Trout Fishing

November is the month for anglers to explore!

Fish and Game NZ

Opening of several backcountry and high-country waterways in the South Island 

Anglers across the South Island have been counting down the days until November for the opening of some spectacular fisheries.
November heralds the opening of several backcountry and high-country waterways in the South Island for anglers.
Each year around 80,000 anglers get a fishing licence in the South Island and head out to explore the island’s fisheries.
Opening of the high country fishing season at the Coleridge lakes. Photo: Richard Cosgrove, Fish & Game NZ
In Otago and Southland, November 1 is the traditional opening of the high-country fisheries in those regions.
Southland Fish & Game Officer Cohen Stewart says anglers can take the opportunity to explore some of the region’s more remote fisheries, find some peace and solitude and enjoy being in the outdoors.
“The fishing is only secondary to the spectacular scenery on offer,” Mr Stewart says.
The benefits to wellbeing from fishing are well documented. Taking some time to explore a new fishery or one you haven’t visited for a while will provide a respite from all the restrictions we face currently.
Otago Fish & Game Officer Bruce Quirey says Kiwis sometimes fail to appreciate what is right on their doorstep.
“Covid has shown us that we have plenty of places we can explore at home and have fun doing it.”
Southland Fish & Game officer Cohen Stewart (left) and Otago Fish & Game officer Ben Sowry drift through a swift glide in the Greenstone River. Photo: Bruce Quirey, Otago Fish and Game.
This week, Otago and Southland Fish & Game staff drift-dived the stunning Greenstone River to check on fish populations and habitat state as part of monitoring these spectacular fisheries.
“The Greenstone was in spectacular condition,” Mr Quirey said.
“The fish were mostly rainbow trout and were in top form. Some of the brown trout we found were of trophy size.
“We did not count as many fish as expected, but there are enough fish and stunning scenery to offer an amazing backcountry angling experience.”
Southland Fish & Game officer Cohen Stewart navigates his way through a shallow and crystal clear section of water. Photo: Bruce Quirey, Otago Fish and Game.
However, it’s not necessary to mount a full-on expedition to experience fishing; there are plenty of rivers and lakes in the South Island that anglers can drive to and go for a fish that will give you that great scenery and enjoyment of the outdoors.
“Freshwater fishing has the bonus of getting some great tasting kai for the table as well.”
The first Saturday in November is the day for anglers in the Canterbury area that the high-country waterways open.
Canterbury anglers head for the high-country lakes in their droves to fish waterways that, like the ones further south, have been closed to angling to allow fish to spawn undisturbed.
This year 2021, the first Saturday in November is the 6th. If you haven’t purchased a fishing licence in a while there have been a few changes such as Lake Selfe is now open all year. See the links below. Ed.
The Coleridge and Ashburton lakes see an influx of anglers ready for opening weekend, with over 1000 fishing around Lake Coleridge itself. 
Don’t forget that the small lakes, streams and rivers of the Mackenzie Basin are also opening and that there is both roadside access and wilderness experiences to be had there.
Arms outstretched in front for protection, Otago Fish & Game officer Ben Sowry glides through fast water. Photo: Bruce Quirey, Otago Fish and Game.
Central South Island Fish & Game Officer Rhys Adams says the easy access and proximity of these waterways to towns and cities mean they are a great outing for families in search of a little bit of adventure.
” The opening of the high-country unlocks a huge area for anglers to fish in”.
“The high-country opening has become a huge tradition for many anglers, and it’s easy to see why when you look at the environment you get to fish in.”
North Canterbury Fish & Game Officer Emily Arthur says the opening of the high-country waterways lets Kiwis explore some of our most pristine environments.
“It helps New Zealanders appreciate their unique places and highlights why we need to protect these special places, whether that be from the effects of land-use change or remembering to ‘check, clean, dry’ to stop the spread of aquatic pests.”
Postponement The Lake Coleridge Fishing Competition set for 6 November 2021 has been postponed – details


South Island Sports Fishing Regulations 2021/2022 booklet online

North Island Sports Fishing Regulations 2021/2022 booklet online

The Taupo Trout Fishery is administered by the Department of Conservation and you must buy a separate fishing licence to fish there. Here are the details about the Taupo Trout Fishery.

This post was last modified on 01/11/2021 6:18 pm

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