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Do I need a fishing licence even for one day?


Yes. In New Zealand a fishing licence is required to be purchased by all anglers (including children). This must be purchased prior to the fishing trip. Licences can be purchased directly through Fish & Game New Zealand using their online system. This licence allows the angler to fish for trout or salmon throughout New Zealand except for the Taupo and Rotorua regions.  

Fishing Licences

Fishing by the Season



 

FAQs and Key Fishing Information for New Zealand's South Island

Packages

When does the season open and close?


Although some lowland waterways remain open year round the following information provides more specificity for our region and what is applicable based on fish types:

  • Canterbury & West Coastal regions, season starts 1st October ends in April.
  • Canterbury High Country lakes and rivers open on the first Saturday in November.
  • Rainbow trout dominated waterways open at the start of December.
  • Canterbury salmon spawning streams close either at the end of February or March with the majority of the waters still remaining open until the end of April

When-is the best time of the year to fly fish in the South Island?

 

October / November  (Spring)      

The main season begins, bringing the opportunity to fish for trout that haven’t seen a fly or been disturbed by anglers for up to 7 months. The trout have finished spawning and have had time to regain some condition but are still pretty hungry and overall pretty relaxed. Trout are mainly taken on nymphs during this period however as temperatures warm up in November, more trout tend to look up and can be tempted to take a dry fly off the surface.

The first of the warm evenings in late November brings on the nocturnal Brown (grass grub) Beetle hatches, leading to great dusk dry fly fishing opportunities The lower reaches of many east and west coast rivers can fire during this period as the indigenous whitebait enter the rivers in large numbers and are subsequently predated by resident trout.

 

December / January / February (Summer)

December brings long warm more settled days and increased insect activity. Generally lower river levels make fish more visible, often giving away their location when rising to terrestrials or emergent insects, making this an exciting time of the year for Anglers.

By December the last of the closed “Rainbow Waters” are open for fishing. Green Beetle hatches on high country and west coast lakes create some fantastic dry fly action.

 

March / April (Autumn)

Settled weather patterns - Exciting visual dry-fly fishing with trout attracted to the splash of a landing cicada sometimes travelling between 4-5 metres across a pool to consume the insect. Fish can be in spectacular condition due to all the terrestrial sourced dietary proteins they have consumed. Day length is still good but starts getting shorter later in March. Many waters will be at low levels, making fish easier to locate. The end of the main season is also a good time to try a large lure on selective trout, as the large browns start to get territorial as they begin to think about spawning. Large mayfly hatches also often occur on the rivers as winter approaches. This is also a good time to target pre-spawning browns in good condition around lake margins.

 

May to September (Mainly Winter) - The “off season”

This can be a “magic” time of year with an often fine, sunny, clear day occurring after a cold frosty start. Parts of both East and West Coast rivers are still open with many maiden fish still continuing to feed in the lower and middle reaches of rivers. Trout can still be found cruising lake margins, and can be stalked from shore or boats using nymphs and lures. Some Canterbury lakes have a winter season from early June to the end of August, and some West Coast lakes are open all year round. Browns will generally spawn first with Rainbows following later.


Sustainable Fishing Practices


Catch and Release (C&R)

Here at South Island Adventure Fly Fishing we consistently practice the use of barb-less hooks and "catch and release". Unless necessary for presentation purposes we always use strong flurocarbon or monofilament tippet to allow fish to be landed as quickly as possible, thus reducing physiological stresses on the fish. Releasing captured trout helps to sustain and preserve the fish stocks in populations into which there can sometimes be little recruitment. In many of our rivers, if every angler who visited the area during the season was to take a fish, then after a short time there would be no fish remaining to be caught. This philosophy also helps to ensure that New Zealand’s highly regarded angling heritage continues for future generations to enjoy. 


Tips For Making the Most of Your Fishing Trip

 

Best time of day to fish

Leaving early in the morning will ensure the best fishing spots and the best chance of encountering as many undisturbed trout as possible.Setting aside a whole day for your fishing trip will ensure that if a big hatch begins or an evening rise eventuates, you are able to make the most of these opportunities.


Request to fish near some classic Kiwi activities and enjoy some downtime at the end of the fishing day

You may also wish to include a swim in the Hanmer Thermal Pools, a winery visit or a meal at a restaurant or kiwi pub at the end of the day.


Add an overnight to the trip

An overnight stay near the area planning to be fished can greatly improve your fishing success by allowing first access to the water the next morning. An overnight stay can also maximize your fishing time by minimizing the travel time on that particular day.


Ask for exactly what you want - what are your key objectives for the fishing trip?

Specialised packages can be custom made to meet your specific requirements on request and often will not cost any extra. To see more custom options check out the Custom Packages page or contact us via e-mail or phone to discuss options.

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