A missing ferret trapper has been found dead near Falls Dam in Central Otago.

A ground search team found the body of Ross Andrew Gerken about 6.10am today, Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said.

The 63-year-old from Manapouri had left for the Falls Dam area, about 50km north of Alexandra, yesterday and was due to return about 3pm.

A search party of family, local farmers and police began looking for him in the early hours of this morning, Shaw said.

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Gerken's death has been referred to the Coroner and Worksafe have been advised.