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Ruakituri River decision

Ruakituri River decision

Eastern Fish and Game Council lifts boat restrictions Ruato Bay, changes other fishing rules

The Eastern Fish and Game Council has moved to amend some of its fishing rules after anglers were given their say on a variety of proposed changes.

The Council met last week to consider proposed changes to the Angler’s Notice which lays down the fishing rules and regulations for the region.

Councillors agreed to remove the ‘no-boat fishing’ restrictions around Ruato Bay on Lake Rotoiti, in a move which will take effect from the next fishing season which begins on October 1 2014.

Council chairman Murray Ferris says the autumn restriction on fishing from a boat in this area is being lifted because a three year trial to see if this improved shoreline fishing had shown no change in winter catch rates.

Another rule change applies to Lake Tarawera – the Eastern Council decided to lower the maximum size limit for wild trout from 65cm to 62cm.

Mr Ferris says that even dropping from 65cm to 62cm, the impact on most anglers who catch mainly hatchery fish in the lake, will be minimal.

“The limit is important to protect large wild trout, and assist the Tarawera Selective Breeding programme that sources parent fish to grow in the hatchery, and produce fingerlings which are released across many North Island lakes.”

A proposal to allow some bait fishing (scented soft baits, insect and worm) in Lake Okaro or Okareka was put on hold to gather more information. The current prohibition on using baits in the Rotorua lakes will continue to apply.

The Council also agreed to restrict the use of motors and anchors for fishing in the Tuai Lakes near Waikaremoana (Lake Whakamarino and Kaitawa) to help protect the valuable Waikaremoana fishery from weed being transferred from the smaller lakes.

Mr Ferris says that one of the more contentious proposals was to permit spin fishing in the lower reaches of the Ruakituri River and allow anglers to fish the same section all year. The unanimous decision of the Council was to stay with the “status quo” and gather more information on the fishery.

The vote to leave unchanged the current regulations was taken after some discussion, and hearing from Ruakituri locals including a spokesman for the Ruakituri Resident’s and Ratepayer’s Association.

Eastern Council Chairman Murray Ferris describes the decision as a commonsense and democratic one, which shows the council has listened to the concerns of local landowners and residents.

“We regret that our proposal became the subject of a great deal of mis-information and emotion – in particular the completely false suggestion that the whole river would be opened to spin fishing.

“The proposed change only ever applied to the lower section of the river but regrettably the facts were misrepresented. There is good science and many years of research that shows the fishery would sustain some additional angling and we are obliged to increase angler opportunities where we can. However we can’t so this without taking key stakeholders along with us so we have more work to do in this area. ”

Mr Ferris says that he has already noted that staff will take steps to meet with landowners and try and better explain that the aim of the proposal had been to create opportunities for younger or novice anglers in particular to fish in a part of the renowned East Coast river — especially as the lower part is less heavily fished than the upper reaches.


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