A Henley woman who sliced open her leg on submerged metal while fishing in Lake Waihola has sounded the alarm for whitebaiters to ensure they do not meet the same fate, ahead of the season opening next week.

Jill Huemmer says her deep wound is still healing four months on, but the debris from a derelict boat shed remains without a warning sign just beneath the surface.

The Otago Regional Council said the debris was not a pollution risk but it understood the health and safety concerns, and an attempt was being made to find the owner of the shed.

Earlier this year, Huemmer was fishing just off shore at the northeast end of the lake, near Titri Rd, when she stepped on to what was believed to be a piece of corrugated iron.


The metal gouged a 4cm x 1.5cm deep wound in her leg.

Nearby, there is a derelict wood and corrugated iron boat shed, which was further damaged during flooding about a year ago.

She believes debris from the shed is on the lake bed.

Yesterday, a large piece of corrugated iron could be seen jutting out of the water.

Huemmer said the whitebaiting season started next Thursday and the area was frequented by scoop net whitebaiters and recreational fishermen.

''A serious cut involving an artery in a fairly isolated area could be lethal,'' she said.

She had contacted both the Otago Regional and Clutha District Councils and had received sympathetic responses, but no concrete action yet, she said.

''At the very least, a clear warning sign should be placed in the area as the potential for injury even more severe than mine is very real.''


Clutha council acting chief executive Jules Witt said the lake bed was the responsibility of the Otago Regional Council.

ORC compliance manager Martin King said by email the council was made aware of the complaint in March, and staff visited the area.

''Debris from the boat shed is not a pollution risk, but we understand Ms Huemmer's concern about the health and safety risk to people in the water.

''Inquiries are ongoing to establish the owner of the boat shed and to have them remove the debris from Lake Waihola.''