Opihi River, Trout and Salmon Fishing – South Canterbury

Opihi River – Dry Fly Fishing for Trout and Sometimes Good Salmon Fishing at the Mouth

The Opihi is a small river flowing south-east with a length of some 75kms. It flows into the sea about 10kms north of Timaru. There is a small bach settlement near the mouth called Milford Huts on the edge of the lagoon. The Opihi River suffers from low flows and can all but dry up in mid-summer. There are reasonable numbers of smallish brown trout throughout the river. Mostly the river mouth is closed to the sea but can open for a time following rain. At such times the mouth and surf can fire up with quite a few salmon being caught late in the season.

Jason with his second salmon this season from the Opihi River January 2008.

Although today the Opihi often dries up in its middle reaches it was once a premier trout and salmon fishing river. Thirty years ago the Opihi could on occasion yield more salmon to the anglers’ rod than the nearby Rangitata River. It is hard to believe that when you see the Opihi today. Although the mouth can be open for a time in early spring it soon closes off. During a dry summer, the middle and lower reaches almost disappear dropping to little more than a creek! Such has been the effect of taking water for irrigation!

The Opihi River and its tributaries, Opua, Te Moana, Tengawai and Waihi were once among the most famous trout fisheries in the world. There is still good dry fly fishing to be had in these areas but the flies must be small and the presentation excellent. Steve’s Fishing, Hunting & Adventure Tours – Omihi, Temuka, South Canterbury.

Salmon Runs

The salmon fishing on occasion is still good in the surf. Most angling activity is around the lagoon. Whitebaiting is also popular here in season.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter
Get the latest fishing articles, news, videos, tips, and updates. The Fishingmag newsletter is delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Salmon runs in the Opihi River, as shown in a report, published by Fish and Game, make interesting reading. It shows the salmon run in the Opihi River can in some years almost rival that of the nearby Rangitata River.

On the 24th January 1877 salmon were first released into the Opihi River, seven miles above Pleasant Point. Fish & Game Opihi Angler Access Pamphlet 2005 pdf

Jason Lloyd with a real beauty from the Opihi River.
Opihi River Mouth. The blue lines are 1km apart. Scale 1:50,000. Map sourced from LINZ. Crown Copyright Reserved

This post was last modified on 17/06/2019 9:03 pm

Share
Leave a Comment
Published by

Recent Posts

Twizel Canals Winter 2022 – Five Fishing Tips For Beginners

Twizel Canals Winter 2022 - Five Fishing Tips For Beginners By Allan Burgess The Twizels…

27/05/2022

Fenwick Feralite FF98 Fibreglass Fly Rod is at least 50 Years Old

Fenwick Feralite FF98 the slow soft-action was ideal for a Lure Rod  By Allan Burgess…

24/05/2022

Flats Kahawai on my 3wt Epic 370 Fastglass II – A Date with Little Olive

Flats Kahawai - A Date with Little Olive There have been a few big flats…

22/05/2022

Salmon Season 2021-2022 Final Washup

Salmon Season 2021-2022 Final Washup There was a big improvement in fish numbers in the…

21/05/2022

Tauranga Flats Kingfish on my Vintage Glass Fenwick Feralite FF 858

Tauranga Flats Kingfish on my Vintage Glass Fenwick Feralite FF 858 By Dick Marquand Some…

21/05/2022

Canterbury Winter Fishing Blues

Canterbury Winter Fishing Blues By Piscator As an angler, don't you just hate winter? The…

17/05/2022