Fish and Game is trying to confirm reports of a giant trout - a potential world record - recently caught in the Mackenzie Country hydro canals. Eyewitnesses report seeing an angler land a 24.9kg (55 pound) brown trout in the Pukaki-Ohau A canal. If confirmed, it would be a new world record for a brown trout.
The Tekapo Canal Fishery is one of New Zealand's most picturesque spots
According to the International Game Fish Association website, the present record is a 19.1 kg (42lb 1oz) fish caught in the same canals in 2013.
But Fish and Game Field Officer for the Central South Island region Rhys Adams says confirming the potentially record-breaking monster trout is proving difficult.
"Secrecy surrounds the catch and we want to solve the mystery," he says.
"This is an amazing fish and we would love to confirm it but at the moment, the lucky angler is keeping quiet.
"Because of the international significance of the catch, we would like to hear from anyone who has more information or details."
Fish and Game communications advisor Richard Cosgrove says some details are starting to emerge.
"Witnesses say the fish was landed after a two and a half hour fight," Richard Cosgrove says.
"Once he had the fish landed, the angler wrapped it in his shirt to keep it cool before getting ice from a nearby salmon farm and rushing it to a taxidermist.
"He also got it weighed on certified scales to confirm that this was the fish of a lifetime.
"We have been told the whole story along with photos will emerge once the trout has been mounted."
Canal anglers in the early morning opposite a salmon farm
The Mackenzie basin hydro canals have a well-deserved reputation in New Zealand and overseas for consistently producing huge trout.
The canals are easy to access, flow through spectacular high country scenery and are open all year round.
But it is the number of huge trout living there which attracts thousands of anglers every year, making the canal network the country’s most popular freshwater sports fishery.
According to Fish and Game’s latest canal harvest survey, anglers made approximately 43,800 daytime visits to the canal fishery during the 2015-2016 season.
Rhys Adams says those anglers are catching big trout.
"Rainbow trout have the most impressive seasonal catch figures.
"Around 30 percent of rainbows are trophy size, between ten and 20 pounds, with nine percent classed as ‘exceptionally large’ - that’s over 20 pounds."
Rhys Adams hopes the monster brown trout catch can be confirmed.
"It’s much rarer to catch an exceptionally large brown trout - only about one percent of browns caught in the canals fall into this category , so it would be nice to make this official.
"The size of these trout just reinforces how good New Zealand’s trout fishing is. If we can confirm this brown trout record, then the next thing is setting a new world record for rainbow trout," Rhys Adams says.
"The present record is 21.77kgs - 48 pounds - for a rainbow trout caught in Canada in 2009.
"It would be nice to challenge that but even if we can’t, anglers will enjoy trying."
Fish & Game CSI Field Officer Rhys Adams 027 481 5962
Fish & Game Communications Advisor Richard Cosgrove 021 646 245