Man lands 'record' brown trout
Tekapo's reputation for huge fish has increased even further after a Timaru man landed a 16.72kg brown trout, which may be a New Zealand record.
While there have been bigger trout caught in New Zealand and around the world they have all been of the rainbow variety.
Gary Anderson caught the monster, which took 20 minutes to land, near the salmon farm at the Tekapo canal on Thursday.
Mr Anderson who remained in Tekapo searching for bigger fish, had no freezer or phone, so gave the fish to his friend Lex Stanley to take home.
"He came back to the camp and I asked him how he went and he said `not bad I got one that weighed 17'. I thought he meant 17lb, not 17kg. It's huge."
He said his 54-year-old friend had been fishing for years.
"Gary is a true fisherman. He goes out at 5am every morning and catches about 20 fish, but puts most of them back. He keeps the odd big one," Mr Stanley said.
The whopper trout is expected to create interest from overseas fishermen keen to visit excellent fishing spots.
Mr Stanley said he had seen some "big buggers" in the Tekapo canal during the past few years. Some fishermen believed there were fish weighing more than 20kg, he said.
"I have no doubt someone is going to catch an absolute monster one of these days."
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) scientist Don Jellyman said the catch was the biggest brown trout he had ever heard of
"It is unusual to have such a big brown trout caught. It is an impressive catch," he said.
Fish and Game New Zealand officer Graeme Hughes described the brown trout as a "big hunk of meat", but was not surprised about the catch.
"It was caught near a salmon farm where the trout eat the salmon faeces, which is rich from the food the salmon eat," he said.
"In the wild like rivers and lakes fish have to hunt for their food so they are harder to catch.
Trout in canals were easier to catch because they had nowhere to hide compared to rivers and lakes where there were ample places to duck and dive.
"If you put the size of the one that was caught into a river and try and bring it to shore it would be a bloody good effort."
The biggest brown trout Mr Hughes had seen landed in the Waitaki Valley was about 7kg in the late 1970s.
Mr Stanley said Mr Anderson did not want to keep the fish, but if someone wanted to get it mounted they were welcome to it.