Keep your eye on weather this weekend.
Keep your eye on weather this weekend. Cas Garvey

Still a chance of catching a few despite rain

HERE ARE three words the weather forecasters seem to have forgotten about for months - a wet weekend!

Even the most pessimistic weather sites are predicting a very high chance of decent showers over the next few days as a coastal trough directs humid winds on to the coast and mini-troughs form in it.

"Drought by land and by sea”, the old salts say, and they've been pretty right this year.

The estuary fish have been spread right up-river, the beaches are just starting to recover from months of onshore winds, erosion and big swells, and the offshore grounds have been hit and miss.

A few days of rain will hardly dampen the parched ground and there's little likelihood of anything more than a slight colour change in the rivers - but it's a start.

Let's hope the rain falls on the headwaters of the once mighty Clarence, now little more than a chain of pools and puddles.

Makes you wonder what would have happened if the water-hungry western mobs had had their way - we'd be looking at yet another empty dam.

The ocean might be a tough gig this weekend, what with 10-15 knot easterlies putting a real slop on the surface, but there's little swell to contend with.

The mackerel are showing up in better numbers now, with a few from Lennox, Riordans and Evans.

They seem to like a bit of chop on the water to help them hunt. Maybe it's the extra oxygen in the aerated foam, or the baitfish have more trouble seeing them, or whatever, but some of the hottest Spanish bites seem to occur in the most unpleasant conditions.

Providing your boat and crew are up to it, there could be some worthwhile moments for pelagics over the reefs. Find the bait schools and the mackerel and tuna won't be far away.

The beaches are looking better than they have in a long while, with new formations developing, cleaner water settling in and even a few early mullet pods.

Again, find the bait and there should be some worthwhile tailor and even the odd mulloway around to go with the usual run of bream, dart and whiting.

US lake can sue

VOTERS in Ohio voted in February to give Lake Erie the same rights as citizens, allowing them to sue on behalf of the lake.

Since water issues plagued the Toledo area in 2014, a group of citizens believed that the lake was not getting enough protection from the state, so a special election was organised.

Since the vote passed, polluters and others who pose environmental threats to the lake can be sued and held accountable.

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights is the first rights-based legislation aimed at protecting a whole US ecosystem: the lake, its tributaries, and the many species that live off it.

The law isn't without global precedent. It's part of the nascent Rights of Nature movement, which has notched several victories in the past decade.

Rivers and forests have won legal rights in Ecuador, Colombia, India and New Zealand, where the Tongariro River recently gained entity status, as has the Taranaki stratovolcano, formerly Mt Egmont.

Water Kiwis' No 1 worry

A RECENT poll indicates that water pollution is New Zealanders' number one concern, with 82 per cent of respondents calling for tougher protections for waterways, ranking it as a priority above the housing crisis, the rising cost of living and child poverty.

Stuff.co.nz cites the Environment Ministry as saying two-thirds of all rivers are now unswimmable and three-quarters of New Zealand's native freshwater fish species are threatened with extinction.

New Zealanders are now encouraged to check their local council websites for public health warnings before heading out for a day on the water.

Declining water quality has coincided with a boom in New Zealand's dairy industry - it is the largest exporter of dairy in the world. Cow effluent and fertiliser run-off are significant polluters of inland waterways, as are beef, sheep and deer farming.

Mass deforestation and the extensive clearing of native wetlands have also been significant.

Chris Lewis, the dairy chairman for the Federated Farmers of New Zealand, acknowledged the industry was "far from perfect” and said it was keen to change, with improvements expected "within the next 10 years”.

Locally, meanwhile, candidates from the Greens and Labor parties have promised tens-of-millions of dollars to "save” the Richmond River, long considered by scientific groups as a chronic failure in water quality sufficient to host living plants and animals.

The National candidates are dragging the chain on this, thanks to their notional group loyalty to any farmer, even those who consider it a god-given right to let their loose dirt, effluent and poisons escape the confines of their own property.

Regardless of who is elected, it's up to us fishos to keep reminding them of the importance of a healthy river to everyone.