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Ever hopeful ... Trying their luck worm fishing on the Temuka River are (from left) Michael Shannon, Andreyus Warahi, Marissa Shannon and Keira Shannon. PHOTO: HAMISH STEVENS

South Canterbury river flows were the best in years for the opening of the fishing season on Sunday.

Central South Island Fish & Game had rangers out checking licences and catches at the Waihi, Temuka, Te Moana, Opihi, Pareora and Te Ngawai rivers.

Fish & Game officer Hamish Stevens said he had checked about 10 anglers, mostly at the Temuka River, and while none had caught any fish by the time he got there, they were hoping a bit of sun later in the day would make spotting fish easier.

“It was probably one of the best starts to the season in terms of water flow that we’ve had in recent times. We’ve had good freshes to clean the substrate, so we’ve got nice clear gravels and cobbles, and good invertebrate life.”

The Temuka River was running at about double the flow of opening days in recent years, and the Te Ngawai River – usually the first in the region to drop and dry out – also had good flows.

“There were four young anglers drowning worms on the Temuka River.

“They’d dug their worms fresh out of the garden, and while they hadn’t caught anything when I spoke to them, they were all excited about their morning.”

Mr Stevens said good flows boded well for salmon anglers later in the season, as salmon would have access to the rivers.

“The Te Ngawai was very busy. There were lots of anglers trying to find a piece of water to fish, and one group who had caught three trout.”

Successful day … Alan McCartney, of Christchurch, on the Te Ngawai River. PHOTO: MARK WEBB

Mr Stevens said anglers were commenting that because the water levels were better than usual, the fish were not as concentrated as they were when levels were lower.

“They’re having to look a bit harder for the fish. But some of them had seen a few, and spooked a few.

“I went out on Sunday afternoon myself, and hooked four and landed two on the Opihi. The two that I did land were in really good condition.”

All but one of the anglers spoken to were able to produce their fishing licences, while one was issued a “failure to produce” notice, because he did not have his licence on him.