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Kiwis reminded of angling holy grail in own backyard

Kiwis reminded of angling holy grail in own backyard

Families holidaying on Rotorua lakes this summer have been reminded they can grab some fishing action in their own backyard that’s “the Holy Grail” for many overseas anglers.

Glowing references by overseas media to New Zealand’s “thumping great fish” and “mecca for giant brown trout” are pretty typical, Eastern Fish & Game staff say.

Fish & Game officer Mark Sherburn says that while he wouldn’t try to talk an angler out of a trip to somewhere exotic like Patagonia or elsewhere, “why leave home when Rotorua’s lakes and rivers are right up there in the world class fishing stakes? It is great fishing accessible to Kiwi families without a big spend. ”

He says that visiting anglers or family groups who take their cues from the weather patterns – and what it means for trout behaviour – will be successful.

“Water temperatures are frequently topping 20 degrees when trout head for a cool refuge – either going deep during the day or moving into cooler in-flowing water such as spring-fed streams,” he says.

Mr Sherburn says that one Rotorua Angler’s Club members who’s put in a lot of hours describes the fishing as “really mixed,” catching fish easily some days and struggling on others, with his biggest weighing in at 2.6kg.

The angler said Lake Tarawera had been quite hard but definitely better in the early morning. In Lake Rotoiti, once you found fish on your sounder you could catch them – but they “weren’t always easy to find.”

Another Fish & Game staffer noted that from his lake patrols, it was evident that “smart anglers” had still caught fish, applying knowledge and using their sounders to actively “hunt” fish.

Mr Sherburn says that in the deeper lakes such as Tarawera, Okataina, Rotoiti and Waikaremoana trout are beginning to frequent depths of 15 metres or more, and this trend will continue and become more noted as the summer goes on.

“By mid-January expect the thermocline, a layered band of water where the temperature change occurs, to be well formed and trout to spend most of their daytime at this location.

“The exception is from dawn onwards when the lakes are at their coolest. Smelt often feed near the surface for the first few hours of light and trout find them easy prey. Whether you’re spinning, fly fishing or trolling, you’ll want to be up with the sparrows to catch the action early.”

Some morning surface activity might continue for several hours, but other times it’s over just after dawn.

Mr Sherburn says that Lake Rotorua’s stream mouths are also a key area during periods of warm weather. “Cool water stream mouths are the places to be as trout congregate in their thousands!”

Browns and rainbows are also swimming up the Ngongotaha and Waiteti streams, and shore-based anglers are advised to target the stream mouths after dark. Fish & Game staff trapped and released 30 brown trout per night over a ten-night sampling period through their Ngongotaha Stream trap during November, the average weight nearly three kilos.

Visiting Gisborne angler Rex Richards had a great day on the Ngongotaha recently, landing a number of fish and mentioned finding a pool stacked with trout. He told Fish & Game staff: “there must have been around 30 fish in there, I couldn’t believe it.”

For the boatie who’s new to trout fishing, Eastern Fish & Game is holding a free boat fishing talk at Lake Tarawera on Saturday, January 4 (Stoney Point reserve, off Spencer Rd, 10am. No bookings needed but bring a fold-out picnic chair, sun hat/rain coat, etc).

The sessions will include “what methods work best at which time of year” and includes tips on how to de-bone and cook your trout.

Eastern Fish & Game staff are urging anglers to remember to carry their fishing licences, after encountering a number of people breaking this rule. It makes life easier for all if you remember this requirement, Mr Sherburn says. “Anyone who fails to carry it has to present it later, so to prevent unnecessary paperwork for us - and tying up your valuable holiday time - please carry your licence.”


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