Ashburton River Trout and Salmon Fishing

Ashburton River I once talked about salmon fishing in the Ashburton River with an older bloke who was doing some…

Ashburton River

I once talked about salmon fishing in the Ashburton River with an older bloke who was doing some work on my 4WD Toyota. He told me that as a youngster he could remember a day when as many as 200 salmon were caught at the mouth of the Ashburton River. I’m guessing that had to be 50 to 60 years ago! In those days the Ashburton River had salmon runs very similar to those of the Rangitata River further to the south.

Alas nowadays the Ashburton is a shadow of its former self. Abstraction for irrigation has all but reduced this once mighty salmon river to a trickle. Some sea-run brown trout still run up through the river mouth when conditions permit – which isn’t very often nowadays. Mostly the lower river seeps through the shingle bank into the sea through the closed river mouth making it impossible for trout and salmon to enter from the sea.

As a result of low water flow the mouth of the Ashburton River is often closed off by shingle.

Ashburton mouth. Just not enough water for salmon or sea run trout to run up the beach!

In Jack Byrne’s excellent book Salmon Country there is a full-page photograph of a huge salmon caught at the Ashburton River mouth in 1978. It weighed 43 lb (19.5 kg). That is now almost four decades ago but shows just how good the trout and salmon fishing were in those days.

If planning to visit the mouth check with a sports store in Ashburton first to determine its condition.

The Ashburton River is not recommended as a destination for salmon anglers.

The Ashburton River divides into the North and South Branch on the western outskirts of Ashburton. Generally, the north branch dries out in summer with the remaining flow being below ground. Hence the better fishing will be in the south branch. Mostly there are smallish brown trout in the lower and upper Ashburton River. These smallish trout that weigh up to kilogram or so in weight are best targeted on the fly rod with dry flies and nymphs. The water can get very low throughout the Ashburton River by late summer.

Looking downstream of the Ashburton River South Branch.

There are some interest small fishing lakes in the mountains of the Ashburton River catchment that are attractive to trout anglers. One, in particular, is Lake Emily which contains brook char up to 2 kg in weight.

Ashburton River North Branch.

This post was last modified on 17/11/2017 2:03 am

Share

Recent Posts

The Masters on the Nymph – Michael Migel, Leonard M. Wright, Jr.

The Masters on the Nymph The Masters on the Nymph. Edited by Michael Migel and Leonard M. Wright, Jr. Illustrated…

22/08/2019

Norman Marsh’s Trout Fishing – Published by The Halcyon Press 1990

Norman Marsh's Trout Fishing Published by The Halcyon Press. Publication date: 1990 first edition. Hardcover. 160pp. ISBN 0 908685 60…

22/08/2019

Kent, John – South Island Trout Fishing Guide

South Island Trout Fishing Guide by John Kent Photographs by Patti Magnano Madsen Size: 215mm x 135mm. 258 pp total.…

09/08/2019

Twizel Canals Fishing Tips – Ohau, Pukaki and Tekapo Canals – Maps Video

Twizel Canals Fishing Tips - Plus 35lb rainbow video Here are some Twizel Canals Fishing Tips to get you started.…

05/08/2019

Rasmus Gabrielsson and Malcolm Bell Podcast Canterbury Salmon

Rasmus Gabrielsson talks with Malcolm Bell from The Complete Angler about the Canterbury Salmon Fishery by Allan Burgess Malcolm Bell,…

03/08/2019

Draper, Keith – Trout Flies in New Zealand by Keith Draper

Trout Flies in New Zealand by Keith Draper Published by Heinemann Reed. First published 1971, Size: 210mm x 140mm. 182…

19/07/2019

All Rights Reserved © fishingmag.co.nz 1999 - 2019