After a few years of low salmon returns anglers are happy to be catching salmon in decent numbers again in Canterbury’s big rivers. Good numbers of salmon have been caught in the Rakaia, Rangitata, Waiau and Hurunui rivers.
Fish & Game Officer Steve Terry said anglers on the Hurunui River caught 38 salmon at the mouth over a weekend and more than 200 salmon were caught over a two week period in the lower reaches of the Rakaia River. Bruce Rule of the Ferrymead Fishing Club reported landing two salmon in four casts on the Rakaia, weighing 20 and 14 pounds respectively.
Salmon returns to the Waimakariri River were slow in January, but started to pick up over the last few weeks, particularly at the river mouth. “The Waimak usually follows the other rivers, so judging by how well they have been fishing we expect good returns to the river over the next month.”
While low flows saw catches taper off a bit in the Rakaia this month, the rain over the weekend resulted in a ‘fresh,’ or short lived rush of discoloured water. “This fresh will undoubtedly trigger salmon waiting at river mouths and pools to continue their journey. This is good for anglers as salmon on the move are generally easier to catch than those holed up waiting for a fresh,” said Terry.
The discoloured water unfortunately coincided with the Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition scheduled for last weekend. This made the river unfishable for the competition; however those who were able to stay for it to clear will undoubtedly be experiencing good fishing conditions.