Canterbury Fishing Report - 07/03/24

Finally, a salmon run!


Finally we have a salmon run! At the time of the last report going out, the Rakaia Salmon Competition was running, and three days were reduced to two days with a rising river on Sunday. However, 380 senior contestants entered and weighed in 48 salmon. I have to be honest, that is more than I was expecting, but the size is still a disappointment to me. No disrespect to the anglers, as catching a salmon is still a true reward for generally a lot of toil, but 3.32kg winning weight is a shadow of some of the fish that have won the trophy in the past.

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On a positive note, we have seen steady numbers of salmon in the Rakaia since the comp and solid reports coming out of the Waimak now, too.

The NZ Salmon Anglers competition is coming up on the 16th of March in the lower Waimak, so this will be an interesting indicator of what has turned up there. Remember in the canals at this time of year, the pressure is often down a bit and the fish are in really great condition preparing for the winter spawn.

There have been some really good-sized trout and salmon come out lately, so if you’re down that way or passing through it is worth allowing a bit of time for a break on your travels or allocating a trip down for a fish. The usual suspects are the answer, eggs or boobie fly for the trout, softbaits or metal spoons for the salmon, and working the cages will generally give you good reward for these fish that are looking to bulk up before winter gets here.

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Whilst we have not seen the massive numbers of fish when the Kaikoura fishery exploded earlier this year, we have seen some consistency in recent weeks. The sea conditions have been kind and the boats that have been out have had some solid results on bluefin and albacore. This is an exciting fishery for us all, a massive learning curve, but extremely exciting! The knowledge that our customers and team are now compiling is growing by the day, but not only is our knowledge growing, our range of gear for the gamefishing fraternity is also on the improve. If you are thinking about giving the tuna a go, please talk to the team about your needs, and we can help with your success.

I have mentioned previously that most of the bluefin have been caught trolling, using both skirted and diving lures, and this is certainly the most effective way to cover water while searching. But expanding from there, top water and jigging have also reaped some results recently, and top water particularly is one way to get the froth levels beyond high when you encounter a concentration of bluefin on the surface.

Kahawai - I never quite know where to put these critters but this time they are in salt water! This fishery seems to be going from strength to strength locally, and it is so good seeing so many people taking up fishing and being able to get out and have success with relative ease.

The Waimakariri is the obvious choice, being so close to the city, but most other rivers that flow into the ocean have had a fantastic summer of kahawai action. Spinning with smallish metal lures is still the most effective way to catch them but casting a fly rod around or soft baits on your trout gear can increase the fun and at times be more effective than spinners.

As a reminder, if you are at the Waimak try not to lay your rod and reel (reel particularly) in the fine sand out there; it gets in easily and plays havoc with drags, bearings and the general well-being of your reel.

We have a very active team of keen anglers in our Fishing Department, so please fire any questions our way and we will point you in the right direction to keep you on the fish. Please check out our Facebook page for more info on what we are up to in Canterbury.

Simon McMillan
Christchurch Hunting and Fishing New Zealand
75 Clarence Street, Addington, Christchurch
03 3430212


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