West Coast - February 2012

Salmon and sea-runners

PETER LANGLANDS
Last updated 16:32 13/02/2012
west coast feb12
Its cicada time on the Coast, so while the rivers have low flows, it's a great time to prospect the larger ones with dryfly.

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Salmon and sea-runners

Due to low water flows, the region’s larger rivers offer some good trout fishing.

The Haast River in South Westland offers lots of water to prospect, which is easily accessed on the Haast-Wanaka Road, so ideal for fishing by car. The upper reaches of the Grey River tributaries often fish very well at this time of year, with sea-run browns having moved up-river. Over the summer months the best trout fishing is often in the mornings and evenings. The Arnold River frequently has a good caddis fly hatch in the evenings, as do most spring creeks on the coast. Large browns will emerge at dusk to feed on caddis flies.

Salmon in the 4-6kg range have been caught from Lake Mapourika, and no doubt the numbers of salmon in the lake will increase in March. As with trout fishing, better catches are often made in the mornings. Lake Mapourika offers an outstanding opportunity for small-boat fishing for salmon in undoubtedly one of New Zealand most scenic locations.

Salmon continue to be caught in modest numbers in the key rivers within the region, such as the Haast, Hokitika, Taramakua and Grey. Yet salmon also stray into many other rivers and are often a welcome surprise for those spin fishing for trout in deeper pools where the salmon often hold. Unlike lakes, which have a salmon season closing at the end of March, the season for river fishing for salmon does not close until the end of April.

Rig fishing has been outstanding on many of the surf beaches on the coast, with beaches from Westport being particularly good. Using a drag net at low tide is a good way to catch paddle crabs, the best bait for rig.

Some of the larger fish caught have been up to 15kg. Over the summer, snapper are a popular by-catch from Westport beaches north to Karamea.

Offshore, February is a top month for albacore tuna on the West Coast, although reports on how the season is going have yet to trickle in. The Hokitika Canyon is increasing in popularity as anglers explore the range of fish that can be caught along the canyon’s edges using braid and electric reels.

West Coast by Peter Langlands
Ph 0274 501 916 • Email langlands@xtra.co.nz

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