Auckland/Waikato Reel Life December 2017

Local rivers full of ‘hungry trout’

 Staff members David Klee and Adam Daniel recently took a trip to a local stream to find relatively warm water and lots of hungry trout. 

Right: A rainbow trout caught on a t-tail soft bait.

The unusually warm weather has heated some of our mountain streams up dramatically, forcing early migrations for fish from lowland waters to cool mountain streams. 

The good news is that due to the cool weather last summer, there are lots of trout around and they are hungry.

“The fishing was exceptional we had up to three large rainbows competing to take the hook,” Adam recalled. 

With the Waikato and Waipa Rivers reaching the magic 19°C,  Pirongia streams are also full of fish. 

Dr Daniel stopped for a quick look at a Pirongia tributary and was pleased to find half a dozen fish at the mouth of the stream.  

In terms of early summer strategies, nymphing is highly productive until the green beetles appear. If you enjoy spin fishing throwing a t-tail soft bait is also deadly for both rainbow and brown trout. 

Stay safe on Auckland/Waikato rivers  

Mercury has some useful reminders for anglers:

  • Don’t take anything for granted. Rivers are changeable and unpredictable.  The bank, river bed and water flow you were familiar with might be different from how you remember, or may change quickly, and there can be hidden dangers such as submerged objects.
  • Keep away from dams and other structures. A hydro scheme with eight dams operates down the Waikato River. The river near the dams has additional hazards including strong currents with suction effects and deep water. Water levels and flows can change significantly throughout the day and massive flows may be released at any time.
  • Don’t fish in the “no fishing” signed areas. There are agreed fishing locations around the hydro structures on the Waikato River. It’s illegal to operate boats or swim within 200m of any hydro structure.

There are more drownings in rivers than any other environment.  Enjoy yourself on the water but keep in mind that New Zealand’s rivers are powerful and require your respect.

Trees come down ahead of plan change

One unfortunate consequence of Plan Change 1 has been a rush to convert from pine to pasture.

Unfortunately, the fear that farmers will be locked into a particular land use to reduce the impact of intensive farming on our rivers, has prompted large tracts of timber to be converted to pasture over the past year. 

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Clear-felling trees releases a hefty amount of sediment into waterways unless large buffers are left along streams to act as a filter. 

Left: Clear-felling of pine next to a Waikato Stream.

Once converted to pasture, nutrient and sediment loss is far higher than pine plantations.  We can only hope that the council settles on a sensible regional plan to reduce contaminants from entering rivers, as the current lack of regulation has led to significant degradation of our communities’ waterways.    

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Right: A recent pine-to-pasture conversion in the Waikato. 

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