Twizel Canals

Night Fishing Twizel Canals – Summer Time Canal Tips and the Night Buzz

Night Fishing Twizel Canals with JacobFishing_NZ

Jacob’s Tips for Night Fishing Twizel Canals

With the weather starting to warm up, often the day fishing at the canals becomes a lot tougher!
This time of year I will often devote the majority of my time to night fishing Twizel Canals for a couple of reasons!

1) Standing in the 30-degree heat all day makes for a long day!
2) The canals are packed with anglers during the day in summer!
3) I’ve found the fish seem to feed a lot more when the sun goes down and the water and air temperatures drop!

When fishing at night if there is very little flow I will often use light softbaits and fish them deep with a slow wind. If there is a bit of water flow in the canal I still use the standard egg drifting set-up!

So if you are planning a trip or two to the canals this summer, have a crack at this night fishing buzz!

You can find JacobFishing_nz on Instagram and Facebook.

Jacob with a big Twizel Canals brown trout taken at night. Photo courtesy of JacobFishing_NZ on Instagram and Facebook.

More Night Fishing Tips with Allan Burgess

When to go Night Fishing

When we talk about night fishing for trout, typically, we’re talking about arriving at a river, stream, lake, or canal at least an hour or two before sunset. This gives the angler plenty of time to get his or her bearings, set up your tackle and fish the productive change of light period. During summer daylight saving time in New Zealand, it doesn’t get fully dark until around 10:00 pm. So that would mean arriving sometime around 7 to 8 pm, and fishing through until midnight, or into the small hours of the morning. 

When on holiday you might want to rest up or do some other family activity during the heat of the day. 

It is Very Easy to Lose Gear in the Dark

One habit that pays you to adopt is never put your gear on the ground when night fishing. Always attach everything to your vest, or keep it in a small bag over your shoulder. It is all too easy to leave a valuable landing net, folding chair, raincoat, or some other item lying on the bank and go home without it. If you are not using it leave it in the safety of your car.  

This is especially true when you and a mate are walking along the bank and casting into the darkness. In the excitement of hooking a big fish and following it downstream, you can very easily forget stuff. It isn’t until the next day that you remember you actually took two rods from the road down to the canal! 

Landing nets must be one of the most easily lost items. I have often arrived first at a water early in the morning and discovered a landing net just sitting there on the ground. You can avoid having this happen to you by carrying it on a strap over your shoulder or carrying a folding net in a pouch/holster around your waist. 

Don’t Shut Your Rod in the Car Door!

It might be stating the obvious but you have to be particularly careful to avoid shutting your fishing rod in your car door when you have been fishing at night. I’ve seen this happen on several occasions and is a very sad conclusion to your night’s fishing  


Ideally, you don’t want to be shining your torch onto the surface of the canal because it can spook the fish. Nighttime trout fishing can often be best on the darkest nights when there’s no moon. A headlamp enables you to keep both hands free making it ideal for tying knots, selecting lures, and seeing where you are going when walking. Be sure to turn your torch off when casting and retrieving. Focus on the feel of the lure through the water. After a while fishing in the dark becomes second nature and you don’t need to use your torch very often.

It is a good idea before switching on your headlamp to turn your back to the water to avoid spooking the trout. Some anglers switch their headlamp over to the red bulb for this reason.

You will be surprised at just how well you can see in the dark if you avoid turning on your torch as much as possible.

Night Fishing Twizel Canals

I have done a lot of night fishing for sea-run brown trout and have found that an area that seems devoid of trout during the day suddenly becomes alive after sunset. This is particularly so during hot weather.

Big brown trout are night hunters. They will chase small baitfish right into the shallows after dark. At night they will also readily take a lip-hook bully or silvery. Live worms are also effective after dark as they wriggle on the hook. Even a mouse imitation retrieved in a stop-start motion stands a much better chance of being devoured by a big brownie at night.

I have also found that trout will go on the bite for longer periods after sunset.

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

The Twizel Canals, as Jacob points out above, are an ideal place for summertime night fishing. During the warmer months especially on holidays and weekends, these popular fishing areas around the salmon farms are lined with people. I once counted 450 anglers fishing near the salmon farm on the Ohau A canal. As the sun begins to set almost all of these anglers will have headed off back to their campgrounds and motels. If you can get used to the nuances of night fishing you will increase your chances of catching a big trout in the canals considerably.

If you found this article about night fishing for trout in the Twizel Canals interesting you may also like Luminous Trout Flies – Doll Fly – Malcolm Bell video Night Fishing the Canals.

This post was last modified on 03/01/2023 6:26 pm

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