Fish & Game set to survey Rotorua anglers

By: Media Release

Fish & Game officers are getting set for trout fishing’s version of ‘show and tell’ – as hundreds of anglers take to the water for the new fishing season on the Rotorua lakes.

Fish & Game set to survey Rotorua anglers
The new fishing season opens 1 October.

As anglers gear up for October 1 opening - Fish & Game is appealing for patience, as officers question them for some valuable information.

Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne says they survey 1200-plus anglers at the opening on lakes Rotoiti, Tarawera and Okataina – the three lakes which have had a three month break from boat fishing.

"As usual, Fish & Game staff along with honorary rangers and helpers will patrol both on water and at boat ramps, quizzing anglers on their catches – our version of ‘show and tell’ – measuring and weighing fish," he says.

"This year we have a new boat named 'Kotare' for our patrols, easily spotted by its bright blue colour. "

Mr Osborne says that anglers will be asked how good their fishing has been in terms of catch rates, what methods they’ve been using, and for how long each day. This sort of information helps with fishery management decisions such as regulation setting and liberation strategies.

"Some anglers may be asked a couple of extra questions as we’ve introduced a new adult non-resident fishing licence for overseas visitors who are planning to fish for more than about week.

The new licence is aimed at people who aren’t resident in NZ – but the typical tourist, a visitor who is only going fishing for a couple of hours or on a day charter, can still buy a 24-hour licence."

Mr Osborne says Fish & Game’s change to staggered releases of smaller batches of fish into the lakes should mean a broader range of fish sizes than seen in past seasons. "We hope to see better catch rates because the method for releasing fish during better growth periods improves survival."

There are indications from earlier fishing competitions that two year-old fish (that most anglers catch at opening) from both Rotoiti and Tarawera have improved in size.

On 1 October, the average two year-old from Rotoiti should come in at 51cm and from Tarawera, just under 50cm long.

Matt Osborne says that Opening Day is a "long busy day" but an enjoyable one that provides Fish & Game Officers with a great opportunity to interact with a large number of licence holders, while gathering the most data we get our hands on within just one day of the whole year.

"Anglers are normally quite willing to spend a few minutes chatting about their angling. Most are well aware that we often pass on useful tips on flies, lures, and where to fish."

Opening Day this year falls on a Wednesday with many anglers expected to take leave from work to join up with friends or family, as it will be school holiday time.

"The opening can be a hectic time so anglers are encouraged to be patient and safe on the water, at the ramp and getting to and from the lakes. We want to see everyone enjoying themselves."

Fish & Game expects a busy weekend to follow the Wednesday opening – as people who couldn’t take that day off, and locals who have baches on the lakes, take their first crack at the new season.

Mr Osborne reminds anglers of two changes to the regulations which affect lakes Tarawera and Rotoiti. On Lake Tarawera a new maximum size limit for wild fish has been set at 620mm, down from the previous 650mm, a move that aims to protect valuable wild brood stock. Wild fish are those not released from the hatchery and therefore not carrying a fin mark or tag.

A rule that prevented boat fishing at Ruato Bay between April 1 and the end of June has now been lifted.

Fish & Game urges anglers to remember of course to buy a licence and carry it with them, and check their regulation and guide books before heading out. Not all areas (upper streams for example) necessarily open on October 1.

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