Dipton woman Donna Bell, pictured with Tony Keay of Stabicraft, checks out her new boat after her name was drawn as the big winner at the prizegiving for the Stabicraft Te Anau Manapouri Fishing Classic at the weekend.
Of all the people who flocked to Te Anau at the weekend, Dipton woman Donna Bell had reason to be happier than most.
Bell was one of a record number of people who participated in the 13th Stabicraft Te Anau Manapouri Fishing Classic from Friday until Sunday.
But she was the only one who won a new boat.
Her name was drawn at the prizegiving as the winner of a Stabicraft 1550 fisher with outboard motor, trailer, VHF radio, fishfinder and other accessories.
Bell, who could not be contacted on Monday afternoon, was one of 952 participants in everything from the Cruise Milford, Take a Kid Fishing event at McGregors Pond to the main event on lakes Te Anau, Manapouri and the Upper Waiau River.
Fishing Classic organiser Don McFarlane said a record 508 fish were caught in the main section of the competition and a further 82 salmon caught at McGregor’s Pond.
McFarlane said the biggest fish caught was a 4.34kg brown trout, landed by Jonathan Hodson.
Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock said there were heaps of people in Te Anau at the long weekend.
Fiordland Jet co-owner Chris Adams agreed Te Anau had a “great weekend”, but business for him had been “hit and miss” because so many people had their own boats on the lake.
“We got a few trips but nothing like it would have been if [international] tourists were in town.”
Te Anau businessman Clint Tauri said a lot of the fishing participants stayed at his Te Anau Lake View Holiday Park, which was about 75 per cent full.
Kiwi families were generally looking for self-contained accommodation and his motels were full, while restaurants in the town looked busy, he said.
A lot of visitors had also decided to lengthen their stay and remain in the town on Monday night, he said.
Elsewhere in the region, south Catlins charitable trust treasurer Pam Yorke said the Curio Bay Camping Ground had been about 75 per cent full over the long weekend, with people from throughout New Zealand staying from between one and three days.
“It’s been starting to pick up the last month or so.”