In case you missed it the “Stand Up” message was as follows:
A group has been formed called “Kiwi Anglers First” , with the aim of reforming the management of what is left of our freshwater angling. The decline of our fishing and degradation of our rivers has become the number one topic of discussion in the angling magazines, and indeed in the wider media as well, where the prospect that rivers may be “unswimmable” has come as a shock to ordinary New Zealanders.
Year after year, as our best rivers continue their downward spiral, the magnificent trout and salmon fishing that existed just a generation ago is receding into memory. And soon, if this process continues, there will be precious little left worth trying to save from the greed of so-called “developers”, abetted by central government.
These trends are obvious to all of us, yet we seem powerless to prevent them, while Fish and Game’s best efforts, over many decades, have done little to stem the tide. There is much less angling, per capita, than there used to be. The main-stem rivers are more intensively fished, while much of the back- country – formerly the cream of our fishing – has long been overrun by helicopter-borne overseas tourists.
Yesterday TRM posted the issues from the deep south where anglers are fed up with the deterioration of their fresh water fishery and blaming everyone and seeking a solution? As several wisely asked TRM for an opinion we could not resist replying as follows.
What has happened is that the rest of the angling world has caught up with Southland/Otago and they do not like it. So they are responding in time honoured fashion – forming a committee to deal with the issues and asking for local fishing licence holders support.
To assist them, here is TRM’s simple solution to their issue. As usual this has also been thrashed out by a TRM inmates Komiti who have simple answers to most of the world’s problems. Major worries like Brexit, global warming, immigration, Auckland, tax, 1080, Trump, old age, state welfare, traffic congestion, dairy farming, irrigation, Nick Smith, etc. have all been successfully tackled by TRM’s Komiti. Comparatively, this is a simple one.
All that is needed to do is isolate what is different now about the fishing opportunities compared to fifty years ago when everything was perfect… What has changed. What has caused the problem? Who is to blame?
That is so obvious. We blame the Japs.
Why?. Their imported SUV’s are responsible in probing into the previously beyond reach waterways of the Southern Alps or up and across the wide braided rivers to discover every little tributary that were previously only known to professional fishing guides. Now any novice angler and his dog can cruise in luxury around the remote foothills easily fording unfordable rivers in these 4WD dual cab fat tyred diesel polluting marvelous fishermens’ dream-machines and discover giant trout that they were not entitled to. They have no right! Only a few years ago you needed a team of pack horses and mountain men as guides to venture into the unknown alpine pastures beyond the tar seal. Now anyone can do it. That has ruined the whole ‘wilderness’ fishing experience.
Evidence? Think back to the first hundred years since the trout were first released. What are the most remarkable changes since then? Think about it…. As indicated by the vintage posters the fishing has been around all that time. So what has changed? The major factor has to be access! But as these questions are aimed at South Island anglers we need to try to anticipate their responses to the key question – what are the greatest advances in fly fishing in the South Island in the last hundred years that have caused the destruction of their trout fishing?
Knowing this is aimed at South Island fly fishos it is easy to prejudge their response. Anglers have one track minds. Initially they might pick on fly rods advancing from split cane to fibreglass to graphite? Then perhaps line improvement from waxed silk to lines that actually float and tapered leaders and goretex waders and polarized sun glasses and tungsten beads and rotary fly tying vices and not forgetting the internet? … All these improvements have affected the fishing opportunities but they have failed to look at the bigger picture.
So how do you fix it? Ban all SUV’s. See – so brilliantly simple… but not very practical. The chances of achieving that are about the same as banning tourists from looking around the next bend in their electrically operated lambs wool centrally heated 4WD turbo charged ergonomic adjustable guided armchairs – previously known as car seats.
It is called “progress”. It is unstoppable. As the rest of the world are responsible, tourists need to be banned. But, like banning SUV’s, it is not practical, so we need to identify a solution that will work.
Simple! Send all your fishy tourist anglers to the North Island.
We can easily handle the pressure.
Our backcountry is so rugged no SUV can penetrate it. Tiger country. So much still remains pristine and unconquered.
There is not even any didymo…………….. whatever that is?
It is usually so steep there are not even any dairy farms. That means no cows or irrigation systems pinching the trout water… No Ecan. It is the best possible 100% pure wild trout nursery to provide the best natural wilderness habitat to breed world class trout who then swim down river for tourists to catch in places where they can drive to… There are so many different river choices…
Then factor in the choices in anglers accommodation. In this Taupo/Turangi region there are ample options with about 80 motels and fishing lodges varying from the best – Huka Lodge – to a wide range of medium to low cost B&B’s to cheap as chips backpackers.
There are even some motels that completely specialise in anglers’ needs. Find one with rod racks inside and you know you are home. Add to that a commercial sized smoke house for guests use, bikes (*) for guest use, free guide dog, rods and even leaky waders for guests, a daily website report on fishing, plus maps and fishing books and every other possible need for serious anglers. I doubt if any South Island location or motel could possibly compete.
(*) When anglers cannot proceed any further in SUV’s the motel provides free mountain bikes to take them beyond the black stump to the trophy streams and tributaries.
Then there is the much wider choice of rivers and lakes, many of which are open all year – not closed off for months like the South Island rivers. The location is perfect – Turangi is half way to everywhere.
Finally, perhaps most important of all, are the excellent anglers access tracks on both sides of the river – you hardly need waders at all.
In fact, when you do your complete analytical comparison, the South Island cannot compete. OK?
Even the critics commenting on the “Stand Up” report confirmed that. If you doubt their opinion then view the following short video…