Find us on Facebook
Find us on Facebook

Tips & Resources

An outline of the ponds structure and regulations

The youth ponds are managed and stocked by the Sport Fishing for Youth Charitable Trust which is supported by a number of sponsors and organisations such as the Nelson trout fishing club.

A recent question to our Facebook page has drawn our attention to the possibility that there may be a number of new users of the ponds who have not had the opportunity to attend fish out days. As such they may be uncertain of what equipment to use at the ponds and what restrictions may apply. We try to keep information up-to-date on our website and also on our Facebook page but not everyone is aware of these.

The following details are provided to assist families who may be considering using the ponds.

The location and access

The ponds are located in the Waimea River berm park. Access is via Challies road with the turnoff from Waimea West Road. At the end of Challies road there is a parking area and also a gate which provides vehicle access to the ponds most of the time. On occasions this gate may be closed when the farmer is carrying out stock movement work in the area. If the gate is open you can drive through and follow the track to the left for approximately 1 km and you will see a sign pointing left to the youth ponds. If you come to very large pond at the end of the track you have missed the turnoff to the youth ponds.

The ponds configuration

The ponds were formed following the extraction of gravel for roadworks and the remaining hole being reconfigured to provide a range of fishing opportunities for youth. The ponds are fed by ground water flowing through the gravel below the surface and generally pond water level moves up and down with the river levels.

There are three ponds generally referred to as the small pond, middle pond, and big pond, for obvious reasons. There are fishing platforms for the disabled and others are located at the northern and southern end of the big pond and the northern end of the middle pond. There are walking tracks around all sides of the ponds but be aware these tracks have a stony gravel base, are uneven and can be unstable after heavy rain.

Spinners, soft baits and any other trolled bait can be used only in the big pond. The two smaller ponds are restricted to the use of flies, bait, and artificial bait such as Jimmy’s pellets and no type of trolled bait can be used.

There are usually a number of larger resident fish in the big pond as well is the more recent stocked fish. Be aware there are two fish refuges in this pond. These can be a hazard to softbaits, spinners etc which can become hooked on these if they are trolled too close. These refuges are marked with red buoys and it is prudent to keep reasonably clear of these unless you have a large supply of casting material. All methods of fishing can be used in the big pond.

The middle pond has been a very successful fishery in past years and has held a good number of fish. However, in the summer of 2022 it has experienced an filament algae growth which is making fishing more difficult. Hopefully this algal growth will dissipate over the next few months. This pond has relatively easy access to the fish for youngsters to cast their own bait or a bubble or to try with a fly rod if they are strong enough to handle one.

The small pond is a little shallower than the other ponds and can become warm at the peak of summer. Being shallower means that the fish are relatively easy to spot but it also means they can spot the fisher and can be very cautious about taking a fly or bait. This pond can be fun but frustrating for the kids to fish.

Tips for using the ponds

There is a very good tips section on our website. The following is a summary of some of the information.

Restrictions on use

There are a number of restrictions or requirements relating to the youth ponds.

The adult fishing pond.

There is a large new fishing pond located to the North of our ponds. This adult pond is managed by Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game and all users must have a licence to fish in this pond. Youth can fish in this adult pond using the licence obtained for the youth ponds but adults must have an adult licence or a family licence.

This adult pond is regularly stocked and provides a great opportunity for family fishing days.

Ian Kearney

Sport Fishing for Youth Charitable Trust.

Some general tips based on our experience of fishing at the ponds over the last five years

Waimea Fishing Ponds – Essential Equipment

Waimea Fishing Ponds – Tips And Hints

    Hands should be washed thoroughly before touching Lures / Nymphs or bait. The smell is a negative to most fish.
    Spend some time locating your fish schools, polarised glasses help. You can’t catch fish if they’re not in the area you are fishing! However rainbow trout tend to move around the ponds rather than stay in one location. That said, they have some preferred locations so it pays to have a good look around the ponds and try and find where the fish might be. Salmon tend to stay together in shoals so when the ponds are stocked with salmon it becomes more important to find out whether shoals are located. Polaroid glasses are of great assistance when trying to locate the fish.
    The first three hours after day break and last three hours of Sunset in general provide more active fishing over the summer. However in winter early afternoon may be more productive.
    Trout have great eyesight, light trace of 6lb – 8lb and small hooks from size 16 to No.2 ( fly hooks 10, 12 , 14 and 16 ) are best for regular hook-ups.
    Try fishing an area for 15 -30 minutes, if the fish are ignoring your baits / lures move to another area of the pond that holds fish and try again.
    You may need to wait for fish to come on the bite, enjoy your surroundings while you wait.
  7. LEARN
    Being a good fisherperson can take time so ask questions, practice knots, watch videos and keep trying.

Tips for taking kids fishing

A child’s first fishing trip is exciting for both parent and child. A fun outing can lead to future years of fishing enjoyment. Here are some tips to make it a fun and memorable experience.

Fishing rigs for standard spin rods

5 foot to 7 foot rod with reel capable of carrying over 100 meters of 6 – 10 lb nylon.
Spinning rigs around 5’6” to 7 foot in length with a reasonable reel are well suited for younger children. They can use them with a float located 1 to 2m above the hook in all three ponds and also with a spinner in the large pond. The Trust have used a Killwell kids spinning rig, Black Shadow rod and BS330 reel, for the last ten years and they have proved to be ideal. Spinners and lures such as soft baits are not allowed in the two smaller ponds as they tend to frighten the fish and put them off the bite making them hard for everyone to catch.

If fishing with a float and a hook suspended below you can use a variety of baits, see the gear section for details on the rig. We mainly use a commercial pellet called Jimmy’s baits which we find work well. You could use worms, small insects, or a nymph style fly such as a “pheasant tail” or a ” hare and copper”.

Bait rig with float
1 X Bobble float (water fillable), 1 x Trace line (6lb – 10lb) , 1 x Bare hook (Size No.2 or smaller or trout fly hook size 10, 12,14,16 )
Bait – Jimmys Bait Pellets, Worms, Maggots, corn.

Nymph rig with float
1 X Bobble float (water fillable),
1 x Trace line (6lb – 10lb), 1 x Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, bead head Prince, Grey Darter, Hair and Copper, or similar Nymphs : size 12, 14, 16.
Optional – use Jimmys Bait 3mm Nymph Baits for extra scent!

Bait rig with no float (experienced fishers only)
1 x Trace line (6lb – 10lb), 2 x split shot sinkers, 1 x Bare Hook No.2 or smaller.
Bait – Jimmys Bait Pellets , Worms, Maggots, Corn

Links to useful resources on the web

Getting started

Nelson fishing

How to cook trout