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You Should Never Tame a Wild River


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Ronan's report

Wednesday September 24th, 2008

We have just over one week remaining to get our submissions in to support Fish and Game NZ's application to amend the Kawarau River Conservation Order (1997), to prohibit damming of the Nevis River.

The Nevis is a prime, backcountry ‘trophy trout’ fishery, adventure kayaking destination and a truly stunning valley sporting Otagos most intact goldfields, right here on our doorstep. Pioneer Generation Ltd are planning a hydro development below Nevis Crossing, which will destroy areas of national importance and historical value, as well as flooding important spawning areas for resident brown trout. A hydro dam will simply ruin this outstanding high country landscape in a manner which can never be reversed, and has the potential to decimate one of Otago’s finest high country trout fisheries.

Submissions can be emailed to and both information on submitting, and the submission form itself can be located at Submissions close 5pm on October 3rd.

Lets get some international submissions in and show them they are being watched, not only within NZ, but with interest from around the globe!

Chris Dore

You Should Never Tame a Wild River


The river above the crossing is where the Nevis earns its reputation as one of Otago's truly wild, backcountry fisheries. At it's best, the Nevis can never be described as more than a medium sized river, with snow melt creating a permanent chill to it's waters, icy cold as anyone who has waded it will attest.


Here the river flows steady across a stable gravel and bedrock base, where bouldery runs and deep - flowing pools conceal a good head of solid brown trout. Throughout this section there lives a small number of large fish, 3kg plus, and a higher population of browns ranging up to 2kg in weight. Recent drift dives of these lower flats indicate at least one large fish present in each established pool, with populations of smaller trout increasing nearer the crossing.

These browns are in prime condition and can be spotted and stalked in bright conditions early in the season, before angling pressure pushes them into the more concealed lies among the runs and pocket water found in these lower reaches. Much of the angling interest centres on these lower flats, and trout behaviour reflects this come summertime flows.


You may wonder why I am disclosing the secrets of one of my personal favourite, and lesser-known rivers of my region. The fact is, the wild, unmodified nature of the Nevis is now under threat. Pioneer Generation Ltd has acquired land bordering both sides of the lower valley through questionable dealings with DOC, and plans to flood this area for hydro generation. Pioneer wants to tame this wild river with a 40 mega-watt hydro dam, but 1/10 that of the Clyde Dam.

Many miles of picturesque valley floor, and many iconic relics of last centuries gold era will disappear if this goes ahead, decimating what I personally believe to be one of the South Islands last remaining, untouched high country trophy fisheries. Our wild rivers are not renewable, a thought to bear in mind.

Read on here

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