Anglers descend on Rotorua lakes for start of fishing season
Anglers descend on sunny and perfect Rotorua lakes for start of new fishing season
There’s been a strong turnout of anglers in “perfect” conditions on the Rotorua lakes for the start of the new fishing season today.
An estimated 1000-plus anglers have converged on the popular lakes of Tarawera, Okataina and Rotoiti which have been closed for the past three months.
Eastern Fish & Game manager Rob Pitkethley, who’s been stationed on Lake Rotoiti, says it’s been pleasing to see the two-year-old fish typically caught at this time have been bigger than expected.
He says the warm winter has been very good for trout growth.
Mr Pitkethley says “very few anglers have come in empty-handed and most caught some good fish in the excellent weather conditions.”
The next couple of days are looking just as fantastic, he adds.
On Lake Tarawera, a 10-year-old girl on holiday with her family from Napier showed some seasoned anglers how it’s done with a 3.3kg rainbow trout 620cm caught jigging.
Her father Paul Roche says daughter Ruby played the fish for about 20 minutes before they landed it. “She had sore wrists and wanted to give up but we told her to stick at it,” Mr Roche said.
Destination Rotorua Marketing (DRM) general manager Oscar Nathan says anglers are predicted to enjoy some superb catch rates on the three big ‘trophy lakes’ which have been rested for the past three months but this year a new trout release strategy should significantly boost trout numbers.
Rainbow trout raised in Fish & Game’s Rotorua hatchery are normally released into the lakes in May (autumn) and September (spring). But recent research showed that cold water temperatures were affecting the young trout’s survival.
“Fish & Game learnt that seasonal conditions make a difference – if colder winter weather comes earlier than expected during May, or is delayed into September, there can be dire consequences for newly released trout,” says Nathan.
So last year’s spring releases of hatchery-bred rainbow trout were spread over a four-month period instead, with the success of the initiative due to be revealed next week.
“The expectation is that more fish will have survived during the warmer months, so anglers will be able to catch more trout than normal, and the size of each fish should also be better-than-average thanks to more favourable growing conditions,” Nathan says.
Today’s opening coincided with the beginning of the school holidays. “It’s the perfect opportunity to get out on the water with the kids and create some lasting memories,” Nathan says.
Festivities begin on Monday evening with a Scottish tradition of the Piping of the Haggis – where bag pipers formally accompany a platter of haggis – and a boat blessing ceremony is held at The Landing on the shores of Lake Tarawera.