A valuable resource is swimming in the depths of the Mataura River, an Australian fishing programme host says.
Australian television programme IFISH host Paul Worsteling and a film crew have been based in Lumsden this week shooting a programme about brown trout fishing.
Mr Worsteling said people might not realise what a rare resource the Mataura and Oreti rivers were.
“I don’t know if New Zealand people actually understand just how special this fishery is.
“It draws tourists from around the world,” Mr Worsteling said.
This could bring income into the local economy of small towns such as Lumsden.
“I think people underestimate the value of a fish, and every fish in the river might be worth $1000 to this town.”
Most people who used flies to catch fish were interested in catching them for sport rather than eating.
“They’ll spend $1000 to go fly-fishing for the day to catch one fish and let it go and then they’ll go to the local pub and have fish for dinner and pay 20 bucks for a feed.”
Research showed the Mataura River was well stocked with fish.
“There’s more trout per kilometre in the Mataura River than most river systems in New Zealand.
“There could be up to 200 brown trout per kilometre of water.”
The aim of the television programme was to show viewers fishing opportunities around the world.
Each day the crew walked the river bank looking for fish.
He said on Wednesday they “saw 20 fish, we cast to 10, so we picked the ones we wanted to cast at and we caught four, of them we landed two incredible fish in very skinny water, which means a small stream.
“It was one of the most rewarding day’s angling I’ve had in a long, long time and I fish about 250 days a year.”
Last year Mr Worsteling, his wife and son fished in places including Alaska, Fiji and the United States but he was very impressed with the Southland rivers.
“We literally travel and fish the world and this is probably in my top three places in the world to go fishing.”