Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Halswell River - An overlooked link connecting the city to the lake

Living in Christchurch it often surprises me how few people know about or send time at Lake Ellesmere ( Te Waihora) which is New Zealand's fourth largest lake. The lake is a vast wetland wilderness on the edge of a city, rich in bird and fish life. There are also options for water based recreation and photography. A virtual wilderness. One connection from the edge of Christchurch city to the lake is the Halswell River which flows for 20 kilometres before emptying into the lake. The Halswell River is a large spring creek that starts in the suburb of Halswell. In it's upper reaches it has fast flowing water over a gravel bed and a rich diversity of native fish such as lamprey, eels and bullies along with several species of Galaxid ( whitebait) . The Halswell is also brown trout fishery. Yet the river has suffered from high silt loads over the last ten years that have degraded it's values, yet it still remains a rich and biological diverse waterway. the lower Halswell, just before it flows into Lake Ellesmere , is an extremely productive environment. Thousands of juvenile eels live in the rivers sediment. The endangered Australasian bittern breeds in raupo beds. Indeed the lower Halswell River may be the most productive and bio-diverse spring creek on the South Island's East Coast. The river is a vital input of freshwater into lake Ellesmere. The best way to experience the Halswell River is to take a day to kayak its length. To me the Halswell is a special river for trout fishing, eeling and wildlife photography- very much an overlooked connection by many. For more information on the Halswell River I have set up this Facebook Group- Please "Like" if interested. Your observations and comments are welcome. Thanks- Peter Langlands/Wild capture Research