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Lake Coleridge Fishing

Lake Coleridge is a large, exposed high country lake that is heavily fished. It supports one of very few New Zealand populations of landlocked Chinook salmon which are the most common catch in the lake.

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Fish type Landlocked chinook salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout . Mostly around 0.75-1.5kg.
Situation

Lake Coleridge lies between the Torlesse and Mt Hutt ranges near Rakaia, at the foot of the Southern Alps.

From Christchurch, take SH73 to Darfield, turn onto SH77 and drive towards the Rakaia Gorge Bridge. At Windwhistle, turn onto Coleridge Road, then into Homestead Road at Acheron Cutting.

Maps

Access map
Access map with topography

LINZ topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260 series)

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast for Christchurch.
F&G pamphlet The High Country Lakes access pamphlet
Fishing competitions
  • The Lake Coleridge Brass Monkey Fishing Competition is held in August each year. Email John Haggitt (Ferrymead Fishing Club Inc) for details.
  • Ryton Bay, Lake Coleridge is the location for a fishing competition which is held on high country opening day each year (the first, Saturday in November). The competition is organised by North Canterbury Fish & Game and sponsored by Hamills Christchurch
Description

Lake Coleridge, one of the Rakaia group of 10 lakes, is the largest and most heavily fished lake in North Canterbury, despite being exposed to both nor’ and sou’westers. It is 18km long and covers just over 3,500ha.

The most common catch is the rare chinook salmon. Trout are hard to spot so blind fishing is necessary, usually along the eastern shoreline. In calm, bright conditions you might spot trout in some of the smaller lakes just to the east of Lake Coleridge.

The lower reaches of the tributaries all hold trout but they’re shingly and unstable, so stick to the lake.

The season runs from November to the end of April.

Access

The best access points are:

  • at the Intake which is off Mt Algidus Road
  • Ryton Bay on the eastern shore. Turn left off Harper Road before Ryton River bridge.
  • Harper Bay After crossing the Harper River, continue up Harper Road, through the Harper village and turn left after crossing the Harper River.
Methods

Deep troll a spinner from a motor boat.

Spin from the shore on a blustery day at the downwind end and into the wind.

Bait fishing is not permitted.

Recommended  trout lures

Nymphs: Muddler Minnow, Yellow Rabbit

Dry flies: Blowflies, Coch-y-Bondhu, Manuka Beetle, Black Gnat

Wet flies: Twilight Beauty, March Brown   and emerger patterns

Spinners: Rapalas, Tasmanian Devils, Ticers

Tributaries Tributaries to Lake Coleridge include:
- Wilberforce River
- Ryton River
- Harper River
Regulations
Applicable to Lake Coleridge.
Region North Canterbury regulations
Season

From the first Saturday in November to 30 April and from 1 Jun-31 Aug.

Note: Within 100 metres of any inflowing tributary is closed during the winter period (1 May - 30 September).

Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Fishing from boats not being mechanically propelled is permitted.
Fishing from boats being mechanically propelled is also permitted.
Bag limit Total sportsfish: 4
Trout: 2
Salmon: 4
Size limit (cm) None

 

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