"Arrogant" anglers breaking the rules while fishing the Waitaki hydro canals should beware - they have not escaped the attention of Fish and Game.
Central South Island field officer Graeme Hughes there were numerous complaints this summer of anglers offending near salmon farms. He said 13 offence notices had been issued to anglers fishing in Ohau C.
"There has been an increase in complaints since the recent release of fish from the salmon farm operating in Ohau canal," he said.
The release had attracted anglers to the area with reports of a fish caught every cast.
"People have been tempted to take more than two [the daily limit].
"There is a belief that because the salmon are either released or escapees from a fish farm, sports fishing rules do not apply.
"A licence is required and salmon in the canal have the same status as any other species of sports fish.
"Casting food to attract fish to your bait . . . is legal when fishing for coarse fish [but] there are no coarse fish in the hydro canals.
"However, complaints regarding this practice have been received. Casting food as an attraction is prohibited when fishing for salmon or trout."
There was a 30cm size limit on salmon in the canals, he said.
"Some people don't know the difference between a salmon and a trout, which is awkward."
More patrols were being carried out and officers in the area were educating anglers about the rules.
"Every day we have a ranger up there talking to them. A lot of them don't know the rules."
Mt Cook Alpine Salmon chief executive Geoff Matthews confirmed there was a small release, but said anglers were more likely taking advantage of the 17,000 salmon released 18 months ago.
"I believe they are catching the fish [released] 18 months ago and in their mind they are thinking they must've had a release."
There is a 30cm size-limit on salmon Only two can be taken per day It is illegal to throw food into the canal to attract fish to the area.
- © Fairfax NZ News