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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

Kaikoura Salmon enhancement underway with release of 8000 fish

Fourth year of project celebrated with salmon release


100,000 salmon ova planted in North Canterbury rivers

North Canterbury Fish and Game staff and dozens of volunteers have planted over 100,000 salmon ova (eggs) in the last two weekends.


North Canterbury Fish and Game announce Lower Rakaia Fishery restoration project

Thousands of Brown Trout will be released in the lower reaches of the Rakaia River shortly after the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council voted to approve the release of Trout in an attempt to restore the critically d


Date set for Take A Kid Fishing 2016

Sunday 16 October, 2016
At the Groynes Picnic Grounds off Johns Road, Belfast, Christchurch.
A free day for all children, it’s on wet or fine.