Reel Life February 2022

  • Eastern
  • 12/01/2022

Reel Life February 2022

Summer heat is improving success rates for anglers fishing Lake Rotorua’s stream mouths.

The lake’s surface temperature has been sitting well above 20 Degrees Celsius since early in December and occasionally peaking up to 25 degrees.

Trout began congregating into the cool in-flowing streams and sitting at the stream mouths in December with numbers steadily increasing throughout January.

Exceptional catch rates have resulted for both shore-based fishers wading the stream mouths and boaties spinning and shallow trolling beyond the regulated 200m mark.

Preferred methods include fly fishing with a floating line and smelt patterns, small dark woolly buggers or small nymphs often suspended under an indicator, spin fishing with silver or black and gold Glimmys or shallow trolling with monofilament, Tassies and a smelt fly.

You need to locate the cooler water for best results – it isn’t hard to find, you’ll feel it easily through waders and be aware that the wind direction affects the location of the cold water.

Above Right: A "picket fence" of anglers at the Awahou Stream mouth.

Rainbows are plentiful, browns less common but larger, and arguably more rewarding. With big catch rates in the heat, it’s more important than ever to practice good technique when handling fish you intend to release. Keep them in the water 100% of the time, use a good quality landing net with a fine, soft mesh and minimize stress by landing them as quickly as practical.

Cicadas began to get very vocal early in the new year and the extended hot dry period has seen their number increasing massively. We get occasional plague cicada years and this is lining up to be one. Anglers are reporting excellent dry fly action on all of our streams and rivers.

Fishing on the deeper lakes has also benefitted from the hot weather. Increased temperatures increase trout appetite and this has resulted in the success of deepwater methods like jigging, downrigging and soft plastics.

Trout fishing rules up for review

Do you have any thoughts around improving the trout fishing rules? The ‘angling rules’ are reviewed every second season by the Eastern Region Fish and Game Council.

Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne says the ‘rules & regs’ for the 2022-23 fishing season are now being examined and submissions are welcome, “for all anglers and across all Eastern Region waters.”

“Our sports fishing regulations are about setting rules to ensure the sustainability of fisheries, but without unnecessarily restricting angler opportunities,” Mr Osborne says.

Fish & Game welcomes email submissions to

If you’d prefer to write, send your comments to Eastern Region Fish & Game, Private Bag 3010, Rotorua 3046. The deadline is 20 March 2022.

The proposals for the 2022-23 season, will go before a meeting of the Eastern Fish & Game council in June 2022. If adopted, they would come into effect from 1 October next year.

Boat Fishing How To – Tarawera

A chunky Tarawera rainbow caught at depth

A chunky Tarawera rainbow caught at depth.

Our Boat Fishing How-to talk at Lake Tarawera on the 8th of January was well received by anglers. We covered some basic fish biology, fishing method and techniques to target fish and induce strikes from fussy ones! If you missed it, have a look at this publication which is also available through licence agents and the Fish & Game office:

Datawatch tagged trout can now be entered online. Entries go into the draw to win one of 20 free whole-season fishing licences:

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:

Tight Lines

Mark Sherburn, Eastern Fish & Game Officer.

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