Hunting and Fishing in South Canterbury
A region of rolling hill country, alpine and sub alpine wilderness and many pristine rivers, South Canterbury really is your Central South Island hunting and fishing paradise. Bounded by the Southern Alps and the mighty Rangitata and Waitaki rivers, the region offers a rich variety of hunting and fishing opportunities in an environment where mountain vistas are the constant backdrop. Whether your choice is a safe family fishing outing or an off the beaten track hunting adventure, the choices are many and varied.
South Canterbury NZ hunting boasts a wide range of wildlife for hunters to enjoy, from numerous deer species (red deer, Monarch of the Glen stags, multi coloured Fallow, majestic Wapiti or Elk and the timid and elusive Whitetail), to alpine chamois or tahr. Other popular wild game includes the renowned Waimate wallabies, feral sheep, pigs, goats, opossums, rabbits and hares. A variety of waterfowl and peasants can also be sought by the keen hunter.
Prior to human settlement, New Zealand had no land based mammals other than two or three bat species. European settlers introduced a wide range of animals, including some specifically for game hunting. Due to New Zealand's temperate climate, abundant natural environment and lack of natural predators, many introduced species, such as rabbits, opossums, deer, tahr and chamois, have become nationally recognised as animal pests for the damage they cause to New Zealand's native flora and fauna. Networks of tracks and huts, established by the New Zealand Government Department of Conservation, assist access into remote areas for recreational hunters, who play an important role in keeping animal pest numbers under control. Locals and visitors who enjoy hunting, either as part of guided tours or as independent hunters, provide valuable assistance in managing pest levels in South Canterbury wilderness areas.
Fishing enthusiasts enjoy the extensive network of rivers and streams in the South Canterbury and nearby Mackenzie regions. (See Beaches and Rivers for more information). Rainbow, brown trout and salmon fishing are popular in high country lakes, lowland rivers and spring creeks amongst scenic farmland, lush native forest or high country wilderness. Most of New Zealand’s salmon run is contained within the border of the North Canterbury and Central South Island Fish and Game Regions. The Rangitata Mouth in particular is one of the more famous fishing locations in the South Island, very large numbers of salmon are regularly caught here. For sheer numbers of trout, the waters of the McKenzie country are hard to beat. The Tekapo River in particular contains very good numbers of trout which are not overly difficult to catch.
The region's trout fishing season runs from 1 October to 30 April. Winter and year round seasons apply to some fisheries. The salmon fishing season runs from 1 October to 31 March (searun salmon fisheries only.)
There are strict rules and regulations to follow through local authority Central South Island Fish and Game. These include hunting and fishing season timelines and the purchase of mandatory licences. South Canterbury’s famous whitebaiting season is governed by the Department of Conservation, another local authority. Check with the Timaru or Geraldine Visitor Centres for the latest information on seasons, licenses and the many guiding operators in the region. Fishing and Hunting licences can also be purchased over the internet at www.fishandgame.org.nz or at local fishing and hunting stores.
Many landowners are happy to allow sportspeople access to private property if asked - particularly when accompanied by an experienced guide - but be aware that in New Zealand hunting access to private land is by permission only.
Some of New Zealand's best hunting and fishing guides are located right here in South Canterbury. Secrecy surrounds those exclusive spots only a guide can take you to attain that once in a lifetime experience or trophy. Several local hunting and fishing guides can also offer lodge accommodation as part of the package. In Pleasant Point, a world-renowned taxidermy business is kept busy mounting hard-earned trophies which find their way into homes and lodges all over the world.
Browse our business listings for more information on South Canterbury NZ fishing, including hunting and fishing guides, outfitters and hunting and fishing sports stores.