Don't Put Your Fishing Gear Away Too Early - Fish & Game
Don't Put Your Fishing Gear Away Too Early - Fish & Game
There’s still plenty of productive trout fishing to be had around the country in spite of the onset of winter and the closure of some lakes and rivers to fishing.
Fish & Game NZ is urging anglers not to put away their gear but to broaden their horizons – try the lakes and rivers that remain open over the winter months, different methods of shoreline fishing, and even sampling what other regions have to offer.
Spokesman Grant Dyson says that some anglers tend to call it a day too early, as soon as some of the most popular waters close.
“Some lakes still have areas where you are permitted to fish from the shoreline using a fly rod or spinning set, there are other lakes that remain open for boat fishing, and many rivers remain open all year or have a longer season in certain regions.”
Anglers should consult their Sports Fishing Regulation booklet, or visit the Fish & Game website, where they’ll discover a wealth of fishing opportunities available over the cooler months.
In the Rotorua lakes region, for example, while popular lakes like Tarawera and Rotoiti close at the end of June, Rotorua, Rotoehu, and Rotoma, are among those still open to boat fishing. A number of streams and rivers also remain open to angling.
In the South Island, there are plenty of lakes and rivers which are still fishable. In the Central South Island, all eight lakes of the Waitaki catchment open all year, including the popular hydro lakes of Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki.The region’s larger rivers, Ashburton, Rangitata, Opihi and Waitaki all have a winter season for their lower reaches - from June until the end of August.
In Otago the big lakes – Wanaka, Wakatipu, Wanaka and Dunstan – are open throughout the winter. The Clutha River mainstem is open apart of the ‘Deans Bank’ reach downstream from the Wanaka lake outlet and most rivers draining to the sea have winter seasons on their lower reaches including the Shag, Tokomariro, Taieri, and Catlins. The Winter Season on Otago waters runs from May to September inclusive.
Many of the high country lakes in North Canterbury close to fishing at the end of April, but then open again for a winter season. These include Lake Coleridge, Loch Katrine, and lakes Lyndon, Pearson, Selfe, and Taylor – which are open from June 1stuntil September 30th.
“The more days you fish, the better the value you’re getting out of your season fishing licence,” Mr Dyson says. And if it’s a bit cold or wet for other pursuits, it can still be perfect for fishing.
“Of course, the trout spawning season which usually begins in April provides a range of opportunities to target trout, as fish begin to gather at stream mouths before making their way up streams to spawn.
“The fish being caught at this time of year are in prime condition and make for very good eating, smoked or prepared in a variety of other ways. It’s a very satisfying thing to prepare and cook food you’ve gathered yourself and you’ll find some recipes on the Fish & Game website.”
Mr Dyson says it’s also timely to remind people their fishing licence covers the whole of New Zealand (apart from Taupo catchment). If you’re heading from Auckland to the South Island for a holiday, take a fly fishing and spinning rod along – for a different fishing experience.
However, Fish & Game is urging anglers who visit other regions and those moving between different water bodies to remember the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ (CCD) message, to prevent the spread of didymo and invasive aquatic plants.
AROUND NEW ZEALAND:
Eastern Region – Rotorua Lakes
Boat fishing may be coming to an end on lakes Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina, but there other lakes, rivers and streams open all year. Boat fishing ends for the season on these lakes on June 30th, but parts of all three are still open for shoreline fishing.
The June 30th closure also covers the upper reaches of some of the local Rotorua streams such as the Ngongotaha, Waiteti and Utuhina, as well as the Ohau Channel. But the lower parts of some of these streams can still be fished.
For further information on fishing spots still open refer to your regulation guide, or visit the Fish and Game website at www.fishandgame.org.nz
You can also pick up some brochures at your local Fish & Game office.
Hawkes Bay Region
After June 30th, many smaller rivers and upper reaches of larger rivers will be closed to fishing until the start of the next season. But the majority of Hawke’s Bay’s most popular spots are still fishable through winter. They include the Tukituki River below SH50, the Mohaka River below the Mangatainoka confluence, and Lake Tutira
There are other areas also fishable from 1 July, so be sure to check out the region’s regulations for other spots.
The Manganuioteao main stream remains open until June 30th, along with the Tokiahuru/Waitaiki.
Anglers are also reminded that the Mangawhero River downstream of the ‘golf course’ Bridge remains open all year.
Anglers are reminded that while the fishing season closed April 30, there are still masses of water available for winter fishing, as outlined in the regulation booklet.
Of note are rivers such as the Motueka, open from Ngatimoti all the way to the sea, and the lower Pelorus – from the Rai confluence to the sea. The lower Aorere River is also well worth a look along with the lower Wairau, which is open all the way from the Wash Bridge to the coast.
If all rivers are high and dirty you still have a number of lakes to choose from in this region too.
Central South Island Region
For many CSI anglers there’s no closure of the fishing season, with lakes of the Waitaki catchment open all year. All eight lakes remain open including the popular hydro lakes, Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki. The productive hydro canals linking the alpine lakes Ohau, Pukaki Tekapo to Lake Benmore also stay open.Lake Alexandrina remains open during June and July for a short winter season.
The region’s larger rivers, Ashburton, Rangitata, Opihi and Waitaki all have a winter season for their lower reaches - from June until the end of August.
Saltwater Creek near Timaru is open all year and for child licence holders, Tinwald Domain Pond also remains open.
If you’re fishing rivers during the winter season, note that the bag limit is reduced, and fishing restricted to fly or spin methods. In the lakes there are no regulation changes - unless boat fishing lakes Ohau and Benmore - fishing with natural baits is not permitted.
In Otago, the big lakes – Wanaka, Wakatipu, Wanaka and Dunstan – are open throughout the winter. The Clutha River mainstem is open apart from the ‘Deans Bank’ reach downstream from the Wanaka lake outlet.
Most rivers draining to the sea have winter seasons on their lower reaches including the Shag, Tokomariro, Taieri, and Catlins. The winter fishing season for these and other waters runs from May to the end of September.
North Canterbury Region
Many of the high country lakes close to fishing at the end of April, but then open again for a winter season. These include Lake Coleridge, Loch Katrine, and lakes Lyndon, Pearson, Selfe, and Taylor – which are open from June 1stuntil September 30th Lake Summer is open all year.
On Coleridge, trolling is the most popular winter fishing method on the lake and it is not that uncommon for boaties to go home with their bag limits. Apart from rainbows, there is a good population of landlocked salmon which are mainly caught in August.
Lake Lyndon, open from June 1stto August 31st,has been heavily stocked by Fish & Game and some of the best fishing here occurs from mid to late winter.
The lower reaches of the big rivers remain open throughout the year, even though the upper reaches close earlier on. These include the Rakaia, Selwyn, Waimakariri, Ashley, Hurunui and Waiau rivers.
Anglers are best to find a bit of backwater on the edge of a current - somewhere where the brown trout can come out of the current and rest and feed for a period. In winter feathered lures or veltics on spinning rods are the go.
West Coast Region
Summer season closes for trout fishing on April 30th, but fortunately the West Coast region has many sections of rivers and lake open all year (see your regulation guide for details).
May is a good month to target browns in all open water, as many fish will not spawn until June. If you’re fishing the lakes, try trolling around the mouths of the main spawning tributaries, such as the mouth of the Crooked River on Lake Brunner.
The Hokitika and Whitcombe rivers are open all year for the angler looking for both front and backcountry fishing. The middle and upper reaches hold rainbow trout that average one kilo.
All the big lakes of Fiordland are open throughout the winter. The most obvious exceptions are Lakes Hankinson, Fergus, Gunn and Waituna, but if you’re unsure, check your regulation booklet or ask the staff at Fish & Game. Great opportunities exist, especially for those targeting trout around stream mouths as they congregate prior to their spawning run. The Fiordland lakes can be a magical place over the winter, when misty morning’s clear with the first rays of sun to reveal mirror-calm conditions.