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Fish & Game releases thousands of young fish

Fish & Game releases thousands of young fish in spring programme

Fish & Game officers have begun a major spring stock-up of Rotorua lakes with thousands of young trout released into most of the Rotorua lakes.

The releases have been timed so that hatchery bred fish are freed into the most favourable growing conditions which kick in from about September – to produce the best possible fish for anglers, says Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne.

“We’ve already put 13,500 into Lake Rotoiti and are moving to release another 25,000 into the rest of the lakes.

Up until now lake temperatures are typically cool at around 11C while the best conditions for growing trout are temperatures around 16 or 17C, he says.

“This means releasing a number of fish in October when temperatures are increasing is not only likely to enhance growth rates but increases the prospects of survival.”

Mr Osborne says that Fish & Game is three years into a staggered release programme to boost trout survival and growth, and is now fine tuning it.

The staggered approach centred on releasing more regular batches of fewer fish, was introduced in the spring of 2012. It was adopted after research showed that a wider spread to the timing of the releases provided better survival rates for the young trout.

“The aim remains the same – to increase fish size for anglers,” he adds. “We are always trying to optimise liberation times to get the best results for anglers.”

Mr Osborne says in the meantime, officers trapped a total of 1,040 fish at the Te Wairoa trap in Lake Tarawera over the spawning period, the highest total since the 2009 winter.

Successful wild spawning activity indicates a healthy fishery, and this confirms observations that local stream habitat and condition of spawning gravels are better than they have been for some years.

ENDS

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