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Fishing back on the menu

A group of residents have got out fishing again thanks to a new partnership between Ryman Healthcare and the Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust.

Ryman has thrown its support behind the trust which works to restore waterways around Canterbury.

The trust runs a Fresh Waters programme in 30 schools which gives school children a chance to raise salmon from eggs until they are old enough to release them into the wild.

The trust has been keen to extend its work to include the retired community, and joined up with staff from Fish & Game to put on a fishing event for a group of residents from Ngaio Marsh and Woodcote retirement villages at Lake Woodley, near Christchurch airport.

For many residents it was the first chance they'd had to fish in a long time.

Once Trish Stothers got a fishing rod in her hands again, there was no stopping her.

All the years she spent fishing in the Marlborough Sounds held her in good stead as she hauled in a record eight trout and salmon at Lake Woodley near Christchurch.

"It's just so nice to be fishing again,'' Trish confided as she cast out.

"We had a boat and we spent a lot of family holidays fishing for blue cod and leatherbacks in the Marlborough Sounds. We had three kids and they loved it and I did too.''

She caught her first trout within five minutes and out fished everyone else at the fishing day organised by the Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust.

Rob Rowley spent his life in South Westland before retiring to Christchurch.

He couldn't remember the last time he'd been out fishing, and loved chasing trout and salmon again.

"It is especially nice to be able to fish legally,'' he joked.

The next in the partnership will involve installation of fish tanks in villages so that residents can take part in the trust's salmon hatching programme.

The programme has been a great success in schools. Students have to look after the salmon and care for them daily, which not only teaches them responsibility they learn about water quality, habitat protection and other life skills as well.

The children release the smolt into suitable waterways so they can migrate to the ocean and hopefully to return in three years to spawn in that same waterway.

A special lake at the Isaac Conservation Trust site in McLeans Island has been reserved for both supporters and the children who take part in the Fresh Waters programme to fish at.

The lake is stocked with all three species of sports fish, (Chinook salmon, brown and rainbow trout) from the Fish & Game Montrose hatchery in the Canterbury high country.

Fish & Game provide all the rods, reels, bait and lures for the day, and gut and clean the fish afterwards for residents to take home with them.

The Isaac Conservation Trust have improved access to the lake so that anglers of all ages can have safe easy access to a place where they can try their hand at catching a fish for the plate.

The Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust not only runs the Fresh Waters programme but undertakes restoration projects for waterways, with a major project underway to restore four kilometres of the Snake Creek, a tributary of the Selwyn River, over the next three years.

Watch the video about the fishing day here https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=HbIZtXXMr50

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