After ten years absence, tench have returned to Timaru’s Centennial Park Lake, offering anglers a challenging new fishing opportunity.
In March, 50 adult tench (scientific name Tinca tinca) were released into Centennial Park Lake by Central South Island Fish & Game Staff and will once again provide for an easy access but challenging fishing option in the heart of Timaru.
Fish & Game Officer Hamish Stevens is thrilled to be able to re-establish the tench fishery at Centennial Park Lake.
"Although tench have been a part of the New Zealand sports fishery since 1868, very few anglers have seen one, let alone caught one" Hamish Stevens says.
"I hope the re-introduction of tench to this easy access, park setting, will enable a valued fishery to develop and provide a new opportunity for anglers in the Central South Island Region"
Tench were once present in the lake but were removed along with all fish species after the discovery of Rudd, a noxious pest fish.
"In 2009, Fish and Game helped the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) effort to eradicate Rudd from Centennial Park Lake. During that process we relocated the resident tench downstream to Saltwater Creek".
"Rudd have the potential to cause significant damage to aquatic ecosystems, so we supported DOC’s role in eradicating them after the discovery they had been illegally released".
Tench fishing in the South Island has a small but dedicated following of anglers and their unique fishing style is commonly known as "coarse fishing".
Coarse fishing for tench is limited to a few waterways in the South Island, most notably, Island Stream a tributary of the Kakanui River in North Otago and Lake Roto Kohatu in Christchurch.
Although tench are present in Timaru’s Saltwater Creek, the waterway is favoured for its perch fishing.
Hamish Stevens says they offer a real challenge.
"Tench fishing is unlike trout or perch fishing and requires a unique skill set to get the fish to take the bait. Hooking them is the first challenge, and because they put up such a fierce fight, landing these "freight trains" is said to be a much greater challenge than landing a trout."
"Should the tench fishery re-establish as anticipated in Centennial Park Lake we would hope that the coarse fishing community will help to teach any interested anglers the skills and equipment required to successfully fish for tench"
Fishing for tench, perch, trout and salmon requires a sports fishing licence and angler must abide by the current season’s sports fishing regulations.