Trout and salmon stocks boosted by Aviemore spawning race refurbishment

Trout can be seen scattered throughout the refurbished spawning gravels

Future populations of trout and salmon in Lake Waitaki have been assured as the result of spawning race refurbishment work completed by Meridian Energy and Fish & Game.

The Aviemore spawning race is an artificial stream channel constructed in 1968 to provide spawning grounds for brown and rainbow trout and sockeye salmon in the hydro lake.

Meridian has contributed more than $30,000 to the work after decades of gravel displacement and encroaching vegetation caused the channel to shrink.

Meridian’s Environmental Strategy Manager Jeff Page says results of the project are already apparent.

“We’ve heard there are upwards of 300 trout spawning in the race, which is an excellent outcome.”

The project was completed in partnership with Fish & Game who are tasked with ensuring the viability of the trout fishery.

Fish & Game Officer Jayde Couper says anglers will be pleased with the outcome, too.

“At a glance the works have resulted in a five-fold increase in spawning area, which should see a significant increase in the number of fish being produced in the spawning race.”

The Waitaki River is widely recognised for its salmon and trout fisheries, with up to 35,000 anglers visiting the area each year.

Jeff Page says by working with Fish & Game Meridian has been able to preserve and enhance fishing stocks, as part of ongoing efficient operation of the Waitaki hydro lake.