Reel Life March 2021

Late season angling prospects look good 

Fishing in late March and April can be some of the most productive of the season, with water temperatures falling and trout intent on feeding up large as they prepare for spawning.

Brown trout in particular will be starting to pair up by the end of the ringplain main season on April 30. 

All stream and rivers are currently at low flow, with only minor freshes occurring in recent weeks.

Sight-fishing to trout on their feeding lies or drifting a dry fly – nymph combo down foam lines or through pocket water will be well worthwhile.

Above: A wonderful summer 2021 ringplain rainbow (photo Gerard Karalus). 

Kaupokonui weir finally removed 

TRL2March2021. The Kaupokonui weir prior to removal

The Kaupokonui weir prior to removal, a pretty effective barrier to all but climbing species of native fish such as eel elvers and juvenile koaro.

After 120 years of impacting on fish passage, the Kaupokonui Glenn Road weir has finally been demolished. 

Following 20 years of debate and a fair bit of opposition from the former Historic Places Trust (now Heritage NZ), Bart Jansma the Environmental Policy Advisor for Te Korowai o Ngaruahine Trust led the charge by obtaining consent from the Taranaki Regional Council to allow the weir’s removal.

Demolition was completed on 3rd March 2021 about 15 minutes before a minor fresh came through to start the bed regrading process.

Bart’s short video of the fresh can be seen at https://youtu.be/SWpEfbVIIVw

As the weir was located just five kilometres from the sea, its removal allows native fish and trout from the lower river unrestricted access to 85% of the Kaupokonui Stream catchment that was previously denied to them.

TRL3March 2021. Steve Fleming Contractors at work on the demolition

Steve Fleming Contractors at work on weir demolition (Photo Bart Jansma).

In respect of the trout fishery the Mangawhero Stream tributary, which enters the Kaupokonui just downstream of the weir, was effectively the headwaters of the lower river population of brown and rainbow trout and it will be interesting to see what changes occur in the fishery as a result of weir removal. 

As well as Ngaruahine Iwi, co-funders of the $25,000 cost of weir demolition included the South Taranaki District Council, Fonterra Kapuni (Lactose Company) and Taranaki Fish & Game, with the Regional Council waiving consenting fees, paying for monitoring (including time-lapse photography) and shouldering the substantial cost of shifting their water level recorder from the weir crest to further upstream.

All in all, a great collaborative effort with real environmental benefits! 

Regional and District Plans 

Regional and District Council’s currently have their 2021-2031 long-term plans out for public consultation and while this can be a fairly dry subject for many, it does provide a good opportunity to have your say on issues that affect water quality, the quantity of water in our streams and rivers and the environmental, recreational and cultural values we hold dear. 

For example, the Taranaki Regional Council is currently running an online survey to find out what our rivers, streams and lakes mean to you - and what your long-term vision is for their future?

While it takes a few minutes to work through the questions we encourage you to make your views known.

The link to the survey can be found here https://trc.govt.nz/environment/freshwater/freshwater-quality/vision/ 

The Taranaki Regional Council also needs to invest more in environmental science to implement the Government’s Essential Freshwater reform package.

Before the Council's Long-Term Plan is finalised, they’re seeking feedback on the level of investment the community wants, which will impact the pace of change for improving freshwater quality.

Click on the link to find out more and make a submission: www.trc.govt.nz/LTPconsultation/#freshwater

Submissions close on April 9. 

TRL4March 2021. Water flowing out of Lake Rotomanu into the Waiwhakaiho River it should be flowing the other way

Water flowing out of Lake Rotomanu into the Waiwhakaiho River - it should be flowing the other way!

Likewise, the New Plymouth District Council has its long-term plan out for consultation.

One of the issues Fish & Game will be submitting on is the need to improve water quality in Lake Rotomanu, an important local trout fishery and recreational asset.

The Council has proposed allocating $251,523 to replace the lake outlet culvert, but nothing to reconfigure the inlet from the Waiwhakaiho River to improve water flow into the lake.

Poor water flow since a 2009 drop in Waiwhakaiho riverbed levels has been a major reason for the lake’s ongoing algal bloom and extending the intake to take water from further upstream where there is more head is an obvious, though not inexpensive solution.

Links to the NPDC’s plan are:

https://www.newplymouthnz.com/Council/Have-Your-Say/Consultations-and-Surveys/Your-Home-Your-Say

and

https://survey.researchfirst.co.nz/SE/1/J3043A 

Tight Lines

Allen Stancliff, Taranaki Fish & Game.