Fish & Game tips good times ahead for Lake Arapuni anglers
Lake Arapuni, one of the Waikato’s most popular trout fishing spots, is in the “best shape” ever for the summer with rainbows averaging more than half a metre long, according to local Fish & Game officers.
Auckland / Waikato Fisheries Manager Dr Adam Daniel says this summer should provide “the largest number of catchable-size rainbows the lake has ever seen – reaping the rewards of our Arapuni fish stocking programme.”
The rainbow trout in Lake Arapuni grow faster than anywhere else in the North Island, even faster than the Rotorua Lakes, he says.
“So far this year the average length of rainbows reported in our tag return programme has been over 52 cm, a very healthy size.”
Dr Daniel says the lake fishes well year-round but January through April are the most productive months.
Most anglers fish the lake by boat but using bait and weighted flies from the Arapuni Dam Bridge or the base of the Waipapa Dam are also popular methods.
“Lake Arapuni is an easy spot to troll for trout with several good boat ramps including Bulmers Landing, Jones Landing and Landing Road,” Dr Daniel says.
“If you’re new to fishing at Lake Arapuni, the annual Lake Arapuni Fishing Contest put on by the Te Awamutu Fish & Game Club is a great way learn how to fish the lake without spending a lot of time experimenting on your own.”
The annual competition held in March at Bulmer’s Landing is a very family-friendly event with great prizes, he adds.
One angler who will be sadly absent from Lake Arapuni is Tony Stevens who passed away earlier this year, Dr Daniel notes.
“He fished off the Arapuni Bridge most mornings casting a smelt fly behind a ball sinker and he would use a dip net on rope to land his fish.
“Tony sent in details of 1,729 trout he had caught off the bridge over the last decade. You often hear that 90 per cent of the fish are caught by 10 per cent of anglers, well Tony had caught nearly half of the fish reported to Fish & Game over the ten years!”
Dr Daniel says that because it’s so handy to urban areas, it is no surprise the mighty Waikato River with its abundant brown trout is the region’s most popular fishery.
“Other anglers will be enjoying the huge diversity of fishing waters in the region, from the spring creeks of the South Waikato, to the numerous back country rivers of the Ruapehu district.”
Dr Daniel says that anglers are urged to remember to send in details of any tagged fish they catch.
The tagging programme helps determine, how many hatchery-bred trout released locally survive to be caught by anglers, and how fast wild fish grow in different rivers around the region. The data helps Fish & Game set regulations and spend its fish stocking budget wisely.
“Tags can grow algae in older fish so look closely near the dorsal fin for tags.
“If you catch a fish with a tag we’d be grateful if you could measure it from the nose to the fork in the tail, record the number on the tag and either call us on 07- 849 1666, or email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Holidaymakers are reminded that Fish & Game’s new Short Break and Long Break licences are available here and in accredited sports shops and other outlets.