Reel Life April 2022
As I write this, long overdue rain in the Bay of Plenty is fair lashing the roof. The barometer and temperature have dropped, and thoughts suddenly turn to early autumn spawning fish!
The sighted brown trout fishing on Lake Rotorua has been spectacular over the summer.
This wet weather will be enough to stimulate their mindset toward spawning, so rather than running the streams for cold water refuge, they will be heading upstream to reproduce.
That will bring another level of aggression to their behaviour, and big 'in-ya-face' wet flies and tiny glow bugs will be the go-to for the Ngongotaha and Waiteti streams.
Our monitoring of the Rotorua tributaries has shown browns dominate the April and May runs, after which rainbows begin their upstream migration.
While the weather has changed, the lakes still had surface temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius a couple of days ago.
They are likely to 'mix' sometime over the next few months – a process where the deep layers of cooler water comes to the surface and mixes with the warmer surface water.
It's a regular occurrence for this time of year, can produce algae blooms and usually makes the fishing a bit tough for a few days.
That said, the fishing at depth hasn't disappointed this summer, with both catch rate and overall size and condition of the fish being excellent.
We've seen some pleasing fish and had reports of catches from Tarawera this month, including several over three kilograms caught jigging.
Rotoma too has produced some excellent catches of rainbows, as can be seen here with Anton Hutchinson's cracker fish pictured above.
Of course, Rotoma offers the somewhat elusive challenge of a tiger trout while you are chasing rainbows.
Think brown trout techniques while chasing tigers; after all, they are half brown.
Autumn liberations underway
Our autumn fish releases are well underway, April will see another load into Rotoiti, Tarawera and Okataina, then our main autumn release in May sees fish released into most of the Rotorua lakes.
If you aren't familiar with our work, the fish are released at about one year of age, 16-18cm long, and will be of a decent 'catchable' size by next summer.
The better fish you are catching now would have been released in 2020 and 2021.
New access Whirinaki
Our team has just completed a nice new access to a section of the Whirinaki River near Minginui.
There's an angler access sign partway along the farm known to many as the 'Old jail-house farm', Minginui Road.
The access takes you to a beautiful stretch of river and a river crossing (suitable for low and moderate flows) with access both up and downstream.
Datawatch tagged Trout
Tagged trout can now be entered online. Entries go into the draw to win one of 20 free whole-season fishing licences: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QCH5ZR6
Eastern Region Fishing Diaries – All lakes and streams
Fill in your fishing diaries here to help us manage the Eastern Fish & Game region. Participants go in the draw to win a $100 voucher from Kilwell: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QRSD7D3
Mark Sherburn, Eastern Fish & Game Officer