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.’’

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