Trout get free ride to deeper water

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014
dying fish
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ
DOWN TO A TRICKLE: Fish & Game staff are rescuing fish from the Ashley River earlier than last year as it dries up.

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Fishery officers are rescuing trout from dried-up Canterbury Rivers to save the population from dying.

Fish & Game officers were yesterday salvaging trout from the Ashley River, near Rangiora, because of dangerously low water levels.

Field officer Steve Terry said they used an electric machine to attract and stun the fish before they put them into tanks and transported them further upstream near the Ashley Gorge.

Terry and two other officers rescued a handful of brown trout but expected to rescue hundreds more in the coming weeks.

Last year they rescued about 1000 trout and 1000 eels from dwindling Canterbury rivers. Unfortunately, a few dozen fish died.

He said they were regularly checking areas but it was hard to predict how quickly water could drain.

"A pool can drop two feet overnight," he said. "It's that critical. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we can lose everything."

This year's salvage had started three weeks earlier than expected because of low rainfall.

Terry expected to be out every few days rescuing fish for the next month.

He said people out fishing should ring Fish & Game if they noticed water levels were getting low or fish and/or eels were struggling.

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