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Trout board ... Get ready to be sponged at the Mataura River are Harvey Hood (4) and Laura Heads (14) both of Gore. PHOTO: JENNY DILLNER

The Mataura River bank was dotted with stalls, tents and marquees on Saturday afternoon as the Gore District Council trialled the On The Fly Mataura River Day initiative.

Council events and promotions co-ordinator Emma Carle said as the brown trout capital of New Zealand, the town needed to think about the river.

“We need to celebrate this beautiful river. Today is a testing ground for what we hope will become an annual event.

“We appreciate all the help and thanks to all the people who have come to be a part of it,” Ms Carle said.

Teaching the art of fly-fishing was fishing guide Mike Dennis, of Mandeville.

“This is about teaching the next generation not only the art of casting, but about conservation, looking after our rivers, learning what is happening in them and to get involved.

“It is great seeing the kids getting out of the house, away from technology into the sunshine,” Mr Dennis said.

The event included trout smoking demonstrations, fly making and tips on casting techniques as well as stalls offering food, information and entertainment.