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November 1 marked the opening of several Otago and Southland fisheries and backcountry waterways for anglers.

Each year, about 80,000 anglers get a licence for the South Island.

Otago Fish & Game officer Bruce Quirey said Kiwis could sometimes fail to appreciate what was on their doorstep.

“Covid has shown us that we have plenty of places we can explore at home and have fun doing it,” he said.

Last week, Fish & Game staff drift-dived the Greenstone River to check fish populations and habitat state.

Mr Quirey said the river was in “spectacular condition”.

“The fish were mostly rainbow trout and were in top form. Some of the brown trout we found were of trophy size.

“We did not count as many fish as expected, but there are enough fish and stunning scenery to offer an amazing backcountry angling experience,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Otago Fish and Game Council has elected Wanaka councillor Ray Grubb as its national council representative.

Mr Grubb is a former chairman of New Zealand Fish & Game.

Long-serving Dunedin councillor Colin Weatherall is now the Otago council’s chairman.

Cr Weatherall said he was looking forward to cementing Otago’s place as the leading Fish & Game region for resources, assets and representation of licence holders for sports fishing and game bird hunting.

Nine other councillors were elected to Otago Fish and Game Council in October.

They are Mike Barker, Rick Boyd, Ian Cole, Ray Grubb, Colin Weatherall, John Highton, Adrian McIntyre, Vicky May and newcomer Blair Trevathan.

The Ngai Tahu representative is Richard Twining.