Tuesday 4 December 2012

Archive: Over one hundred years (Part 5, final part)

From Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen; pages 15, 16. 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 5, final part)

Good trout were still being taken and in 1953 a 12.25 pound trout from the Wairau River, caught by Ron Nelson, won the trophy.

Liberations of trout continued with emphasis on rainbow trout from the Internal Affairs hatcheries. The rainbow trout were liberated in the Wakamarina, Taylor, and Spring Creek.

After stormy sessions of votes of no confidence in 1952, the Council settled back into its domestic duties by 1955. Nevertheless, the Council was vigilant with its ranging, opposition to pollution, and active with management such as using vibert boxes for planting trout ova in streams.

Marlborough’s rivers continued to provide some good trophy fish. In 1961 the fishing trophy was won by Doug Herd with a l4.5 pound trout.

In 1965 the Society instituted winter trout fishing on an experimental basis, with the Wairau River being opened from the mouth to the Wash Bridge.

Recognition of the quality of the trout fishing in the Upper Wairau River took the form of a four fish bag limit. The vexed question of introducing large mouth bass to New Zealand was opposed by the Council who made representations to the Internal Affairs Department.

Nationally, several matters began to occupy the Society’s thoughts. The Tongariro Power scheme was opposed and a fish farming conference was to be a prelude to the strong opposition of anglers to trout farming. Rainbow trout liberations were made in the Pelorus system. The Hunn Commission of Enquiry on wildlife management was being discussed, and Acclimatisation Societies were once again fighting for survival under the threat of State Control, which had been successfully resisted on many previous occasions.

The Taylor Dam (Blenheim Borough water supply) was now in existence and fish salvaged from the Taylor River during summer drought were liberated in the lake.

The issue of commercial pond rearing of trout appeared again and the Marlborough Society Council bluntly stated "this Society has always been opposed to the commercialising of fishing and shooting".

In 1969 a meeting in the Bohally Intermediate School hall was attended by over 70 licence holders. The subject was Encroachment by Commercialisation Into Outdoor Sports. Guest speakers were Mr J. B. Henderson, of the Wellington Society and Mr M. A. J. Adam, of the Hawkes Bay Society.

In 1969 more rainbow trout fingerlings were procured and liberated in the Wairau, Kaituna and Pelorus Rivers. The Vernon Lagoons were being threatened by proposed salt work extensions. The Save Manapouri Campaign came to Blenheim and the Council supported the meeting and   to the raising of the Lake.

Proposals for salt works on the Vernon Lagoons began to cause consternation among sportsman and bird lovers, and considerable research work resulted in the Lagoons being rated as an invaluable and priceless wildlife and fishery area, both as habitat for adults and a nursery for breeding.

Fishery management faced a problem with a proposal for a hydro-electricity station on a Marlborough River. The eventual choice was the Branch River.

Research revealed a number of hitherto unsuspected trout, often of large size, abundant fingerlings from natural spawning, and a successful plea was made for full consideration of public fisheries in the design of the scheme. The result was a fish pass incorporated and a minimum guaranteed flow.

By 1979, three Wildlife Management areas had been created. They were Lake Rotorua (Kaikoura), Para Swamp and 5 hectares of swampland at Top Valley, Wairau Valley. Representations were made for the Vernon Lagoons, in part, to become a Wildlife Management Reserve also.

The formation of a Sportsmen’s Rod and Gun Club in Blenheim resulted in increased interest in the Society by licence holders.

As the Acclimatisation Society entered the 1980s, rod and gun sport was in a healthy state. Rivers were yielding good trout and ducks, swans and quail were abundant.

Over one hundred years of fish and game management by the Acclimatisation Society had resulted in firstly fish and game populations being established by acclimatisation and then cared for with management.

Page 15 of Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen.
Page 16 of Hunting and Fishing in Marlborough – A history of the Marlborough Acclimatisation Society and a guide for present day sportsmen.