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Fish & Game's new approach to releasing fish

Youngster helps with trout release at Lake Mc Laren in the lower Kaimais.

Media release from Eastern Fish & Game

Fish & Game's new approach to releasing fish

Fish & Game officers have changed the way they release fish into some lakes in the spring and autumn – aiming to increase the survival rate of the young fish.

In spring, thousands of yearling trout are released into most of the Rotorua lakes to boost populations for the following year’s fishing.

Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne says new information from a monthly tagged fish trial in Lake Tarawera, and a PhD study on trout and smelt in Lake Rotoiti, showed that a wider spread to the timing of the releases should provide better results. And a new method of “staggered” releases is being applied in both spring and autumn.

“In the past we released all of the spring fish in one hit in September, but this recent research indicates that we’re likely to get better survival and growth of the juvenile trout, if they’re let go in more batches over a wider timeframe.”

Mr Osborne says that winter is a poor time for growth in the lakes, and we are safeguarding the hatchery’s investment by spreading the autumn liberations so they start earlier, the spring liberations going later – to avoid the lower winter food supplies.

Spring liberations are now carried out through September, October, November and December.

Autumn releases will begin earlier than in the past. They will start February and continue until May.

This staggered programme is being tested on Lakes Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina where Fish & Game officers see the best growth. This should provide good fish for the boating anglers during the summer and also good shoreline fishing for the winter anglers.

In addition to the larger lakes, Fish & Game also release trout into a number of smaller lakes across the region. The latest release was of 700 rainbow and brown trout into Lake Mc Laren and the Ruahihi Canal in the lower Kaimais.

The last batch of fish for the year will leave the hatchery mid-December.


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