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Early trout release in angler's best interests

Early trout release in angler's best interests

Fish & Game officers have released 1500 young trout, in the first release of the New Year, into lakes Tarawera and Rotoiti.

The early release is aimed at growing a batch of trout as quickly as possible. Fish & Game officer Mark Sherburn says 1000 fish from the Ngongotaha hatchery were released into Lake Tarawera and another 500 into Lake Rotoiti.

To get the fish to a survivable size for this release, the fish were fed a high-growth rate diet, given “as much as they’ll eat, lots more food than normal.” Mr Sherburn says the challenge is to get the fish to a size at which they can survive in the lake while conditions are at their best; this minimum size is considered to be around 14 centimetres, though some of the fish were bigger.

Mr Sherburn says Fish & Game has trialled the release of fish at different times of the year and has found benefits to trout survival and growth. “We are always trying to optimise liberation times to get the best results for anglers.”

At one stage, 5000 fish were released into Lake Tarawera during summer, which resulted in trout that grew well but didn’t contribute to the catch as much as some of the other releases. “Now we are releasing trout at eight times throughout the year within lakes Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina to get the best results for our licence holders.”

The staggered approach, releasing more regular batches of fewer fish, was introduced in the spring of 2012. Research has shown that a wider spread to the timing of the releases provides better survival rates for the young trout.


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