Monster trout in canal

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 24/09/2010
Barry Clark
CANAL MONSTER: Lake Tekapo fishing guide Barry Clark with the 25lb (11.339kg) rainbow trout he caught in the canal near the Lake Tekapo A powerhouse on Tuesday.

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Tekapo residents are feasting on meals of almost biblical proportions.

It's all to do with trout – extremely large trout – and a competitive fishing family.

Fishing guide Barry Clark and his son Ryan have been fishing in the canal close to the Tekapo A power house recently as some particularly large trout had been caught there. The competition between father and son began with Ryan's 17-pounder, which Dad quickly topped with a fish a pound heavier.

Then came Tuesday morning. The pair had been at the canal for about an hour when a big fish took a liking to the fly on his line, a pinkish glow bug "beautifully tied by Stuart Falconer of Timaru", Barry said.

"It fought like a Rangitata salmon," he recalled. Then his rod broke, adding to the excitement.

In spite of that, Barry was able to land the fish which weighed in at 25 pounds (11.339kg). It also gave him bragging rights over Ryan. Exciting as the catch was, Barry still considers canal fishing to be "coarse" when compared to his beloved fly fishing.

While Tuesday's trout has a date with a taxidermist, the other large fish the Clarks caught have been filleted and given away to residents in Tekapo. With fish that size, the biblical five loaves and two fishes could just about feed the whole community.

Explaining just how big the hen fish was, Barry said she was almost the same length as his black labrador, Bess.

Not wanting to be outdone by his father, Ryan was back at the canal yesterday morning, but all he caught was a 10-pounder, a mere tiddler compared to the recent catches.

While Barry suspects his fish is one of the largest caught in the area this year, it is still several kilograms lighter than some of those caught near the salmon farms in the Mackenzie district in recent years.

Back in November 2003 Tony Washington of Hilton caught a rainbow trout weighing 17.5kg in the Tekapo canal, while the previous year American Mike Was took home a very heavy souvenir, a 17kg (37.4lb) rainbow trout he caught in the Tekapo B canal.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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