[b:2xbooa3d]Here is the difference between a 15 and 35 pounder.[/b:2xbooa3d]
[i:2xbooa3d]The late Keith Reinke was one of the best salmon anglers around and a Waitaki River stalwart. Here Keith has landed a hefty 35 pounder together with a 15 pound fish. In this picture you can really see the difference in size. A fish of over double the weight is not so much longer but is rather much broader and heavier in the body. Very few New Zealand anglers will ever catch a salmon weighing anything like 35 pounds. To catch such a fish you need considerable knowledge and skill combined with a certain element of luck![/i:2xbooa3d]
Thanks for posting a link to that Fisheries Report about Munida gregari (red krill). There is certainly thought to be a link between the abundance, or scarcity, of krill in the sea off Canterbury and Otago, and the size and number of returning salmon to our South Island east coast rivers. I remember once fishing for big sharks off Otago Peninsula. The dark blue/black sea water was laced with enormous clouds of dark maroon coloured red krill stretching as far as the eye could see in every direction. The volume of which was just unimaginable. The krill were being preyed on by vast schools of barracouta and kahawai. The sky was full of seabirds. It was an incredible sight.
In the worst salmon season on record in 2001 red cod catches off Canterbury and Otago also collapsed. Salmon returns at that time were poor in all the east coast rivers which shows the problem was at sea. Part of the allure of salmon fishing is anticipation of the season ahead. It takes patience, skill, and knowledge to catch salmon no matter how many are running our rivers in any given season. Any day you catch a salmon is a day worth celebrating.
Ross Millichamp, of North Canterbury Fish & Game, regarded as one of our most knowledgeable salmon anglers, once said, “In Canterbury, each season, perhaps 100 anglers catch as many salmon as all the other salmon anglers put together.” In my experience I would say Ross is quite correct!
I would like to point out to some of our readers, who may be unaware, there have been days in the mid 90s when over 100 salmon a day have been landed at the mouths of the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers. Sometimes this has occurred for days at a time. Most of the fish caught were well over 9kg (20lbs). Many of the salmon landed weighed around 16kg (35lbs) – some were even heavier.
Here you can see the winning fish weights in the Waitaki Salmon Fishing Contest over the years: https://fishingmag.co.nz/Waitaki-Riv … eights.htm