Well known author of trout fishing books George Ferris, in the 1950s, once described Canterbury’s Selwyn River, in its hey-day, as being looked on as “the best brown trout river in the Dominion.” Sadly this is not the case today. An article in the newspaper in January this year, painted a sad picture.
For Canterbury’s Selwyn River, whether or not it is safe to swim depends on how far upstream you are – with those living near the lower reaches saying it has been “Chernobylised”. The main issue is bacteria, from animal faeces flushed off paddocks and into waterways during heavy rain.
However, toxic slime becomes an issue during the dry summer months. The river is reduced to a few disconnected algae infested ponds.
But to recall George Ferris’ description of the Selwyn as arguably the best brown trout river in New Zealand, below is a photo from the “New Zealand Fishing and Shooting Gazette” (November 1, 1934) of a bag of trout from the Selwyn.