Lake Tekapo is a former-glacier lake about 3 hours from Christchurch, in the Mackenzie country. On the tip of the lake sits a little tourist town–if you’re not on holiday or in the service industry, I’m really not sure what you’d do there. The village hunkers at the edge of the expansive lake in an even more expansive and barren tussock land. Sheep live there, the famous merinos. And bunnies. And not much else, that I can tell.
Months ago a friend organized a long weekend at a bach (rental house) here, looking out over the hills. We went this time with the “hunting gang,” a bunch of guys and their spouses who swapped photos of dead animals back when Jeremiah worked at SCIRT. The hunting bond is strong, and the group still hangs together. This time they came down without their firearms, but with a common goal: CATCH SALMON.
New Zealand has a massive hydroelectric scheme in the south island, moving water from one big glacier lake to the next through huge canals. Salmon farms have been set up in the clean, cold, swift water resource, and hobby fishermen try their luck on the escapees and native brown trout fattened on farmed-fish pellets. And just a few days before our trip there had been some media about a big salmon net breaking–hopes were high that our group would be the lucky beneficiaries of that farming mishap.
After a good effort, hours and hours of casting and reeling, here’s the token salmon. Good job Mark! Even the skewed perspective doesn’t do much to augment its size. I tease Jeremiah a bit–he has such good success with hunting and spear fishing, but his fresh water fishing definitely has a negative return on investment. After two years of fishing licenses, I’m not sure he’s caught anything but sand flies. Another perk to the salmon farms is that skunked fishermen don’t have to come home empty-handed. They bought fresh salmon from the farm cooler.
Jeremiah and Ben SAW big trout in this lake (Lake Alexandrina, near Tekapo), but they were wise to lures and wouldn’t be tempted. Milo sits and observes the process.
While the guys fished, Naomi and I paddled at the water edge. Milo joined us for rock tossing.
At the lake inlet some bigger boys were scooping minnows from the reeds and collecting them in a bucket. They generously lent Milo a net and gave him some pointers. The fisherman caught two fish! And I know what to get him for Christmas!
Tekapo doesn’t have any natural hot springs, but it has lots of tourists, epic scenery, and cheap hydro electricity, so they built their own hot pools. The kids and I enjoyed them.
I used to be the only mommy in the group, but two babies were born about a year and a half ago, and Naomi really enjoyed their company.
Poppies and lupine at Lake Tekapo’s edge.
The day we left the weather packed in, and we drove back to Christchurch in the rain. I must admit, it makes the going easier.
In Alaska, we call those little Salmon “Smelt size”! Sure wish I could send you some of our canned catch. Looks like a great getaway all around.
I liked your account of Tekapo! We rather enjoy Tekapo too, for its vast openness of sky and plains and lake and mountains; bare but beautiful. It’s world renowned for its clear night skies, and when we’ve been there we promised ourselves we must get up in the middle of the night to admire the stars, but we never made it out of bed! Cheers, Graham