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Fish & Game tips ‘plenty thrills’ for new trout season

Fish & Game tips ‘plenty thrills’ for new trout season

It’s thrill seeking of a rather different kind in the adventure capital of Rotorua…hundreds of anglers are preparing to take to the local lakes on October 1, hoping to hear the scream of a reel as they hook a hard-fighting trout.

Lakes Rotoiti, Tarawera and Okataina, which have been closed and ‘rested’ over winter, will open to anglers from 5am on Wednesday October 1.

Fish & Game Officer Mark Sherburn says that trout fishing is rather unique in that the sport and Opening Day mean something quite different for different types of anglers. “For some it’s a real outdoors adventure as they seek out the back country and fish in solitude, while for many it’s a hugely social occasion – getting out on the lake with family and friends.

“But what’s been called ‘the ultimate thrill’ of hooking a solid fish is still there, however you choose to fish.”

Lake Tarawera is normally the busiest destination on opening, drawing the most anglers over the years as it provides good early season catch rates, it’s picturesque and it has plenty of sheltered spots to fish.

Mr Sherburn says more than 1200 anglers are expected to turn out across the three lakes in total. “Lake Okataina may provide the largest two year-old hatchery fish and Lake Rotoiti always manages to produce some stunning fish.”

Anglers are also urged to try Lake Rotorua too this season as probably one of the most productive lakes in the country in terms of trout caught per hour – producing one fish for every two hours effort. “The lake has seen great improvements in both water and fish quality over the last year,” Mr Sherburn adds, “and it’s open year round.”

Fish & Game officers say a range of indicators tell a positive story. The latest monitoring shows trout growth is on the rise in the lakes – while drift dives to count fish indicated good trout numbers going into winter spawning.

“Our fish trap at Te Wairoa which catches spawning trout from Lake Tarawera stands at nearly 900 and rising – that’s 20% up on this time last year.”

Mr Sherburn says that the Rotorua lakes also had the fourth warmest June for the 50 years records have been kept – “which should have promoted much better than average trout growth leading into the winter.

Fishing competitions held on lakes Rotoiti and Tarawera in June produced some encouraging signs as well. They showed the growing one year-old trout were around 1cm larger than the previous year going into the winter. On1 October, the average two year-old from Rotoiti should come in at 51cm and from Tarawera, just under 50cm long.

Most trout caught at the opening will be two-year-old fish as they are the most abundant group of fish above the minimum size of 35cm. And officers are hoping for better catch rates early in the season as a result of a new approach to releasing hatchery-bred rainbows – in small batches over a longer period to produce better survival rates.

Mr Sherburn says that on Opening Day, before sun gets on the water the fishing is often slow, but picks up during the first few hours of daylight.

“Shallow trolling with a ‘Tassie’ and a smelt fly is a successful way to begin. If it’s sunny and there’s lots of boat traffic, expect the fish to move a little deeper.

“Under these conditions adopt a deep trolling method such as lead line, wire or downrigger. It’s hard to beat orange as a lure colour early in the season, or something with a touch of red and don’t forget to try the well tested black and gold toby.”

Mr Sherburn reminds anglers they should have given their motor a check over “and given it a test run before they get to the ramp.” And he suggests they check over their fishing gear too.

“Check the line-to-leader connections, dab a little grease on the spindle of your reels, and buy some fresh mono when you go to the tackle store to buy your new licence.”

If you plan to hit the water early, then make sure the ‘nav’ lights are working and remember to have lifejackets for everyone, he adds.

Anyone new to fishing but unsure where to start is invited to visit Fish & Game’s hatchery. “We have lots of written information including a brochure on all the Rotorua lakes, and we can pass on lots of tips. ”

The Ngongotaha hatchery has been busy re-stocking local lakes. So far almost 40,000 yearlings have been released into the lakes around Rotorua to ensure that catch rates are up to a high standard. The rainbow trout released this month won’t be of a catchable size until the opening of 2015, but rest easy! The same number of trout were released this time last year too so there will be plenty to catch come October 1, 2014.

Need help?

Eastern staff invite readers who aren’t able to visit the hatchery to call for tips and information on 07- 357 5501, or visit the Fish & Game website: for lots more information.


© Scoop Media

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