The confiscated fishing gear locker at Otago Fish & Game in Central Otago is becoming crowded with rods and reels from anglers found without licences over the holiday period.

Rangers were disappointed at the number of those found fishing without licences on Central Otago lakes, and senior officer Paul van Klink said 13 offence notices had been issued from Christmas Eve to he start of this week.

That included six offences detected in one day on Lake Hawea.

Considering the price of boats and equipment, and that anglers could spend $50 to $100 on fuel, it was “a no-brainer” to pay $137 for a full-season licence, Mr van Klink said.

“Most of the non-compliant anglers have had licences in past seasons, so they all know the system, which is both disappointing and frustrating for Fish & Game staff,” he said.

The News accompanied ranger Ben Sowry on Saturday as he checked licences and conducted a fishing survey on Lake Wanaka, in which he spoke with two shore-based anglers and 10 boats from which people were fishing.

Fishing gear was seized as evidence from one boat, as the angler did not have a licence, and an offence notice was issued.

A family on another boat did not have their licences with them, so Fish & Game would follow that up, Mr Sowry said.

The fine for fishing without a licence was $500.

Fines went into a habitat enhancement fund. Money from that fund was available for applications from the public to create wetlands or to fence off spawning areas, Mr van Klink said.