Home' Fish and Game : September 2016 Contents FISHING IN THE COBB VALLEY
FISH HEADS STILL REQUIRED
HE COBB VALLEY IS A POPULAR DESTI-
nation in Kahurangi National Park offering
visitors adventure and top-class scenery. Be-
fore 1949, the valley was used as summer grazing
for stock – getting them there was no mean feat
as they had to be driven from the Motueka Valley
up the Mt Arthur Tablelands, past Balloon Hill and
down to the Cobb Valley.
In the early 1950s, the valley was chosen for a
hydro-electricity project which resulted in the Cobb
bows which can provide good sport.
Drift dives conducted by Fish & Game staff
above Trilobite Hut have shown a high population
of young-of-the-year rainbows. Trout recruitment is
highly successful in the upper Cobb River, resulting
in a large number of juvenile trout migrating from
the upper reaches into the lake system. Once the
fish is large enough, it can start feeding on koura
and small trout.
Juvenile fish aside, the most recent dive carried
out in December 2015 shows a greater population of
large brown trout in comparison to previous dives
some of them highly impressive specimens too.
There is also a reasonable population of small to
medium rainbows. This population of catchable fish
is a marked improvement from the record lows in
the 2000 drift dive.
The narrow reservoir is approximately 6km in
length, and the best fishing occurs at the top end
where the river enters the lake. Here the angler
should find success with live bait, spinner and fly.
A rapala-style lure with a crimson flash will induce
a strike, as will a pink Tasmanian Devil – no doubt
both are mistaken as a juvenile rainbow.
Because the reservoir is part of a hydro scheme,
years of lake level fluctuations have meant there
is no littoral zone, preventing the establishment of
weed beds critical for insect life. As a result, poor
invertebrate life is a feature of the lake and this
food scarcity stunts the growth of these Reservoir
trout. Their growth is further limited by living at
high altitude. How stunted? One fish weighing 450g
was seven years old (the size of a two year old fish
anywhere else). However, these fish are still highly
catchable and great fun to pursue.
Spectacular scenery aside, the Cobb has a lot go-
ing for it as far as an angler is concerned. It’s one
of the few places to catch rainbow trout in the re-
gion, you can fish the Reservoir year-round using all
methods including bait, and there are picturesque
DOC camping facilities as well as several huts. It is
a great place to take your family... as long as they
have some tolerance to sand flies.
of rainbow and brown trout. If you want idyllic fish-
ing in a stunning river valley, then this is the place.
There is vehicle access to the lower part of the river
where it enters the reservoir, then a DOC walking
track provides access from Trilobite Hut.
The river tends to fish best after clearing from
a fresh which provides higher flows, slight turbid-
ity, and more invertebrates on offer drifting down.
During normal flows, large brown trout patrol the
slower moving pools where they enjoy crystal clear
water. Often this equates to some
tricky fishing, where there’s a good
chance the fish has seen you already,
or it scrutinises your fly so closely
that it can easily make the distinc-
tion between real and artificial.
Inducing one of the large browns
to take your fly is an achievement
indeed. The river at times also has a
population of small to medium rain-
TROUT AND SALMON HEADS CAN PROVIDE FASCINATING INFORMATION TO HELP MANAGE FISH POPULATIONS AND FISH
& GAME IS HAPPY TO RECEIVE THEM FROM ANGLERS. THE OTOLITH (OR EAR BONE) IS EXTRACTED FROM THE HEADS SO
MICRO CHEMICAL ANALYSIS CAN BE USED TO DEFINE WHERE THE FISH HATCHED, ITS MOVEMENTS, AGE AND GROWTH RATE.
PLEASE FREEZE THE HEADS AND IF POSSIBLE RECORD SEX, LENGTH, WEIGHT AND LOCATION OF CATCH.
Nelson Marlborough Region
Reservoir. Completed in 1955, the reservoir’s re-
mote location created extraordinary engineering
challenges solved by astute solutions, ensuring
the dam’s history was filled with stories of person-
al hardships and tragedy. This fascinating history
gives the area a unique blend of human endeavour
and natural splendour.
Construction of the dam means the Cobb fishery
can now be broken up into two parts – the Reser-
voir and the Cobb River. The Cobb River is a small
but highly attractive river with moderate numbers
SMALLER STUNTED FISH ARE A FEATURE OF THE RESERVOIR, AND ARE
EASILY FOOLED BY LURES WITH A PINK FLASH IN THEM
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