before they are worth fishing again. F&G staff have now salvaged over 800 trout from the lower reaches of the Ashley.
The low flows in our main alpine rivers have also made it challenging for salmon anglers. It is really only the river mouths and the lower reaches of the Waimakariri that is producing regular catches.

Although weather conditions have been great for high country fishing, the reports are that this has been tough going as well. Warm lake temperatures have meant that trout have gone deep, meaning less opportunity for shoreline anglers hoping to target cruising fish.

There is one advantage to low river levels though. It opens up opportunities to fish water that is usually too big to negotiate. Both the Hurunui and Waiau Rivers have excellent gorgy water throughout there catchments that are only negotiable in these low flows. I remember one day in March 2010 I managed to negotiate a gorge in the middle reaches of the Hurunui that is usually inaccessible. There were numerous trout in clear water feeding near the surface. They were also not as fussy as their more angler experienced upriver cousins. Apparently we are meant to receive rain on Sunday and Monday. So Saturday might be the best day to get out and explore these low river opportunities.

The lower reaches of the Waimakariri River have seen the appearance of a seal over the last week or so. At least one unlucky angler has had his potential catch taken from his line. DoC is looking at moving him on next week. The Waimakariri salmon fishing competition is being held on Saturday, and you can register at the weigh in station near the mouth until 0900.


Lindsay Black with a 20lb Salmon caught at ‘Spot X’ on the waimak this morning.

Lindsay Black with a 20lb Salmon caught at ‘Spot X’ on the waimak this morning.

For those of you wanting to take the kids out this weekend we will be releasing another lot of salmon into the Groynes fishing lakes. The salmon will be feeding by the weekend. Although bait usually works the best, this is a good area to get the kids practicing other techniques such as casting a fly or a spinner.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 7 March 2013

The drought continues with another dry week and low river flows. The small braided rivers such as the Hurunui and Waimakariri are suffering the most with flows of only 20 and 30 cumecs respectively. The Rakaia is holding out a little better with flows remaining above 100 cumecs. There is some light at the end of the tunnel however with a small amount of north west rain is predicted to fall in the Alps and across the plains on Saturday afternoon. While not likely to cause the rivers to dirty, the rain should add a few cumecs to the dwindling flows.

Salmon catches have reflected the unfavourable conditions. Most of the action has been at the mouths of the rivers where fish are congregating waiting for the next fresh. The Rakaia hosted some 800 anglers last weekend for the running of the annual salmon competition, and catches were modest; -about one fish for every fifteen anglers! Since then most of the action has been at the mouth, particularly during the top half of the incoming tide. The Waimakariri Mouth has been reasonably quiet with 4 to 8 salmon per day.

A dozen salmon were caught each day in the Hurunui surf last weekend, with around half a dozen per day since. Fishing is slightly better on the south side but be careful of the waves breaking over the low spit. Some sort of dinghy is needed to get to the north side or you will be in for a long walk. Speaking of water safety I hosted a very experienced North Island boatie-fisherman at the Rakaia Huts a couple of weeks ago. While he loved the experience he admitted to being horrified at seeing the risks taken by anglers at the rivermouth, who were standing in the waves next to the river and not wearing life jackets.

The Waiau mouth has been fishing well in recent weeks although the low flows mean getting to the rivermouth by jet boat (the only option unless you have a helicopter) is a real challenge. Not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted apparently!
Prospects for the weekend are good. We should get some rain or drizzle across the plains on Saturday which should spark a bit of salmon activity on the rivers.

The Rakaia is the best bet for upriver anglers, and should now be nicely rested after the hurly-burly of competition weekend. The Rakaia Mouth is also a good option with the 8am high tide being the perfect combination of an incoming tide at dawn. Sea run trout fishing may also pick-up at the Rakaia Lagoon now that nearby Lake Ellesmere is finally closed and no longer attracting trout in from the sea. The very clear conditions mean that sea run trout fishing at the Rakaia is strictly an “in the dark” activity but worthwhile all the same.

The weekend tide is less favourable for Waimakariri mouth anglers who like to fish the top half of the outgoing tide at dawn. McIntosh’s Rocks is less tide-affected so it might be the best bet for a dawn raid.

The Hurunui and Waiau Rivers should continue to produce salmon, perhaps at a slightly better rate if the rain and drizzle eventuates.

Finally junior anglers will be pleased to know that another tanker-load of salmon were released into the Groynes Fishing Lakes on Thursday. Once again junior anglers are advised to make use of the drizzle predicted for Saturday which should see the salmon active and feeding.
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 22 Feb 2013

Over the last few weeks, flows in the main salmon fishing rivers have dropped to low levels and success for salmon anglers has slowed. I have heard reports of only a few salmon caught each day from the lower Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers, with the Hurunui and Waiau River yielding a few more each day.

The Waiau River fished well last weekend and although access is limited on this river with jet-boats the preferred method to access the lower reaches, those anglers that put in the effort are usually rewarded with less anglers chasing the available salmon.

We expect to see reasonable numbers of salmon show up in all the rivers sometime over the next few weeks, with the Waimakariri generally fishing well in the later half of the season a few weeks behind the other salmon rivers.
Given that the Rakaia, Hurunui and Waiau Rivers had good runs of salmon a few weeks back, this is an indication that there should be reasonable numbers of salmon show up in the Waimakariri over the next month. The Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition is on this weekend and I am sure we will hear good reports following the weekend.

Fish & Game would like anglers to check to see if the salmon they catch are adipose fin-clipped so we can evaluate the effectiveness of our hatchery release programs. Currently 60,000 fin-clipped salmon are released into both the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers annually. We will be conducting a phone survey in May to determine the number of salmon caught in each river and this year we will be asking anglers how many of these were fin-clipped.

On the trout fishing scene, the high country lakes continue to fish well with good reports coming from Lake Grassmere and Lyndon with a large dry fly or small veltec spinner using a light trace. Fishing seems to have gone quiet at Lake Coleridge and best action has been seen at first and last light as usual, and in close to the shore. Lake Ellesmere tributaries are also still yielding a few big trout.

Fish & Game occasionally receive complaints regarding commercial trawl boat operating close to the main salmon fishing river mouths. Trawling is not permitted within one nautical mile of a river mouth from 1 January until 30 April. If you see trawl boats operating within these areas, please record the location, date, time, name and size of the vessel and call the Ministry for Primary Industries with the details.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 15 Feb 2013

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. A large high looks set to move over the South Island on Saturday and hang around right through next week. So the weather looks to be good this weekend. All the rivers should be clear and fishable. The southerly changes that we have had this week should cool the main rivers down which have been running at warm temperatures. Hopefully, this will encourage some more salmon to enter the rivers. When I went to the Rakaia mouth last weekend I noticed it had three mouths and looked rather messy. The Hurunui and Waimakariri mouths looked great with loads of anglers lining the banks.


“Fish on!” – Angler Neil Hartland hooked up a 19lb salmon at the waimak mouth

“Fish on!” – Angler Neil Hartland hooked up a 19lb salmon at the waimak mouth

The Waiau is running dirtier than normal due to a clay bank collapsing in the upper reaches. However, I have been informed that the Waiau is still salmon fishable. Spotting trout however won’t be possible from the Hope downstream at Windy Point, or on the Waiau from the Stanley Vale downstream to the mouth.

For those of you looking to head into the high county, the conditions look superb. Although some trout can be tricky this time of year as they have been well fished over, there are days in February where trout rise readily to large attractor dry flies. Try some exploratory fishing with large Royal Wulffs or Black Gnats. If there are plenty of cicadas around, tie on a cicada imitation and smack it on to the water. This can be some of the most exciting fishing as the trout don’t seem to care about presentation and they nail the cicadas very aggressively. This method works equally as well on lakes or rivers at this time of year.

If you are looking to take the kids out for a fish this weekend, 200 salmon were released into the Groynes on Wednesday. These will be feeding well by the weekend and will respond to bait or spinners. Early morning is best before the heat of the day.
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 1 Feb 2013

After a month of dirty rivers, the last week has seen settled weather and the rivers have been running clear. However a week of scorching weather has warmed the salmon rivers and caused the fish to go quiet. A paper I was reading during the week suggested that salmon migration temporarily stops when the water temperature rises above sixteen degrees which probably explains the slow river fishing in recent days.

Prospects for the weekend could be affected a little by the weather. A north west front is forecast to move up the South Island on Sunday. This front will probably not be enough to dirty the rivers during the weekend but might create a bit of breeze in the high country on Sunday.

Upriver salmon fishing is likely to be steady rather than spectacular due to the warm water. Early morning should see the coolest river temperatures and the most productive fishing in rivers such as the Rakaia and Rangitata. However the best salmon fishing over the weekend is likely to be at the rivermouths where salmon may be congregating waiting for cooler water . The Rakaia mouth remains difficult as the effects of the massive floods in early January take a while to dissipate. However the surf alongside the mouth is a hot prospect after a week of hot weather, particularly on the south side.

The Waimakariri has yet to fire for the season which is completely normal for this late running river. However it should start to pick up any day and will be worth a look. High tide is due around 10am so plan to fish the last couple of hours of the incoming and first couple of hours of the outgoing tide. The Hurunui is also a good option. Most of the action has been on the surf on the south side. Be careful of waves breaking over the spit towards high tide.

Back country anglers might get knocked about a bit by the wind on Sunday so a day trip on Saturday might be the best bet. The smaller high country lakes should be at their best about now.

Fish and Game hatchery staff are due to release more fish into the junior fishing lakes at the Christchurch Groynes on Friday which should give the fishing a lift. However the warm water conditions mean that junior anglers should get to the Groynes Friday evening or even better, as soon as the gates open on Saturday morning before the fish become difficult to catch.

Fish and Game Rangers have been busy over recent weeks. They had a big day on the Rakaia on Saturday encountering some 80 anglers. Sadly around 20 of these were not carrying their licences and one had no licence at all. Court fines for fishing without a licence are averaging $500-$700 these days, plus court costs and often the forfeiture of any fishing gear seized. There appear to be more fishing without licence offences being detected this season; -three people were prosecuted in the Christchurch District Court just yesterday! Rangers will continue to be active over coming months so please ensure you buy a licence and that you carry it with you.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 25 Jan 2013

Hello and welcome to the North Canterbury region fishing report. The weather looks to be settling down this weekend with a large high dominating the South Island. Therefore the high-country should produce a stunning couple of days. High country lakes would be well worth a look as conditions should be reasonably calm. Stalking around edges slowly and waiting for rises is probably best as there should be plenty of terrestrial insects on the water. As we get closer to February there will also be more cicada activity which can make for exciting fly fishing.

All of the main rivers should be at optimal flows for salmon angling this weekend. There should be plenty of salmon around as good catches were reported in the surf while the rivers were dirty. These rivers have had some major flooding (especially the Rakaia), so be careful if you are driving around trying to find some salmon water. A lot of the access tracks have been badly affected and there are patches of soft shingle out in the riverbed.

The Rakaia is still a little dirty from the big flood. It looks as if it may be cutting into some banks further up the catchment making it dirtier than it should. There are still plenty of fish being seen on the river, it is just a matter of finding some suitable water. The Waimakariri is reporting good catches from the lower reaches. The colour of the Waimakariri is clearing more quickly than the Rakaia as well.

Lake Ellesmere tributaries are continuing to fish well. Lots of large fish can be spotted in the Selwyn during the day. However, you are unlikely to fool these fish during daylight hours. Improve your chances by fishing the evening rise or at night when they gorge themselves on bullies.

Remember that for the kids there were fish released into the Groynes last Friday. There will still be fish to catch from that release. Or you could take the kids further afield to Lake Lyndon. Lake Lyndon is full of small rainbows and can be great fishing on a calm day. Remember that junior licence holders can fish with bait there but adult licence holders can only user article spinner or fly.

Lastly, please be aware that NIWA are currently carrying out surveys on Lakes Grasmere, Sarah, Hawdon and Pearson. We hope that doesn’t get in the way of weekends angling plans.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 18 Jan 2013

North Canterbury reportFor yet another week anglers have been limited to the smaller rivers in the region as all of the larger rivers in the have been high and dirty making them unfishable due to heavy rain in the alps. Things are not likely to change in a hurry with heavy rain forecast for the Southern Alps again this weekend which will lead to another week of unfishable rivers.

Although the main rivers have been unfishable for some time now, some of the spring fed streams in the high country have cleared between freshes, creating opportunities for anglers. Often these spring creeks act as a refuse for main stem fish as they seek shelter from the floods. On a positive note, Sunday saw around 30 salmon taken from the Rakaia surf and given the number of salmon about before this spell of large floods, there should be plenty more waiting around the mouth for the river to clear.

Sea run trout fishing has also been relatively quiet recently, however with a bit of luck this weekend should see the lower reaches lure fishable before the next fresh comes down the river.

When the wind has allowed, high country lake anglers have seen some great fishing with good insect activity and fly fishing the standout method in most lakes. Fish & Game will be releasing another 200 salmon into the Groynes Fishing Lakes again tomorrow and remember this is for juniors only as we have had a number of adults fishing these lakes illegally.

Please note; Rangers have been actively patrolling the high country lakes recently and will continue to do so in coming weeks, so anglers please remember to carry your licence with you at all times, as a walk back to the vehicle to retrieve your licence for a ranger when the fishing action is hot, does not help anyone!
Good luck if you are heading out for a fish this weekend
North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 3 Jan 2013

The last week has seen some very volatile weather and fishing conditions in Canterbury. The braided rivers came down dirty just before New Year, dropped a little over the next couple of days and then came down in huge floods on Wednesday. I was at the Rakaia Mouth and the site of nearly six thousand cumecs thundering out to sea was something to behold. This flow equates to roughly thirty times the mean flow of the Rakaia, which is considered a big river to start with.


The huge rainfall that preceded the flood put constraints on fishing in the region. The backcountry has been a write off for most of the holiday break with strong winds and rain forcing people off the water. However during the odd occasion where the wind has waned the fishing has been good. The warm weather means that the annual lifecycle of terrestrial insects is well advanced and trout have come into the shallows to chase them. One angler reported excellent fishing at Lake Hawdon and I am sure that the other smaller lakes are fishing equally well.

Despite the floods the salmon fishery continues to produce the goods in what is turning out to be one of the best seasons for around 15 years. The dirty rivers mean that most of the fishing has been confined to the surf areas on the south sides of the rivermouths. The predominant current on the east coast of the South Island is northerly which means the dirty river water tends to be carried in that direction leaving the south side clear. However as soon as the dreaded Canterbury north easterly wind kicks in, the south side becomes dirty also.

The Rakaia saw reasonable surf fishing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday when a strong north wester was keeping the surf clear on the south side. While not as productive in the surf as the Rangitata, catches of eight or nine fish per day represented some of the best surf fishing seen at the Rakaia in a number of years. The Hurunui produced between two and six salmon per day before the flood. For some reason the Hurunui has been producing particularly big fish this year with a number of salmon between 20 and 25 pound having been caught.

Prospects for the coming weekend are again influenced by the weather. The recent flood will keep the braided rivers dirty for the next five to seven days , and with more north westers predicted for the middle of next week, it might be a while before we see clear rivers. Salmon fishing will be confined to the surf of the south sides of the Rakaia and Hurunui rivers, and is worth a look any time the wind is blowing from the north west or south west. The Waimakariri mouth is less suited to surf fishing so its anglers will have to be more patient or fish elsewhere.

The Ellesmere stream mouths are likely to fish well over the coming weeks. The lake has been open to the sea for some time now which should bring in fresh stocks of sea run trout. The warming of the lake should cause the trout to congregate around the cooler stream mouths where they are often caught by anglers fishing with streamer flies after dark. The lower Selwyn River and Harts Creek are the most consistent of the Ellesmere stream mouths given their larger flows and presumably cooler water.

North Canterbury Fish & Game weekly report : 28 Dec 2012

The main salmon rivers were unfishable for much of the last week, however they are all now fishable and will be in great condition for the next few days. Although the Rangitata River is out of the North Canterbury region, it is being fished by many Christchurch anglers, and is still the standout river for salmon anglers with continued reports of great success. Some experienced anglers even going as far as to say that this is the best season they have ever experienced salmon fishing.

Over the last month the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers have also produced good numbers of salmon and in great condition. The Rakaia mouth however has not been ideal this season for salmon and most have been taken up-river. The Hurunui River has also started to see a few salmon taken at the mouth and I am sure the Waiau will have also. However the locals there keep any news of success pretty quiet, and I have yet to hear how this river is fishing. Although I am sure salmon will also be entering the mouth as all the East Coast rivers tend to follow similar trends. Sea-run trout fishing continues to be successful in the tidal reaches of all the main rivers with trout in great condition.

River and lake trout fishing in the region has been reasonably productive in recent weeks, especially early morning as the warmer weather is producing good insect hatches in the high country. I have heard good reports coming from Lake Pearson and Lake Grassmere. These lakes should fish well using either a green or brown beetle imitation in the evenings.
The Ellesmere tributaries continue to fish well with good reports coming from the lower Selwyn River, with a 19lb trout taken last week. I have not heard reports from Harts Creek or the LII, but I am sure they too will be fishing well. These rivers are also best fished late evening and into the night.

Although not a species managed by Fish & Game, kahawai fishing has been exceptional this year around river mouths for surf anglers and this is a great way to get juniors excited as the kahawai put up a great fight.

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