Fri, Jun 10, 2022 6:00 AM

Bumper salmon season


Staff reporter

Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game staff observed an all-time record salmon spawning count within the main spring fed spawning area utilised by salmon within the Wairau Catchment in early May this year.

Past counts have ranged from 80-237 adult salmon utilising this area which provides spawning habitat for at least half of the total catchment salmon run for the Wairau River. This year saw the highest count more than double to 524 adult salmon.

Marlborough based Fish & Game Field Officer Vaughan Lynn noted that the record count was one of the highlights of his year at Fish & Game, and very satisfying to see the fishery in such good shape.

The high spawning count was also in line with the positive salmon fishing reports within the Wairau this year, although the seasonal fishing opportunity was shortened somewhat by high February flows in the Wairau.

This high count was not mirrored in the Clarence counts which were about average this year based on past records, although some South Island East Coast salmon fisheries were reported to have had some of the best salmon fishing for the last decade and like the Wairau count this year, spawning counts were reported to be high in many of them.

It is considered that favourable sea conditions with plenty of krill about for the last year or two years (possibly influenced by how far up the cold Southland current reaches each summer) may have helped to really boost both the average size and number of returning salmon this season, which is great news after nearly a decade of poor failing salmon runs all along the East Coast.

Any ‘would be salmon anglers’ wishing to try their luck on these silver torpedo’s next summer, are encouraged to go into the appropriate retail stores for advice on the right gear/technique for salmon fishing, plus source their Local Area fishing licence, or a day licence (also available on line from the Fish & Game website).

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