Salmon Fishing on the Waimakariri

Local Fisherman Phil Walsh is happy to put his neck on the block and argue that, undeniably, there is an element of luck involved with catching salmon

Salmon fishing can be notoriously fickle sport. Those driven to catch Quinnat Salmon (Chinook) should, learn everything within their power to advance their chances of catching them. Really keen fishos commit themselves to this purpose.

While undeniably, there is an element of luck involved with catching one, the flip side of this is that everyone is in with a chance. And while a bit of knowledge can be of benefit, countless are the times novices catch magnificent salmon on their first time out; much to the chagrin of some seasoned anglers who’ve spent all day on the riverbank for nought.

In the lower Waimakariri and its lowland tributary the Kaiapoi River, luck, along with perseverance are your greatest allies. Being able to fish for the mighty Chinook in such close proximity to where many Waimak people live makes them the envy of the salmon fishing fanatics the world over.  Several nice fish have been landed this autumn alone.

Success is undoubtedly the intersection of preparation and opportunity. One keen young chap who did manage to connect the two was deservedly rewarded one evening; all within two kilometres from the heart of Kaiapoi township.

David Giddens story is:

Heading down the Waimak after work one night my expectations of hooking a salmon were high, pulling into the Ferry Road car park the amount of the vehicles made the evening’s fish look promising. Jumping out of my car I headed for the river with Abu 7000 and Shimano Backbone in hand. I choose my spot next to the old man, as I asked how the fishing has been I tossed my weapon out into the water. My choice was a 22gram white zeddy (zed spinner). As the lure hit the water the outgoing tide pulled it downstream. After about seven casts I began a slow retrieve when I felt the distinct thump and a pull on the line, without thinking I struck and with that, the battle was on!
After ten or so minutes I saw my zeddy re-appear, lodged inside a salmon’s throat and with one final pull the salmon slipped into a fellow angler’s net. Once landed and dealt to, I quickly weighed it on the scales; one nice 14lb salmon on the bank.
I wasted no time in throwing the zeddy back out in search for that bag limit of two fish. Only a handful of casts went by when for the second time this evening I had another battle on my hands. With the rod tip held high I watched the rod as it nodded and was pulled down towards the water. After a quick struggle I had on the bank a small but fresh 9lb Chinook salmon. With my bag limit on the bank after a little over an hour’s fishing I headed off for the five minute drive home to process the catch.

What a night!!

Thanks Phil Walsh for writing this story for Visit Waimakariri

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