Salmon Season Report 28 January 2022

Simon Jones with his huge salmon taken this season in the Rakaia River. Congratulations Simon, what a great looking fish!
Simon Jones with his huge salmon taken this season in the Rakaia River. Congratulations Simon, what a great looking fish!

With Larry Burke and Allan Burgess – in Italics

Rangitata River

It seems to me that the season so far has been more like the typical runs we had 10 to 15 years ago when the first rivers were always the Rangitata and the Rakaia to get the first fish.

The salmon catch board at the Bill Whipp’s hut at the South Side Rangitata Huts is show 24 salmon recorded, as of last week. This tally is only for salmon caught on the South Side of the Rangitata River mouth. It is an improvement over the past few years.

Rakaia River

The Rakaia River on the other hand is reported to be the best in 10 years. The numbers and the size and condition of the fish certainly show that.

Here is a really cool video from the guys at Ballinger’s Hunting and Fishing in Christchurch, Hamish AKA “The Hamster”, Dave, Jeremy, and Simon, releasing salmon at the Rakaia River mouth. There will be many anglers who struggle to catch a salmon looking at this video with considerable envy!

Rakaia salmon Comp Postponed. In case you haven’t heard due to uncertainty over Covid this year’s Rakaia Salmon Fishing Contest has been postponed. You can read about the cancellation here.

Waimakariri River

However, salmon fishing in the Waimakairi River is slow this year after two good season starts. The reasons for this are basically low river flow and heated water. The river temperarture below the irrigation intake at Brown’s rock heats up and by the time it reaches the Old Highway Bridge it can be 24 + degrees by mid afternoon, and still be 22 degrees at 11pm.

Once the temperature gets above 19 degrees it starts losing oxygen. Salmon are not stupid they will hang on until conditions are right. That is why the Waimakairi River runs now peaks around the middle of March. The last two years were good in that there were frequent floods that meant the water in the river rarely got above 20 degrees.

There have been a few salmon taken around the Waimakariri River mouth. But it is a waiting gameat this stage.

We have had 3 good years of smolt survival and now we are seeing the beginning of the results of that. Now we just need to keep the water in the rivers, which means keeping an eye and giving voice to preventing too much being taken. We are working on that and fish screens that actually work.

Waiau and Hurunui Rivers

Have not heard much about the Hurunui or the Waiau but salmon have been taken in those rivers.

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