14 Jan 2015

Veteran Fish and Game ranger hangs up his waders

From Summer Report, 7:51 am on 14 January 2015

Graeme Hughes and Jayde Couper electro fishing a stream in the Waitaki Valley Photo RNZ Ian Telfer

Graeme Hughes, alongside Fish & Game's newest ranger Jayde Couper, electro fishing in a stream in the Waitaki Valley. Photo RNZ/Ian Telfer.

Graeme Hughes Photo RNZ Ian TelferFish and Game's longest serving ranger says the Waitaki Valley might become the Wild West again after he leaves.

Graeme Hughes has been the ranger based in Kurow for most of the past 49 years, and the position is not being replaced when he retires in March.

Mr Hughes says when he arrived in the valley people viewed the arrival of a new ranger with suspicion, and rightly so with the things that were going on.

He says most of the old fellows are no longer alive, and the young guys have left for work elsewhere, though it could become the Wild West again without a local presence.

Graeme Hughes says he will miss the job and the people he works with, but not the paperwork.

A young brown trout

A young brown trout. Photo: RNZ/Ian Telfer.

Reporter Ian Telfer joins Graeme Hughes on one of his final field trips, doing a survey of fishing a stream in the Waitaki Valley near Omarama.