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North Canterbury Fishing

Fish & Game New Zealand’s North Canterbury region offers much to the angler. Without a doubt the star attraction of the region is the sea-run salmon fishery.

The Rakaia, Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau Rivers offer excellent sea-run salmon fishing between November and March. The best time to plan a trip is during February when river flows tend to be stable, after the period of major snow melt in the Southern Alps.

Most salmon are caught on heavy spinning tackle upriver or on specialised long distance casting tackle in the surf next to the river mouth. The salmon with an average size of around 8kg is one of the most highly sought-after sports fish in the country.

In addition to the high profile salmon fishery, North Canterbury also offers great fishing for other species. More than thirty high country lakes offer landlocked salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, mackinaw and splake. The upper reaches of the braided rivers offer high quality brown and rainbow trout with very big fish in places.

The lower reaches of the same rivers provide excellent sea-run trout fishing as well. Very large runs of fresh silver sea-run brown trout converge on the tidal areas of the salmon river during the months of December and January in particular.

For more information sports fishing in North Canterbury consult the booklet, Fishing Access: A Guide to popular fishing locations in the North Canterbury Fish & Game Region. This is available from the North Canterbury office or from major sports shops in the region.

If you catch a tagged fish, please contact the regional Fish & Game office.

If you would like to receive our weekly North Canterbury Fishing Report by email, please fill in your details and check the relevant box on our email newsletter subscription page.

If you would like to be kept in touch with fishing reports, news, events and other New Zealand freshwater fishing information, please sign up for Reel Life, our national fishing email newsletter.

North Canterbury fishing News

North Canterbury Reel Life SEP 2016

The 1 October opening has even more importance this year as all the lowland waterways downstream of State Highway One have been closed for the winter for the first time in recent years.


North Canterbury Reel Life AUG 2016

Many of you will be eagerly anticipating Opening Day this year given the winter closure of the lower rivers.


Behind the scenes at the Montrose Hatchery

Ever wondered about how a Fish and Game Hatchery works?


Rivers run dry in Christchurch

With Environment Canterbury recording its lowest levels in almost 30 years for the headwaters of the Avon, Heathcote and Styx rivers and suburban streams like the Ilam, Waimairi and Wairarapa drying up this year, urgent action is needed over water allocation.