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Winter fishing hopes rise with spawning runs

Winter fishing hopes rise with spawning runs

Eastern Fish & Game staff are optimistic that winter anglers’ fortunes will soon be lifting – with some cold and rainy weather giving the trout spawning runs a push.

Spawning has been slow to kick off in many areas with the long spell of fine and calm conditions, says Fish & Game officer Matt Osborne.

“The fish have responded to the cold snap and more rain, and spawning around the Rotorua lakes is now well and truly underway.”

Fish & Game monitors spawning with fish traps on the Ngongotaha Stream and at Te Wairoa on Lake Tarawera. “We are seeing some good runs with up to 30-plus fish entering the Te Wairoa trap some nights, the larger runs upstream coinciding with rain events.

“Trout numbers are still behind this time last year but the condition of the fish we’re seeing is an improvement on last year. There are some very nice quality fish coming through.”

Mr Osborne says that the trout are a little shorter than last year but heavier.

Fish & Game staff take the largest and latest maturing trout from the –Te Wairoa trap, around 10 percent of the total – to use in their selective breeding programme at the Ngongotaha hatchery. Staff strip around a quarter of a million eggs from hens every year to grow the fish used for stocking lakes throughout the North Island.

Mr Osborne says that it’s a good time for licensed anglers to get out, as well as novices or those who want to try trout fishing. “There’s still not much angling pressure which means plenty of room to fish in most areas.”

He says there are plenty of areas to both fly and spin fish, an easy method for youngsters or those who are new to angling. Check the angling regulations for what method you can use at what sites.

Anglers should keep an eye on spots such as the Ohau Channel and the Ngongotaha Stream for some good fishing as spawning trout make their way upstream. There is one month left to fish those areas before they close on June 30.

Meanwhile, anglers boat fishing should still be successful using shallow trolling methods in the early morning or late evening. Boat fishing has been particularly successful late this season on Lake Rotoiti.

Nearly all Eastern Region fisheries remain open until the end of June, when some upper reaches of rivers close to protect spawning trout and some lakes including Tarawera, Okataina and Rotoiti close to boat-based fishing. This gives the lake a chance to rest ahead of the spring opening.

Local regulations can be found on the Fish & Game website: http://fishing.fishandgame.org.nz/content/freshwater-fishing-regulations.


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