Salmon fishing popular at Ladybird Hill

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About 1600 salmon have been caught by members of the public this season at one of North Otago’s newest tourism ventures, Ladybird Hill Cafe, Restaurant & Winery.

Catching a salmon yourself and having it served up within 30 minutes has been a definite highlight with visitors, said owner Roger Smaill.

International buyers at the 2014 Trenz trade show in Auckland last week learnt about some of Waitaki’s newest destinations, of which Omarama’s Ladybird Hill was one.

Visitors to the 65 acre multi-faceted destination have the opportunity to dine, go for a walk, view and feed rainbow and brown trout, play on the ladybird-themed playground or play a game of giant chess.

Catching salmon to eat doesn’t require the public to have licences or fishing rods and Mr Smaill said feedback has been brilliant.

“We have tried not to push it too hard this year as we had to learn about the salmon.

“We buy them from the salmon farm just down the road at 1.2-1.6 kilograms and just retain their condition.

“We have very good water from the Omarama Stream which helps.”

Mr Smaill said they have just completed their third season and will close for June and July, during which time they intend to increase the size of their holding pond.

They also operate a joint venture with Heli Otago to capture the Dunedin cruise ship market.