<<Club Contact - First Name>> Merry Christmas from the NZFFA

Well what a year of change it has been. With that change comes hope of new directions for water management. This is the best chance we have had ever to have water issues addressed, we need to remain vigilant and hold the new Govt to task. I note we are yet to see the promised 'Clean Waters Summit on cleaning up our rivers and lakes' which is part of Labour's first 100 days plan...

The NZFFA has asked to meeting with the new Govt ministers of Conservation and Environment, and also the new CEO of F&G. Hopefully these will occur early in the new year

Salmon Symposium;

I managed to get along to this in Ashburton - and want to congratulate Fish and Game on a very well run event, the quality of information was very good as were the presentations, highlights for me was the presentation from Canadian fisheries expert David Willis which was very informative and gave insights as to the way forward. New Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage was equally interesting as she gave the audience hope that the new Govt will address many of the environmental issues impacting on our river - to sum it up - she's on our side!!

At one point organiser Mathew Hall asked the audience if they was anyone in the room who disagreed that the salmon fishery was in a perilous state - no one did

 I spoke to one retired Rakaia Gorge farmer who remembered the good old days - over 100 fish for a season! - how times have changed... The weekend ended with some words of wisdom from retiring F&G head Bryce Johnston - who suggested this was perhaps our last chance for these rivers and therefore the salmon fishery - when you consider what we once had - took for granted for so long - we can't afford to lose the King of fish and the King of our rivers - and so the fight to save the last of the salmon has begun - I hope it's one we can win!

The presentations are available on F&Gs website here - worth a read if you have time over the Xmas break. I understand F&G are still working to set up a Salmon Committee to take this forward and look forward to that.

Steve Gerard         


Fish Stress from Catch and Release Fishing
By Dan Dauwalter, Ph.D

Fish are stressed when caught by anglers due to capture, handling, and air exposure. When fish are harvested for consumption these stressors are, of course, irrelevant. However, anglers often practice catch-and-release so that fish may be caught again, and fishery managers use regulations that require release of some fish of a given size or species to improve or conserve populations. Even when fish are alive at the time of release, the stress to a fish from being caught and released can result in delayed mortality, reduced reproductive success, or increased vulnerability to predation (Figure 1).
To ensure that catch-and-release practices effectively return caught fish to the population, researchers have studied both lethal and sub-lethal stresses from catch-and-release fishing.

It makes sense that fish that are played longer and held out of water longer will experience more stress, and the more stress experienced by a fish the more likely it is to die when released. To reduce stress, scientists have recommended some general guidelines for catch-and-release angling (Cooke and Suski 2005):

1) minimize angling duration (the time a fish is played and handled for hook removal) 
2) minimize air exposure (15-20 sec) by removing hooks with the fish in water and photographing fish quickly 
3) use barbless hooks and artificial lures/flies 
4) use rubber nets void of knots that protect fish scales and mucous 
5) avoid angling during extremes in water temperature

Read whole article
When will enough be enough - In the press today;

New irrigation scheme gets go ahead

read it here

And as if taking more water wasn't bad enough - industry capture of our regional councils & councils is rife in NZ and is a big part of our water problems. But it's not just just those council - in this article note that large Canterbury irrigation developer Gary Rooney is also the chairman of CSI F&G... an issue easily fixed by requiring all candidates in F&G elections to declare their other interests? Come on F&G sort this out
Our Venerable Trout Fishing Forefathers – or were they?

Recently a colleague made a comment about preserving the egalitarian trout fishing heritage that our forefathers had fought for. Is it a truism, an undeniable fact, or an urban myth?

How dare I suggest that it is a myth, you say. There have been wonderful books and articles written about it for years. I have recently read quite a bit of archival material relating to the early Otago and Canterbury Acclimatisation societies and I seriously question whether the motives of those who founded the sport were egalitarian.

My conclusion is that many were social-class-climbing ultra-conservatives.

Relative to the average settler, most were the class of person that the majority of settlers had hoped to “escape” from when they left England. When you look at the composition of the Societies, and in particular those involved in trout introductions, you will find Prime Ministers, M.P.s, “Sirs”, “Venerable Archdeacons”, Provincial Superintendents, Doctors, Judges, etc. For most settlers these were not their normal associates.
Groups like the New Zealand Company, the Canterbury Association, etc., were governed by representatives of the English upper land-owning classes. New Zealand imported the English class structure as a framework for its settlements. The social disaster in areas like Russell (in the Bay of Islands) had shown the need for social frameworks that could maintain effective commerce, and hopefully law and order.

The land-owning class quickly became established, especially in the South island, and soon dominated the local and national settler governing structures. Some were “younger sons” who had little prospect at home but who had the “breeding” to assume roles that allowed their expression of superiority over the “ordinary” settler in the colony. The dispersal of the land acquired by the settler government, by fair means and foul, allowed these individuals to quickly gain a social and financial status that paralleled that of the land owners at home. The next step was to recreate the lifestyle of the estate inhabitants in Britain.

Unless you owned a river or forest in Britain, salmon and trout fishing, hunting for boar, deer, hares rabbits and ducks, etc., were all crimes. Being able to do these things legitimately was a sign of financial “success” and social superiority. The colony’s trout fishing forefathers on the Acclimatisation Societies were motivated by the need to experience this success/superiority. They came to New Zealand with the mind-set that Britain should rule the world; as if God had decreed it. Replicating “the old country” was a major driving force; Life style included. Fishing and hunting was what the upper classes did, and they were determined to assume that role in New Zealand. To join the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society in 1864 cost you five pounds ($10). Each subsequent year it was two pounds and two shillings. At that time the average worker in Canterbury received a gross wage between 25 and 35 shillings ($2.50-$3.50) a week; and often their work (& pay) was intermittent. This financial barrier ensured the “class purity” of the societies. The standard of dress “required” added to this. The Kiwi colonists recreated the tweed and claret image.

When fishing in Canterbury was permitted, in March 1875, the licence fee was one pound; over half an average wage. Trout had been first hatched there in 1867. Fees were vital for the Society of course as importations of fish, game and other familiar species were expensive. I note that the South Canterbury Society charged $4 for a fee to shoot hares between May and July around this time. Fishing and game hunting were thus the prerogative of the wealthy, just as they had been at home in Britain.

The squabbles amongst these aspiring Lairds and Squires at the Societies’ meetings are fascinating to read. The English Barons of medieval times must have really inspired this lot. In true recognition of class the first trout to be cooked (legally) for consumption was presented to the Governor General, Sir James Ferguson in 1875. It was a 9.75 lb Avon River brown trout.

Most of us descend primarily from the “other classes”. As in Britain these ancestors were priced out of fishing so some reverted to the wiles of their cousins back home. The courts quickly began to feature cases of poaching. Others sought to justify the fee with worthwhile take home catches, even if it meant bending the rules. The 1880s seem to have been a great time for fishing squabbles. The Anglers’ Society took one matter as far as to the Colonial Secretary in October 1880. The tactic worked. New regulations were gazetted. The issue at question was “the unsportsmanlike practice of cross-line fishing” in the Avon River. Two anglers, one on each side of the river, tied their lines together with a string of flies along the length. They would walk slowly along the river, “dipping as they went”. When a fish was hooked the nearest one would wind in while his partner paid out line. A difficult fish could be played backwards and forwards across the stream. Anglers could allegedly clean out the trout from a stretch of river with this method.

The Anglers’ Society believed that the good work in stocking the Avon could be undone by these working class blaggards. The Colonial Secretary was suitably outraged and not only made cross-line fishing illegal but also the use of ground bait and stroke-hauling (deliberate foul hooking). These unsportsmanlike actions were usually clandestine. Fishing under the cover of night, by poachers from the “lower classes” was seen as an unfortunate imported behaviour from the “old country” (or was it those “infernal Irish”!).  As a result the regulations enjoined that fishing should be allowed only “between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.” in an effort to rid the sport of “these malpractices”.

Unsportsmanlike behaviour, especially poaching continued to bother angling authorities from day one. The old Canterbury court records are full of cases. The survival of the fishery was regularly cited as being under threat from such “scoundrels”. Some interesting cases came from South Canterbury. In 1899 a Thomas Moss was charged with illegally taking trout. He pleaded “Not Guilty”. He had been seen to throw something away when confronted by a ranger. On his person was found a towel and a cake of soap. He claimed to be on his way to bathe. A trout was found nearby. His worship dismissed the charge against this “clean living” man. The towel and soap evidence supported his alibi. Another man who was observed in the act of “tickling” trout claimed that he was just getting a drink and that he had found the two trout in his bag lying on the river bank. His defence, that finding trout just lying there was common, was not accepted and he went home over five pounds poorer.

Fines in those days were often less than the Court costs, often about a third. These fines ranged from less than 10 shillings to three pounds. By 1903 The Timaru Herald was covering complaints about the fines being too low. In 1906 the average appears to have grown to five pounds but stayed there for 20 years. There was no Muldoon-like inflation in those days.

In 1916 though there was a record of a gang of 20 poachers with lookouts (watching for rangers). In the 1920s cars were being used; a bit much for rangers on bicycles or horseback. By then a “fishing tourist” was reporting “dynamiting, liming, netting and stall-holding” and looked forward to better fishing in Rotorua. Fines were obviously not a real deterrent. Subsequently acetylene lamps (at night) and rifles were often quoted in poaching cases.
Probably the most colourful poaching story was reported in both the Timaru Herald and the Ashburton Guardian. The ranger felt that as a gentleman could not search the suspect. It was a woman; in fact there were several, all bathing in the river. The suspect had on a regulation 1917 style bathing costume; probably neck to ankles. This “gentleman” ranger whilst on his patrol felt obliged to veer away when he saw the women bathing. He did note however that one was “extraordinary stout”.

He thought nothing more about the matter until indisputable evidence came to light that she had been poaching. He stated with some embarrassment that “he had been duped”. Her stoutness was caused by fine well-conditioned trout that were secreted under her bathing costume. It is a good old “fishy story” about a woman who certainly would have stunned people with her exotic “perfume”. One suspects that her “Eau de Trout” fragrance would have done little to attract the local Douglas Fairbanks, or other silent movie star, look-a-likes at the local dance hall.
It is a “touchy” fact for most of us to face but more of us descended from the “scoundrels” than the individuals who sought to recreate the English class structure. 
Rex N. Gibson
A Useful water quality website;
It's not that easy to find the info - but it is all there - click on the image

 Fishing Husbands - 80 Years Ago!
by Tony Orman 

A few years ago, I had two cartons of old fishing and hunting magazines given to me. When I say ”old” they go back to 1930!
They have been packed away until now when the other day I delved into them. Many of today’s anglers will not have heard of them. But for decades they were the only fishing and hunting magazines. There was “ The NZ Fishing and Shooting Gazette" magazine and  the “NZ Outdoors.”

The “NZ Fishing and Shooting Gazette” I chanced to browse the other day was of 1938, the 1st of October. However here is an interesting article entitled "Any Cure for Fishing Fever?” written by "an Angler’s Wife”. I’ve slightly abridged this article to lessen the repetitive stress syndrome on my one typing finger!

The revealing article ran as follows:-

"One thing about husbands is they are all daft about something. When a woman gets married she accepts a new job, a whole-time job. A man goes for marriage as a sideline to his main occupation. With some it’s football, others it’s dog-breeding, others it’s the Stock Market.

With mine it happens to be fishing, which is worse than ever. I knew before I was married because they said “You’re marrying Joe Williams - he’s the angler isn’t he? Oh well! Maybe it’ll be alright!”

I thought I could fix him - adapt him I called it. You can cure them of leprosy easier. For me, I’m reasonable. I don’t object to him spending all his half days fishing. I can shut my ears to his long, long stories. I can even stand him practising his up-wind casts in the living room - so long as I can take the ornaments away.

To me this fishing business is like over-smoking or biting nails. They ought to advertise things to cure it. Fishing is more than an amusement. It is more than an occupation. As far as I can see, it is in the nature of a faith. For as my husband grows older, he grows dafter.

There was a time when we were courting, he missed the evening rise twice in a week to take me to the movies. He thinks ruefully of that to this day, wondering what escaped him then by way of the missed evening rises.

What I complain of most of all is a fisherman’s inconsistency. He will wait for hours by the water on the chance that conditions come right. Yet should I be five minutes late in preparing his breakfast kipper, there are words.

A trout it seems, is a creature to be wooed and coaxed with infinite patience. A kipper has to come when it’s whistled for.

On these sporting occasions, my husband wears a hat with flies in it. That as everyone knows is a uniform peculiar to fishermen. Soft and greenish shapeless and abominable, the hat carries flies as a crown carries jewels. No fishermen would admit the flies are stuck into the hat primarily as a decoration, yet such is the case. The whole affair is as arrant a piece of exhibitionism as I’ve ever met.

You may say these trifles grow wearisome but will be amply compensated for by the constant arrival of trout and salmon. "Daddy may fish but he doesn’t always catch," I explain to the children.. When the breeze is right the light is wrong, when the light is right, the sun is too strong. When the sun and the light and the water and the lure and the temperature are all satisfactory, then it seems the fault must be in the horoscope.

The ideal fishing day only comes on one occasion. That is when we have guests at the house and my husband must chafe indoors.

If you want to know just what life is like with a mono-maniac, a 37 year old schoolboy - a perpetual after-dinner speaker and a night watchman all rolled into one - then marry an angler."
Have a very Merry Christmas from the NZFFA

Kind Regards
Steve Gerard


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