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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Archive: Over one hundred years (Part 4)

From Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen; pages 13, 14. 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, with some editing to help with flow.

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Over one hundred years (Part 4)

In 1930, fishing licences had shown a decrease in sales despite local fisheries being reported as healthy.

The Annual Report of 1933 revealed new problems. Pollution of the Omaka was being caused by rubbish dumping, and heavy flooding and excessive weed growth also hampered fishing. The Society expressed concern that "authorities" seemed disappointed in the proliferation of weed in waterways.

The Depression of the 1930s was having its effect on fish and game management. The quinnat salmon hatchery at Te Rou was closed by the Government in 1934. Quinnat salmon were taken by anglers from the Wairau and one hole up the Wairau River was reported to contain "15 large salmon spawning".

The 1939 report showed finances to be shaky, no doubt due to those involved in World War 2. Fishing licences increased slightly but shooting licence sales decreased much to the mystification of Council. New problems arose to add to the usual woes and one unusual case was a proposal for a practice air bombing range at Lake Grassmere.

Things were obviously at a low ebb through the war years and the 1943 report declared, "owing to war conditions the work of the Society in general and the sport generally has been heavily curtailed". However, the Society did maintain enthusiasm and interest, and fishing was "exceptionally good". Fishermen were restricted in their sport by “benzine restrictions”.

Weather conditions had hampered fishing, although an 11 pound trout was taken from a Kaikoura stream.

The 1945 report shows the Society full of energy and enthusiasm. A fish trap on the Waikakaho and a count of ascending trout showed 1017 trout passed upstream to spawn.

Trout fishing was becoming a popular sport. A championship for the biggest trout was set up and in 1947-48, Mr A. Gibson won it with a 12.25 pound trout from the Opawa River.

ln 1950 the Society endeavoured to get automatic membership for all licence holders in fish and game sports. By legislation of the Wildlife Act, a licence holder has to signify that he wishes to join. The Marlborough Society’s efforts were clearly rejected by the Department, for membership of Acclimatisation Societies by licence holders is still not automatic on purchasing a licence.

Interest appeared high among licence holders but clearly some were unhappy on points of detail of their local sport. In 1951 a special meeting was called by a group of licence holders in an endeavour to have all "fly fishing only" restrictions removed from Marlborough’s trout streams. Seventy-five members attended and after heated discussion the motion was defeated. However, pressure was also exerted to have a new full council elected at each Annual Meeting and this was carried.

The Society was procuring rainbow trout for release into the Pelorus River system.


Page 13 of Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen.
Page 14 of Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen.