A team from the hatchery spent Sunday morning riparian planting at the spring headwaters of McKinnons creek on the farm of Henry Bolt. The team supplied some plants (Carex Sectors) and helped with the work which will ultimately be of benefit to water quality in the creek itself.
The lack of male fish returning to the hatchery this season has resulted in the hunt for a couple of men fish from the headwaters to help out down stream at McKinnons creek. Some Fish & Game staff and hatchery helpers travelled to Mt Potts area on the hunt however only one male fish was secured. He was brought back to the hatchery and has already been put to good use. A couple of fish have been stripped and their fertilized eggs are in the incubator.
Xmas has come and gone and we have lived in hope of a better adult return to the hatchery this year. So far it is slightly improved from last season in that we have 7 female and 1 male fish in the trap. This is 100% better than previous and will give us around 18,000 eggs all things being equal.
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.
In November the Rangitata had a massive clean out with flows getting up to 2000 m/3.
Results at the hatchery as follows. No major damage thankfully.
The nursery door has been opened and all the children have gone. On Monday 23rd, all 55,000 fry at the hatchery were released back into McKinnon's creek starting them on their journey to sea and subsequently back to the Rangitata river in 2 years time (hopefully). We did keep around 200 back which may become locally kept broodstock for the future depending on where we can keep them. They are fine at the moment in one of the raceways. A big thanks to all those involved in their care including the weekend cleaning teams. The cleaning roster for the rest of the year has now been cancelled.
A sad day for the Rangitata River.
The granting of a further 10m3 of water for irrigation purposes from the Rangitata river WILL have a profound effect on the river despite what all the so called "experts" said in the submission process. And shame on you Environment Canterbury for once again disregarding the overwhelming environmental evidence and allowing this decision to be made.
It is with absolute pleasure we congratulate Mathew Hall for his award in the Queen's Honours list for 2018 for services to conservation and fishing
Mr Matthew Hall has been a member of the Central South Island (CSI) Fish and Game Council since its inception in 1991 and has twice been Chairman.
Mr Hall was a member of the CSI’s Steering Committee in developing the draft Salmon Management Plan and is CSI’s advocate to the Salmon Enhancement Trust. He is currently a member of the Fish and Game New Zealand Council and was Chairman from 2011 to 2012. He was inaugural Chairman of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy Ashburton Zone Committee from 2010 to 2014. In this role he led a process of community consultation in the Hinds catchment and led the committee through the establishment of the first Zone Implementation Programme and later an addendum to instruct the development of a regulatory plan. In 2017 he organised and co-chaired the Salmon Symposium in Ashburton, which attracted national interest and international speakers. He has been a foundation member since 1981 of Save the Rivers Mid-Canterbury. He has made significant contributions towards establishing Water Conservation Orders on the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers. He is Secretary and Life Member of South Rangitata Reserve Inc. Mr Hall was a foundation member of Ashburton Rangitata Instream Users Group.
Well done Mathew.
The Hatchery group is assisting CSI Fish & Game in this program to identify any adult salmon that may be related to the original fish donated by this North American Indian Tribe many years ago. Spawned salmon in the Rakaia and Rangitata catchments are sampled to check a match up in their genetic code. A number of our group have so far participated and from all reports its been a worthwhile exercise. The program will run until September.
Many thanks to the 30 plus persons who came out to the hatchery to help with the fin clipping. We clipped approx. 30% of our smolt (20,000) and the day was a great success. The new return system worked a treat and the weather also played its part.
Work has continued at the hatchery and the core group of workers have been busy upgrading feeders, installing new vacuum pump, cleaning all the equipment, preparing for fin clipping, putting shelves etc in garage etc etc.