Reel Life February 2023

  • Eastern
  • 18/02/2023

Reel Life February 2023

While we make every effort to focus the content of our monthly Reel Life on positive opportunities around the region, it’s impossible to ignore the difficulties faced currently on the East Coast and Gisborne areas, and extending into the Hawkes Bay Fish & Game region. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. When the time is right, we will conduct assessments of the rivers and streams of the region to establish what, if any, action can be taken to aid the recovery of these world-class fisheries.

While the rest of the North Island has been adversely affected by the cyclone, the Rotorua lakes continue to fish superbly! Tarawera, Rotoiti, Okataina and Rotoma have produced some excellent catches of fish and the colder (less warm) weather patterns have encouraged fish to feed nearer the surface and be accessible from the shoreline, which doesn’t always occur at this time of year.

Spin or fly fishing shorelines on lakes Okaro and Rerewhakaaitu have been effective and small smelt flies, damsels nymphs and traditional wee wets have all been working.

whakamaru brown

A beautiful Whakamaru brown trout.

A recent trip to Lake Whakamaru, one of the Waikato hydro lakes, proved productive for a couple of local anglers. Small drift boat methods, with nymphs suspended under an indicator, dry fly and dropper or a team of wee wets all work well here. Browns and rainbows up to about 1kg are common, and hard-scrapping Rudd will also take a small fly. We have a useful brochure on fishing the hydro lakes which can be downloaded here.

The Ngongotaha Stream, like many, has had its share of high water and refuses to clear fully. However, the fishing has proven excellent for anglers willing to adapt their approach. Coloured water might prevent upstream sight fishing but the migratory rainbows and browns of Lake Rotorua’s tributary streams all respond to big wet flies fished down and across on sinking lines. Wolly Buggers, sometimes tied in oversized garish colours will stimulate a response and the action if you hook a big brown can be thrilling.

softbait2A reminder. At the start of the season, scented soft-bait lures became allowed for use in the Eastern Region (except areas designated for fly fishing only). Tackle retailers are now stocking a nice selection of trout-sized softbaits and their effectiveness, scented or unscented, is in little doubt – plus anglers are enjoying this as an alternative method.

New opening dates for lakes Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera

At a recent meeting of the Eastern Fish & Game Council, it was resolved to change the opening date of the trout fishing season for lakes Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera back to the original date of 1 October.

Back in 2020 the Council made a change to the regulations, moving the 2021 opening day from it’s traditional place in the calendar on the 1st October to the first Saturday in October.

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:

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

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