Rotoiti and Okataina ‘best performers’ of Rotorua lakes on trout opening

  • 20/10/2015

Lake Rotoiti fished “way ahead” of normal on Opening Day, going by Fish & Game’s surveys of hundreds of anglers who turned out for the start of the new fishing season.

Roger Bowden 0The new season for lakes Tarawera, Okataina and Rotoiti, which close for three months over winter, began on October 1 in warm sunny conditions.

Eastern Fish & Game has released some early findings from interviews with around 800 anglers who were spoken to, mainly as they returned to boat ramps.

Pictured: Rotorua angler Roger Bowden with a nice Lake arawera rainbow.

Staff and volunteers, including University of Waikato post graduate students and Department of Conservation officers, measured and weighed more than 760 fish – some tipping the scales at over five kilos (12 pound).

Eastern Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne says that Lake Rotoiti “performed really well, way ahead of usual, with harvest rates up by as much as 20%.”

Okataina also fished well on Opening Day.

“Rotoiti two year-olds (the size most commonly caught at opening) were slightly heavier, Mr Osborne says. The average size was 49cm and 1.52kg.

“The best fish came off Rotoiti weighing in at 5.5kg but there were some unconfirmed rumours of a similar fish caught on Okataina.”

Both lakes had seen good growing conditions for the fish, he added.

On Lake Tarawera the fishing had been hard with fish size down slightly compared with the 2014 opening.

“We expected the fish to be smaller as a consequence of tweaking our staggered release strategies, which meant some of the fish had been in the lake for up to three months longer than others,” Mr Osborne says. The growing conditions in Tarawera had also been poor over the past year.

“Next year, with further tweaking of this strategy, we are hoping to see better fish from all the lakes.

“There are still things we can do better to manipulate all the factors for the benefit of our licenceholders.”

Mr Osborne says that the Rotorua lakes provide “lots of options” for anglers, and if the El Nino weather pattern kicks in as predicted and produces some still warm summer days, the shoreline fishing in particular will be “going off.”

Anglers are reminded that Lake Rotorua has the highest catch rate of the region’s lakes, and angling around the stream mouths and trolling lures behind boats will get results.

Fish & Game says it still has a large amount of data gathered on Opening Day to process, so it will be some time before a final picture of catches and fish sizes can be gained, and comparisons made with previous openings.

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