Tekapo trout tagging project underway

Tekapo trout tagging project underway

Image: Fish & Game Officer Mark Webb places a tagged trout into the tanker for relocation. Fish & Game Officer Rhys Adams records the tag details in the background.

Hundreds of Lake Tekapo trout have been relocated by Central South Island Fish & Game recently and most of them have a new important "accessory" on them.

That new accessory is a four-digit numbered tag by their dorsal fin, which will help Central South Island (CSI) Fish & Game assess how adult trout originating from Lake Tekapo add to the canal fishery.

One key question CSI Fish & Game are asking from this project: how do these fish contribute to the catch of exceptionally large trout that the canal is world-famous for?

Lake Tekapo and the upper Tekapo River are managed by Genesis Energy for hydroelectricity generation and this is an important pathway for trout to migrate from the lake to the Tekapo Canal.

A unique combination of high rainfall events and infrastructure maintenance upgrades led to an extended period of flow from the Tekapo Control Structure (Gate 16) to the upper river from December 2019 to June 2020.

Genesis has helped the relocation by pumping out the Gate 16 pond for CSI Fish & Game, which enabled 387 trout to be moved on Wednesday 22 July.

In addition, 414 trout have been relocated from the upper Tekapo River to the Tekapo Canal since the extended flows ceased. CSI Fish & Game are asking anglers to report the capture of any tagged trout, even if they are released. Some have already been caught, with most anglers preferring to release them to grow bigger.

If you do catch a tagged trout, please report the unique four-digit tag number to CSI Fish & Game, as well as whether it was kept or released, its approximate location and its estimated size. Phone 03 6158400 or email [email protected]

A further extended period of flow is forecast from late 2020 to early 2021 as the second phase of the intake project is completed.

Genesis reminds the public that the Tekapo Control Structure and upper Tekapo River is a hazardous environment and that they must always keep-out. Source: CSI Fish & Game.


14 August 2020

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