With fish populations either contaminated or dwindling as a result of the floods that ravaged Hawke’s Bay, an idea to give keen anglers a chance to catch something has been hatched.
Fish & Game Hawke’s Bay has announced a selection of events that will allow licensed anglers to fish in their Jervoistown ponds, which they say are “reasonably well stocked with rainbow trout”.
The organisation normally uses the location for only an annual Kids Fishing event on March 19 (which will still go ahead), and now it will play host to two special licensed angler events on April 15 and 16.
Usual Hawke’s Bay fishing regulations will apply, with the additional ruling that each angler should take only one fish each to ensure stocks in the ponds aren’t depleted.
Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game Council inter-term manager Chris Newton said the idea to open up the ponds came to him after seeing the effects of the weather and how many anglers were frustrated not being able to fish over the summer.
“We’ve got two ponds here, one with probably a couple of hundred trout and another with 500. We thought we’d open it up to licensed anglers to come and have a fish.”
A booking and timetable system will be in place to ensure each angler has sufficient time and space.
“We can currently accommodate up to 12 anglers at a time and we will open the bookings on March 30 via the Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game Facebook site,” Newton said.
“We would hope that we can allow 50 anglers to fish each day. Should demand exceed this number then we will look at having additional days at a later date.”
Anglers will need to provide their own equipment, and a donation for upkeep is being asked in lieu of a fee.
The events would act as a safe alternative for many keen anglers because fishing in any lake, river, or flood-affected area in Hawke’s Bay at present is strongly discouraged by many organisations.
Official advice from MPI says fish taken from water containing sewage can carry a variety of bacteria and viruses that can make people sick. Certain types of fish can also contain mercury.
“Hawke’s Bay beaches, rivers and streams are currently unsafe for recreation or gathering kaimoana, so please avoid all contact,” said a statement from Our Health Hawke’s Bay, a division of Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay.
“These waters are contaminated with sewage and may cause sickness if you swim, fish or gather kai in or from these waters. This advice will be ongoing until councils can confirm that all sewage is being treated before being discharged.”
Fish & Game says the trout population is also expected to have significantly decreased as a result of the floods. Newton said it would bring in external resources to assist with the monitoring and recording of the trout population in the local rivers, particularly in the middle-to-lower reaches.
“We are somewhat concerned that there may have been major damage done to the overall trout population as a result of the recent flooding,” Newton said.
“This monitoring will involve utilising the drift diving method and physically counting fish, including trout and indigenous species.”