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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 68

Sport in Canterbury

Sport in Canterbury.

The shooting season for ducks is generally from about April till the end of June, and good swan and duck shooting can be had in several places in the province, more especially at Lake Ellesmere, about twenty miles from Christchurch. Pheasants have become somewhat scarce, and can only be obtained in a few favoured localities. Partridges were imported some years ago, and at first increased very fast, but owing chiefly to the abundance of hawks, are now almost extinct. Hares are very abundant on the Plains.

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Almost all the rivers in the Province afford the finest trout fishing be obtained anywhere in the world, the trout running extremely large. The season begins on October 1st and lasts up till April 15th, but November, December, and the early part of January are the best months. In October and November the large snow rivers afford abundance of sport, spinning with a Devon Minnow or Whitebait Phantom being the best way of making the largest bags, and a day's fishing; in some of these rivers will often give the angler from 30 lbs. to 60 lbs. weight for his day's catch. The best stations for the snow rivers; are for the Rangitata, Ealing or Rangitata Island; for the Ashburton, Ashburton; for the Rakaia, Rakaia Station on the Kin South Line; or Southbridge for the mouth of the Rakaia, but the difficulty with all these rivers when once the warm weather begins, to catch them in proper condition; the melting snow on the ranges keeping them too often muddy and in heavy flood. There is both fly and minnow fishing to be had all the summer, of first-class character, it Winchester and Temuka in the Opihi.

The finest river of all, however, in the Province is the Selwyn, about twenty miles from Christchurch, and this river not being affected by now water, is in good condition all the summer, and most excellent fishing both with fly minnow and live bait can nearly always be obtained. For the Upper Selwyn, the best places to stop are Glen-tunnel or Whitecliffs, both within easy reach of Christchurch by train; Ellesmere on the Southbridge Line, or Springston for the Lower Selwyn and the Lake, where the finest trout are caught. Last year several bags of trout weighing over 60 lbs. were caught; for the Lower Selwyn and the Lake, the angler should, however, have a tent, as there no hotel within three or four miles of the lake; by going, however, Ellesmere Station the train takes him close to the stream, and he can have a day's sport and return in the evening to Christchurch. There are also numerous smaller streams near Christchurch where first-class sport can be obtained with the fly.