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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Archive: Looking Back

From Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen; pages 19, 20. Originally published 1980. Scans of the pages are at the bottom of this article. This article shows the text from the original that relates to fishing.

Looking Back
by Frank Mogridge





Frank Mogridge, 95 years young in 1980 and a life member, recalls...

I can recall the Society’s first hatchery at Springlands where Mr S. Tapp had a wool scouring works. The introduction of trout to our waters was very successful and some fine big trout were taken at the turn of the century. From the Taylor River at a spot not far from the present Criterion Hotel a twenty-six pound trout was taken in 1901. About the same time one of thirty pounds was taken from the Opawa River.

The Springlands trout hatchery was eventually abandoned, due I think to a lack of finance and the Marlborough Society turned to a policy of purchasing fry for liberation. The Fisheries Department endeavoured to establish quinnat salmon in the Wairau River and built a hatchery at Maori Creek near Te Rou on the North Bank. This operated for quite some time but the poor results with salmon forced the eventual closure of the complex.

The failure of salmon to colonise the Wairau in substantial numbers is the result of unfavourable ocean conditions with temperatures being too warm. As a result the colder waters the Clarence, Waiau and Hurunui Rivers further south probably gained more benefit than the Wairau.

One of Marlborough’s best rivers in those early years was the Opawa. It originally formed from a breakthrough of its banks by the Wairau River.  It came down across the plains and formed numerous small streams which joined just below Renwick to form the Opawa River proper.

The Taylor also was a fine trout river and held quite good fish from the High Street bridge to the junction at the Opawa gas works. About 1937 a property owner planted some water lilies in the stream and in a short time the water lilies had filled the whole of the river. All sorts of efforts were made to remove the lilies but without success. Enquiries by the Society were made worldwide in an effort to save the Taylor River and a machine for weed cutting was obtained from America. It cost £l5O, but the Society had just £lO to spare. However, grants were obtained from the Blenheim Borough Council and the River Board and a shipping company, Eckford's, who used the Opawa wharf, and the machine was landed and presented to the River Board. It was a big success and constant cutting eventually completed the destruction of the masses of lilies.

Page 19 of Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen.
Page 20 of Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen.