Living World

Salmon: the miracle fish

Dawn finds a palisade of anglers knee-deep in surf at the mouth of the South Island’s Rangitata River. When rivers are low, chinook salmon, known locally as quinnat, linger at sea, waiting for higher flows before running upstream to spawn. On foot, by farm bike or in jet-boats, anglers will give chase, eager for the sport of playing a 10–15 kg fighting hen or jack. The introduction of salmon to this country is a story of grim determination, unstinting labour and a sizeable amount of luck. With catches in decline, however, many anglers consider it a small miracle if they land one of these prized fish.

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