Still good fishing in ‘lost rivers’
Southland Fish and Game manager Zane Moss says there is still some good fishing to be had in the rivers highlighted in the NZ Association of Freshwater Angler’s ‘Lost Rivers’ report on Southland waterways.
‘‘The skull and crossbones they’re using probably isn’t quite appropriate because some of those rivers are still very popular and there’s still some good fishing to be had in some of them.
‘‘The report is pretty general but it has not come as any great surprise. Some rivers have declined more than others and angler usage and effort has declined in some rivers more than others.
A decline in trout numbers in a river was mostly due to sediment in the habitat, which was usually caused by intensive farming practices.
‘‘Sediment is the biggest issue and it’s inevitable, with more hill country being developed for farming, that it will run off and end up in the rivers.
‘‘The bigger rivers that have more water through them from the headwaters are less impacted by intensive agriculture as opposed to the smaller streams so it is inevitable that there will be less fishing in them.’’
He sited the Otapiri Stream, where there had been a 90 per cent drop in trout numbers in one section of the river since the 1960s.
‘‘We’re not saying all the rivers have declined to the same degree, but angler usage has declined in some areas and that’s simply because if the fish aren’t there the anglers won’t go there.’’