Dave Murdoch, of Wellington, left, and Tom Murdoch (13), of
Timaru, display their final catch at Parsons Rock, beside
Lake Aviemore, before breaking camp for the summer on
Monday. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Christmas campers leaving the Waitaki Lakes this week
have expressed disappointment at the increase in litter and
poor fishing conditions brought on by high lake levels after
heavy rain and last week's hydro dam spills.
An estimated 2500 campers used the Waitaki District
Council-controlled Waitaki Lakes camping reserves at Sailors
Cutting, Parsons Rock, Boat Harbour and Loch Laird during the
peak of the holiday, and although camps supervisor Simon Fox
said the majority had been well-behaved and the holiday
period had been enjoyable for families, he was losing
patience with the behaviour of a small group of youths.
''We have had a lot of happy families. The lake levels coming
up have annoyed a few people, a few people had to move camp,
they're never happy about that, but everything has been
pretty good, really.
''We had a wee few issues with youth with glass, which we
always do. But I'm intending to get the council to perhaps
give me some sort of tool to work against it.''
Mr Fox said he had wanted a glass ban introduced, but added
he did not want to spoil things for the ''mums and dads'' and
the majority of youths who used the receptacles and rubbish
bags that were provided to everyone.
''And it's not all the youth, either - it's just isolated
groups. The biggest thing is, rather than pack up their
rubbish in the morning, they tend to back over it and drive
There had also been ''issues'' with people freedom camping
around Lake Benmore outside the reserves, he said.
''People sail away ... to the islands ... on private
property. One boatie came back from there with three bags of
glass, some of it broken, and they had clearly been someone
camping there and they had been digging a hole for their
''There are marginal strips around Lake Benmore, but a lot of
that is private farmland. They are idyllic little bays if you
want to get away from it, but unfortunately there are some
small groups who are leaving their rubbish there and going to
the toilet, and I am quite keen to see that stopped.''
Wellington camper Dave Murdoch said his family had been
coming to the Waitaki Lakes for holidays at Christmas and New
Year for 40 years, and he was ''distressed'' by the large
amount of discarded glass left lying around this year.
''There has been a lot more dangerous litter, like glass
bottles. It never used to be like that around here.''
Mr Murdoch was also not impressed with the fishing at Lake
Aviemore. ''The fish have been hard to find, the water is
cold and very high. It's been a struggle.''
However, despite it all, he said he would be back again next
''It still beats Wellington. Even on its worst day, this
place is better than Wellington, and I love Wellington.''
Central South Island Fish and Game field officer Graeme
Hughes said although the fish were ''still there'', there had
been a marked drop in catch rates after Christmas.
''We did a check on boat anglers on December 28, and we
checked 130-odd anglers and the catch rate on that particular
day, which was warm and sunny and clear, was poor. Most of
them said they hadn't got anything that day.
''The general consensus was that prior to Christmas it had
been really good, but since then had dropped away.''
Mr Hughes said because boat traffic increased around
Christmas, a drop in catch rates was not unusual.
''Now we have, of course, the maximum [lake] levels and, in
my experience, they tend to be harder to catch when there is
a change in level.''