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Fishing Close to Christchurch

The following lakes and rivers offer trout and salmon fishing close to Christchurch.

See the North Canterbury regulations for the regulations that apply to each river.


Ashley River

The Ashley River is typical of many small to medium sized Canterbury rivers in that it gets very low during summer months. The fishing is best between October and December in the lower reaches, although the fishing upstream of Rangiora should remain good all season. The best access points are through the Waikuku Beach township, the SH1 Bridge or the bridge immediately north of Rangiora.


Cust River

This river offers both good brown trout fisheries in spring when flows are good. It is accessed off the Rangiora-Cust Road and off the Ohoka-Rangiora Road (Skew Bridge is a popular access point). Most of the Cust lies on private land so please check with the landowner before you start fishing.


Cam River

The Cam supports reasonable populations of brown trout in the one to four pound size range. Access is available at the Tuahiwi end of Bramleys Road, from Youngs Road which leads off Lineside Road between Kaiapoi and Rangiora and from the Lower Camside Road bridge on the north-western side of Kaiapoi.


Styx River

Another small stream which fishes best in spring and autumn, especially at dusk. The best access sites are off Spencerville Road, Lower Styx Road and Kainga Road.


Kaiapoi River

The Kaiapoi River experiences good runs of salmon and is one of the only places in New Zealand where Chinook salmon are regularly caught on bait; freshwater shrimps and pilchards being most popular. The best fishing is between SH1 and the confluence with the Waimakariri. Access is available at the Hall Street boat ramp and from Smith Street, both within the township of Kaiapoi. The upper Kaiapoi (or Silverstream) offers good spring creek fishing for trout. Check with local landowners before fishing this part of the river because much of it lies on private land.


Waimakariri River

The Waimakariri River is popular on three counts: as a top salmon fishery, as an excellent trout fishery, and for its proximity to Christchurch. For more information, see Waimakariri River.


Otukaikino River / South Branch

This delightful spring creek contains good populations of smaller trout and is a very popular "after work" fishery. It also hosts good runs of larger spawning trout in autumn. The most popular access points are the Dickies Road Bridge (from Christchurch, turn left off SH1 just before leaving Belfast and travel a short distance down Dickies Road) and through the Groynes Park (off Johns Road between the Airport and Belfast).

8 & 9

Avon and Heathcote Rivers

Despite these rivers flowing through a major city, they are both good junior fisheries. The Avon is closed between Armagh Street and Barbadoes Street Bridges. Apart from the closed areas mentioned above, both rivers are open to fishing year round. Access is very good along both rivers.


Okana River (Little River)

The Okana River contains populations of brown trout and can provide good fishing, especially in spring. Public access is available to the lower reaches of the Okana through the gate on the right-hand side of the road opposite the Little River Hotel.


Lake Forsyth/Wairewa

Lake Forsyth fishes best in spring, especially if the lake has recently been opened to the sea. One of the best places is where the Akaroa Highway first comes close to the lake just after the Birdlings Flat turn-off.

On 8 October 2007 The New Zealand Herald reported that a scientist measuring the lake's toxicity warned that people eating eels from Lake Forsyth/Wairewa on Banks Peninsula are risking their health. Dr Barbara Dolamore, a Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) senior lecturer in biochemistry and molecular biology, said "The water may look safe, but it isn't". Dr Dolamore has been investigating the environmental effects of toxic cyanobacteria (a blue-green algae) on the lake since 2004 with funding from the CPIT Foundation.


Kaituna River

The area just above the confluence with Lake Ellesmere offers the best fishing, particularly during spring. Access is directly off the Akaroa Highway.


Halswell River

The Halswell River meanders from near the Halswell township down to Lake Ellesmere. It crosses many public and private properties and flows beneath several bridges. Access to the mouth can be had from where the river intersects with Seabridge Road down either bank just south of Motukarara.


Lake Ellesmere

The tributaries of Ellesmere fish better than the lake itself; however, good fishing for sea run trout can occur at Taumutu when the lake is open to the sea. Take the access track which leads off Gullivers Road and out into the beach.

For further information, see Lake Ellesmere.


LII River

The LII fishes best during spring and early summer, particularly in the reach just above the lake on a dark night. Access can be had at Wolfes Road (follow the road to the end) or off the main Selwyn Huts Road.


Selwyn River

This river contains good numbers of brown trout in the lower reaches but is often dry in the middle reaches. Access is good from the Upper Selwyn Huts to the mouth. Above the Upper Huts, the Selwyn changes to a delightful meandering stream of pools and riffles. Coes Ford is the most popular access point to this part of the river.


Irwell River

This river can provide good fishing but, again, is subject to low flows. Cross Coes Ford and follow Lake Road until it crosses the river, just after the Lake Road / Lake Road South intersection. Take the first road on the left after the bridge (heading south - Hanmer Road), cross a wooden bridge and turn left into Aitkens Road. This road leads out to the river.


Harts Creek

Harts Creek is a good fly fishing stream, especially towards the mouth. To get to Harts Creek, follow Lake Road to its intersection with Timber Yard Road (heading south). Turn left down the latter and turn left again onto a small bridge not far from the corner. Fishing at the mouth is good after dark but the river between the car park and the mouth can offer good fly-fishing during daylight hours.


Rakaia River

The Rakaia River is a one of the best salmon fisheries in New Zealand and the upper reaches are set amidst spectacular scenery. The Rakaia is also an important trout fishery. For more information, see Rakaia River.

Canterbury Fishing Guides

Braided Rivers Fishing Guides

Braided Rivers Fishing Guides

New Zealand Fly Fishing Adventures

New Zealand Fly Fishing Escapes

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