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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.

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North Canterbury fishing News

Martin Langlands Fishing Report Apr 2014

The season seems to have flown by and I hope you all get out and enjoyed the last few weeks? Again it has been great seeing anglers getting good numbers of Salmon and in the last week. We have observed several spawning in mid and upper river reaches with trout close behind as they forage on Salmon eggs and maybe more importantly insects, dislodged as salmon make their large redds.


North Canterbury Reel Life Apr 2014

Although many of the upper reaches of the big rivers are now closed, the lower reaches remain open throughout the year. These include the lower reaches of the Rakaia, Selwyn, Waimakariri, Ashley, Hurunui and Waiau rivers. This consists of quite a bit of water; for example the Hurunui is open right up to the South Branch, and the Waiau is open up to the Hope River confluence.


North Canterbury Reel Life Mar 2014

About 100 anglers entered this year’s Rangers Salmon Fishing Competition on the 19th of March at Kairaki Beach. Organiser and Fish & Game Ranger Brian Smart said there was ‘good colour’ in the river and ideal tides for the competition.


Martin Langlands Fishing Report Mar 2014

As the summer fades so too does the terrestrial dry fly fishing we have all been enjoying. However, lush Mayfly hatches are a huge feature of April in many Canterbury rivers.