Where the fish are biting in Canterbury

Where to fly fish in the Christchurch and Canterbury region.

When we posted on Facebook asking for recommendations on the best locations to fish in the Canterbury region, we were met with some hesitation. It’s understandable given that key fishing locations are generally considered a family secret and are passed down from generation-to-generation. However, it’s not all ‘secret squirrel’ and hiring a professional guide can ensure you have more time at the water and less time trying to find where the fish are biting.

When is the best time to fish in Christchurch and Canterbury?

The fishing season is generally the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere, with October through to June netting the best results. Within this time frame different months are preferable to different types of anglers based on the fish that are running.

Where to go in Canterbury?

Travel west

Methven – Located only an hour away from Christchurch International Airport, Methven is renowned for fine trout and salmon fishing. The Rakaia is one of the largest braided rivers in Canterbury. It’s home to some of the greatest stocks of Chinook king salmon with the tributaries home to brown and rainbow trout. It really is a paradise for fishing and for enjoying the alpine scenery of the region. When the fish aren’t biting (which isn’t often!), holidaymakers can enjoy a myriad of activities, including hot air ballooning over the patchwork Canterbury Plains, thrilling jet boat rides, mountain biking and hiking just to name a handful.

The places to fish in Methven are vast and the scenery is huge. Check out www.christchurchnz.com for guiding companies worth engaging with.

Ashburton River is one of the smaller rivers in the region and is home to both salmon and trout, with trout being more popular.

Go north

North Canterbury – Popular fishing locations in this area include the rivers of the Waimakariri, the Hurunui, the Waiau and the North Canterbury Lakes, including Lake Coleridge, Lake Lyndon and Lake Pearson.

The Waimakariri River is one of the most popular rivers for recreational fishers in the South Island due to its location and accessibility. Generally the Waimakariri gets good runs of both salmon, and rainbow and brown trout. Fishing style varies depending on what part of the river is being fished. Sea run salmon fishing is recommended between November and March.

The Hurunui River offers both trout and salmon fishing. However, the salmon fishing tends to be more fickle with trout being the most consistent catch on this river. Access to the river is via the small North Canterbury town of Domett. From there follow the signs to the river mouth. Boats can also be launched from this point.

The Waiau River is the northern of the most popular fishing rivers in the region and is by far one of the less congested. The location of the river mouth isn’t easily accessible and either a long walk or 10 minute jet-boat ride is required.

Lake Coleridge is well known for the largest stock of landlocked Chinook salmon in New Zealand. The lake is also home to brown and rainbow trout, however, anglers tend to have more success with rainbow trout on this lake. Lake Coleridge is a very popular lake and it’s very heavily fished.

Remember to purchase and sign your New Zealand fishing license prior to going fishing.

For more information on Fly Fishing check out www.christchurchnz.com.

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