Anglers are now counting down to the opening of the fishing season on Rotorua’s renowned lakes – hoping to hook some hard-fighting trout.
Lakes Rotoiti, Tarawera and Okataina, which have been closed and ‘rested’ over winter, will open to anglers from 5am on Tuesday October 1.
Lake Tarawera is most likely to be the busiest destination at the opening, says Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne.
“Historically, Tarawera has drawn the most anglers as the lake provides good early season catch rates, it’s picturesque, has plenty of sheltered spots to fish and it’s a tradition for many.”
Matt says recent growing conditions have improved and the size and quality of the Tarawera trout should be better than the last few seasons.
“Lake Rotoiti always manages to produce some solid fish and the largest trout over the opening will likely come from there, whereas Lake Okataina is dipping slightly in terms of growth.
“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.”
Catch rates are often good early in the season following the three-month rest from boat fishing traffic, and anglers are equally keen to get back out there.
Matt says environmental conditions have been favourable for trout growth.
“We expect that warmer water temperatures in the lakes over most of winter will have produced better-than-average winter trout growth, so our staff are looking forward to seeing the size of fish, compared with last season.”
He says Lake Rotorua, which remains open over winter, has produced rainbows of an improving size and quality.
Eastern Fish & Game has offered a few tips on techniques to use on opening day.
Fish & Game Officer Mark Sherburn says initially, and before the 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 successfully way to begin. If it’s sunny and there’s lots of boat traffic, expect the fish to move a little deeper in the morning.
“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 ‘old faithful’ black and gold toby! Jigging too can work well early in the season with three flies, something darker on the bottom with two smelt flies above it is ideal.”
Mark 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.
Mark says that for anglers seeking new spots – or those who’re new to the Eastern region – then Fish & Game brochures are a great place to start.
They are available at fishing stores and licence agents, or from the Fish & Game website, www.fishandgame.org.nz