A GROUP of adult novice fishers hauled rainbow trout out of a Dunedin reservoir on Saturday and nearly 500 children will get their chance in the coming weeks.
Otago Fish and Game field officer and hatchery manager Steve Dixon said the organisation ran a course to introduce adults to trout fishing.
The course concluded with an afternoon of fishing at the Southern Reservoir on Saturday.
The 20 adults fishing were a mix of men and women, aged from 18 to 69.
The group caught 14 rainbow trout, he said.
Several more rainbow trout were hooked but got away.
Course participants and workmates Jo Macbeth and Corrina Beel, both of Dunedin, fished the reservoir.
Miss Beel said she hooked a trout but failed to land it.
“I got too excited and I think I threw it off,” she said, laughing.
Mrs Macbeth landed a male rainbow trout.
“It’s the first time I’ve caught any fish at all,” Miss Beel said.
“It was so cool.”
Mr Dixon released 120 rainbow trout into the reservoir for the event.
The trout, weighing from 1kg to 6kg, were from the hatchery at OceanaGold’s Macraes mine.
Nearly 500 children had registered for the council’s Take Kid Fishing Day events on September 24 and 30.
The number of children entering was a record. It has been held in Dunedin for the past nine years.
Another 300 rainbow trout would be released in the reservoir before September 24 and another 400 before September 30, Mr Dixon said.
Otago Fish and Game operations manager Ian Hadland said the fishing season, which begins on October 1, looked “promising” in Dunedin despite the flooding in July.
A good flood “resets the catchment” by clearing out build-up of algae, creating new pools and freshening up gravel beaches, he said.
Rivers, such as the Taieri, were looking “quite good” and the water clarity had been “steadily improving” since the flood.
Adult brown trout were “experts” at finding cover during floods and were known to swim across flooded paddocks to eat worms and insects.
Trout spawning areas, such as Silverstream and Lindsay Creek, had “taken a hit” and eggs laid in early winter would have been “washed out or smothered in silt”, he said.
But trout were “resilient” and if eggs were destroyed in a tributary, those hatching in a neighbouring tributary would ensure the impact for fishers was “marginal”.
“That’s why we advocate for the protection of every known spawning stream – you never know which one might be contributing to propping up the fishery for the future.”