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Southland, New Zealand

Trout Fishing, Smoking guns in the Didymo invasion

Maurice Rodway

Column for November 4, 2005

The mountains and their rivers of the land beyond the Waiau and our Great Lakes are some of the most remote in the country. This is where the tourist industry's slogan 100% pure really is true, even though it is not in some other parts of the land.

Fiordland remains pristine because of its remoteness, its rain, sandflies and near vertical landscape. But this is where people can go to find peace.  The characteristics of the area are to be protected at all costs. One of the most important treasures of the place is pure clear water. It begins as rainfall in great abundance. The trees, shrubs, mosses, tussocks, and ferns filter this water so that even when it flows from the mountains in a flood it changes colour only slightly. The water of the rivers is so clear it is difficult to tell how deep their great pools are. 

Norman Marsh wrote of approaching the edge of the Clinton River where he saw "a fairytale pool of giant boulders and dazzling gravel beaches surrounding jade green depths…".  There are places where the trout are bigger. And rivers where more trout live but the rivers of Fiordland are a place apart from the rest. We should ensure that they are kept this way so that our children and their children may continue to visit them to enjoy their treasures.

The landscape has protected these rivers so far but now the ugly hand of Didymo threatens to smother them and fill them with tendrils of slime. Even though anglers may love these places the most, their boots and their accoutrements are smoking guns in the Didymo invasion mystery. So it is essential that we make an extra effort to close the door to the spread.

Usually anglers can fish the rivers of Fiordland in November but this year the season doesn't open until early December. And then anglers must get a separate authorisation and a certificate to show they have Didymo free gear before they go to build their fishing dreams in these pure places.

It is an inconvenience but the Department of Conservation and Fish & Game have made the process as simple as possible. It is only a small price to pay to be able to continue to use these fisheries. There are no peers to them in the world.

Maurice Rodway
Southland, New Zealand                           E-mail:

Article © 2005 Maurice Rodway, All Rights Reserved.


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