The 300 or so brood stock we kept back are doing well and are on track for being used to some degree or other next year as brood stock.
Teams have been looking after these fish each weekend and some work has continued at the hatchery on most days. The focus at present is getting the incubators cleaned out and operating and tanks and other equipment sterilized
The recent 1000m3 flood in the Rangitata did not bring any Rangitata water into the hatchery. McKinnons Creek access to fish has had to be enhanced a couple of times with some excavation to clean it out and divert some water closer. It will always be a challenge due to the changing nature of the braided river.
From our own counts,70 fish were taken in the lower reaches on the South side with 20 on the North side of the Rangitata. Long term counts of redds will be completed in earl June however early indications are that it might be on a parr with last year..
Possible new plans for hatcheries such as ours!
One of the proposals being discussed at a high level, is for brood stock to be obtained as juvenile wild salmon in each fishery, then raised for 3 years in a central hatchery location. At maturity each river’s brood stock would be stripped and fertilised and ova returned to the on-river hatcheries for raising through to release on-site. This process relieves hatcheries of the need to trap returning adults and fertilise and incubate ova. In theory all returning adults should be available for anglers to catch and regulation could be introduced that encourage catch or hatchery origin over wild fish. Watch this space.