Canterbury Fishing report - 8/9/23

Exciting spring openings

We have enjoyed a settled period of weather over the past two weeks and that has coincided with three openings that sit high in many freshwater anglers’ fishing calendars:

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1.    Whitebait season
2.    The opening of the upper Tekapo canal on the 1st of September
3.    The opening of the balloted Ohau River on the 1st Saturday of September. 

The opening of the upper Tekapo canal was an epic day by all accounts. The number of fish was only outdone by the number of anglers anticipating a great day – or a three-day weekend for some! The reports from customers and friends came in thick and fast, and it was great to hear that everyone was enjoying the fishing, the comradery, and the stunning weather.

Plenty of magnificent fish were landed, photographed, and returned. For me, it was really positive to see good numbers of fish up there after having a tougher-than-usual visit to the lower part of the Tekapo Canal a couple of weeks earlier. The Ohau opener seemed to have been just as productive for those who were lucky enough to secure a ballot. Word of fish up to 27lb being landed in this river is an awesome achievement and would have made for a great battle.

Good luck to all who have a ballot for the rest of the month. Whitebait ¬– though still considered early in the season ¬– is getting caught in most areas around Canterbury and the West Coast. I haven’t heard of any ‘big’ hauls yet, but most that have made an effort have come away with a taste to whet the appetite!

Check out the next new moon, then the following full moon can often bring the bait on. Remember the season is shorter now, so make hay when the conditions allow.


The sea conditions have been kind recently too, and the bottom fishing out of Lyttleton and Akaroa has turned it on. Tarakihi, gurnard, cod, ‘puka, and trumpeter have all been on the menu for those who have had the chance to get out. The only tough fishing period I heard of was around the ‘blue moon,’ but often a smack on a full moon can make it harder.

It’s early, well at least it feels early in my mind, but already we are seeing good numbers of kahawai turning up at the Waimakariri and Rakaia River mouths. These fish are obviously hard fighting, relatively easy to target fish and, when looked after, a good eater too. Please beware that at this time of year, the mouth area of our rivers will see kahawai anglers and whitebaiters using the same areas, so please be respectful of each other’s right to fish there.

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.

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