Published On: Wed, Jan 18th, 2017

Salmon Season Prospects for early 2017 – They’re Running up the Hurunui River

Salmon Season Prospects 2017 – from January Newletter

Two salmon caught by Simon McMillian at the mouth of the Hurunui River, North Canterbury, yesterday morning 17 January 2017. Simon is now at Ballingers in Christchurch. Go in and see him to learn some of the secrets of salmon fishing. Salmon Season Prospects for early 2017.

Two salmon caught by Simon McMillian at the mouth of the Hurunui River, North Canterbury, yesterday morning 17 January 2017. Simon is now at Ballinger’s Hunting & Fishing, Tower Junction in Christchurch. Go in and see Simon to learn some of his salmon fishing secrets.

Salmon Season Prospects for early 2017: The salmon season is finally underway after a slow start. The biggest problem in Canterbury so far has been the main rivers frequently running dirty. Some years, like this one, we seem to get a continuous series of nor-westers dropping rain on the Southern Alps which greatly reduces the number of fishable days for salmon. Even worse, it can sometimes be clear on during the week only to colour up by the weekend. That’s a real pain if you have to go to work.

Looking north east at the mouth of the Hurunui River. Salmon Season Prospects for early 2017

Looking north-east at the mouth of the Hurunui River, on Tuesday morning, 16 January 2017.

Two salmon caught by Simon McMillian at the mouth of the Hurunui River, North Canterbury, yesterday morning 17 January 2017. Simon is now at Ballingers Hunting & Fishing, Tower Junction, in Christchurch. Go in and see him to learn some of the secrets of salmon fishing.

Two salmon caught by Simon McMillian at the mouth of the Hurunui River, North Canterbury, yesterday morning 17 January 2017. Simon is now at Ballinger’s Hunting & Fishing, Tower Junction, in Christchurch. Salmon Season Prospects for early 2017.

Many get around this problem by heading to the Waimakariri River mouth in the early morning before six, to get in a few hours of casting before work, and then again in the evening. It isn’t unknown to get a limit bag of salmon early in the day. I believe the more times you can arrive at the river the better. Sooner or later you’ll be there at just the right time!

Salmon have started to arrive over the past fortnight. I’ve had reports of the odd fish being taken in the lower Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers, with the most consistent water being the Hurunui River mouth and gut where there are about half dozen or so being caught each day.

The author Allan Burgess with a good kahawai taken at Birdlings Flat back in the 1980s.

The author Allan Burgess with a good kahawai taken at Birdlings Flat back in the 1980s.

The salmon taken so far are on the smaller side being long and lean rather than short and fat. Whatever the season brings one thing I can tell you for certain is that the top anglers who stick at it will catch salmon. Yesterday morning Simon McMillan caught a limit bag in the Hurunui River gut. As the old saying goes you won’t catch a salmon if your rod is in the garage!

Salmon Season Prospects for early 2017

My prediction is that the salmon won’t be big this season but they will be strong fighters and in very good condition. The previous season was near the bottom of the cycle. Remember the more times you can arrive at the and start casting the greater your chances of landing one of these much prized but often elusive fish! 

Kahawai Plentiful around the South Island

There are heaps of kahawai around the South Island at present. I suspect the warm sea conditions don’t favour the salmon so much but are appreciated by kahawai. They are great fun to catch. I’ve been having a ball catching them on light-weight spinning gear at the Waimakariri River mouth of late. You can see a video about it here: Light Tackle Kahawai Spinning makes for Exciting Low-Cost Game Fishing at River Mouths

About the Author

- Fishingmag.co.nz website editor.

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