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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


Martin Langlands Fishing Report Jul 2014

As always the Twizel Canals have been the shining star of South Island winter fishing with many huge browns and rainbows pleasing untold anglers and a good number of salmon also getting caught.

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Angler Advisory - Following a recent motor vehicle accident

Following a motor vehicle accident in the Hundalee Hills on July 16 2014, anglers are advised to avoid angling in the Conway River until further notice.

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Martin Langlands Fishing Report May 2014

There is not a lot to report on May fishing with the only stand out option being the Twizel Canals (and associated areas) which, as usual, are producing many magnum trout.

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North Canterbury Reel Life May 2014

This year 20 schools in North Canterbury will be taking part in Fish & Game’s Fish in Schools programme.

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