A chubby wee goldfish dubbed Nemo was miraculously found 2km from his Mosgiel pond after he was washed away by floodwater last Wednesday.

A neighbour was walking his dog along a road on Sunday morning when he saw a flash of gold in a mud-walled ditch.

As a farmer collected eels stranded by the flood on a nearby paddock, the man and his dog stopped to see the colour in the mess.

He recognised it as his neighbour's 2-year-old goldfish, one of three lost when the devastating Taieri flood rushed through their properties, and all along the road.

"It was just incredible, in the middle of all that destruction was a goldfish everyone thought was dead - that should have been dead," Ab Oskam said yesterday.

"He had been taken away by that horrible brown water, and there he was, about 2km away, swimming in the debris and happy as can be."

Mr Oskam, 66, made the long walk home to tell neighbours Julie and Craig Struthers that a "little surprise" waited down the road.

"We couldn't believe it, it was like a miracle, that such a delicate wee thing could survive the flood and all the rubbish caught in it," said Mrs Struthers.

"All of our other animals managed to survive, but we were sure that our three goldfish would never be back."

The trio returned to the ditch, where the newly named Nemo was scooped to safety and taken to the pond, lined with polythene rescued from the debris, back home.

Mr and Mrs Struthers then fruitlessly searched neighbouring ditches for his two companions - another coloured orange, and one white and blue-black.

The fish remained the only casualties in a menagerie of 12 sheep, nine hens, seven rabbits, two dogs, a cat and a pig - many helped to safety by Mr Oskam on the day of the flood.

Pleased to have added to the collection, Mr Oskam said Nemo seemed as well as he was before the flood; but, even after a 2km swim, he might have put on some weight. "He must have spent all that time eating the worms caught in the flood," Mr Oskam said.

- OTAGO DAILY TIMES