Prospects of a mild spring are great news for anglers eagerly awaiting the 1 October start to the new trout fishing season. Senior Fish & Game Officer, Rob Pitkethley said “the start to last season was cold and windy which made things tough both for trout and anglers. As a consequence the season got of to a slow start and the fish never really recovered”. He added that the weather predictions for this spring were for a weak La Nina weather pattern to replace last years El Nino which brought the wind and cold temperatures.
“These conditions should make it easier for anglers to get out fishing. It should also encourage the traditional spring smelt runs around the lakes which enables the trout to grow rapidly and gain condition. The recent winter has also been warmer than average which this should have boosted fish growth.”
Fish & Game expect the fish on most if not all of the lakes to be at least as big or bigger than the start of last season. “We are able to estimate the size of trout on opening day by analyzing data from small 1+ aged fish caught early in the winter. It is clear from these results that the autumn liberated fish in particular have done well. For example autumn released fish on Tarawera should average 550mm which is a big jump on last year and be the best for at least the last four years.”
The busiest place on opening day is undoubtedly going to be Lake Tarawera, which each year attracts thousands of anglers for the first day of the season. It’s always a great social day with most anglers catching a few fish. This year should be no exception. Lake Rotoiti has steadily increased in popularity over the past two seasons due to the large fish that are regularly being caught and even more anglers are expected this year. Mr Pitkethley suggested that some of the other lakes were a good option for anglers looking for a bit more room on the water. “Lake Okataina fished consistently well last season but does not usually attract as many anglers. The reduced activity on opening day is likely to work in the anglers favour as the fish usually get wary as a result of the extreme boat activity on the really busy lakes.”
While most of the anglers will be out on boats it is most likely that the biggest fish will come from the Ohau Channel. The Ohau Channel has consistently produced monster fish early in the season and the indications are that it will do the same this season.
If you are looking for a quiet place to go fishing on 1 October, however, give Tarawera a miss, as you will probably have another 500 boats for company. On the other hand it’s the place to be if you enjoy a social start to the season. If you are making a weekend of it don’t forget the annual Blessing of the Boats and Piping of the Haggis at the Tarawera Landing on the eve of the opening.
The bulk of anglers are likely to be heading for the regular hotspots. While plenty of fish are caught in these areas a huge range of opportunities largely go untapped. The smaller lakes are a classic example. Fisheries such as Ngapouri and Okaro are literally full of fish and are a fantastic opportunity for the either the family or getting new or young anglers underway. While the fish may not match Rotoiti for size expect a great catch rate.
Fish & Game remind anglers to be aware of the risk of inadvertently spreading aquatic plants or algae such as didymo. Inspect the boat and trailer after leaving the water and remove any weed and then wash any part of the boat or fishing gear that will not dry thoroughly before they next go fishing.