Canterbury Report - February 24th, 2022

Frustrating fortnight for salmon fishers


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Our salmon rivers have been dirty almost the whole two weeks since the last report, which is frustrating for all, as February will often be the most productive for many anglers. The Rakaia was fishable for a couple of days late last week, but our northern rivers were still very dirty. That small window was productive for those who managed to get out, but the good news is it’s looking likely that they will be fishable again this weekend and there appears to be some settled weather in the forecast so there will be some salmon in trouble during the next couple of weeks.

Please see the below from the Hurunui District Council. The heavy rain that we had last week has taken its toll on our access to points of the Hurunui River, Lakes Sumner and Taylor and Loch Katrine. This is a very popular fishing area and is a real shame to see our access restricted at this time of the season, but we can’t control mother nature!

‘The Hurunui District Council has closed the Lake Sumner Rd and it will remain that way for the rest of February and into March.

This means there is no access beyond the south branch of the Hurunui river, at Esk Head Road. This includes access to Loch Katrine and Lake Taylor.

Last weekend’s rain created a very high flow in the south branch of the Hurunui River, resulting in approximately 100 metres of Lake Sumner Rd being undercut and washed away.

Council is currently working through the final details of building an approximately 500 metres long realignment, further away from the river.

The cutting into the side of the hill for the realigned road has commenced. Please note this is an active worksite with numerous soft spots. With more rain forecast for this weekend, it is very important that this dirt track is not used’.

Lake Sumner aside for now, the high-country lakes have been a great place to visit lately, not just because the rivers have been dirty, but also the fishing has been superb at times! Not always with a huge quantity of fish, but the quality and fight in some of the rainbows in our lakes is fantastic. All methods have been working too - trolling the deeper drop-offs, stalking the margin with small nymphs or cicadas, and flicking spinners or soft-baits are productive!


As the days shorten and cool a little, we start to see the end of our kingfish ‘season’ so make the most of it while we can! Tried and true methods are still producing the goods. Start with stick baits around floating objects, if no luck there, move to soft-baits or jigs. As the seasons change, we begin to think of bottom fishing a bit more, so now is the time to be preparing your deeper water gear and getting ready for some of the cod and ‘puka fishing coming up.

A little further afield, the Marlborough Sounds and Nelson areas have been fishing exceptionally well for snapper, kingfish and ‘puka when you venture out wider. Mechanical jigging for kingies is still the most successful method, and if you slow it down you can get ‘puka too.

Shallow water snapper are still suckers for stray-lined baits up there, but once you get into the deeper water slow jigs are super successful. We have seen a few anglers starting to pick up some of the big slow jigs, Daiwa Medai 750gm, or Shimano Doterra 750gm and fishing them with good results for ‘puka, either on a heavy jigging rig or even electric set-ups, always nice to try some new ideas out and having success.

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


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