Reel Life January 2022

  • Eastern
  • 8/12/2021

Reel Life January 2022

Last month we reported stable lake surface water temperatures around 15 or 16 degrees Celsius.

No sooner than we went live with Reel Life, and the temperatures rocketed to over 20 degrees after a few days of hot still conditions.

This has slowed the early morning trolling and harling down, although if you are on the water at first light it’s still worth trailing a smelt fly and lure combo.Fish will still spend time at the surface chasing large smelt before heading deeper to temperatures they prefer.

Trout from our lakes like water temperatures in the mid-teens, (13-17 degrees). Being as they are cold-blooded, they need to move to meet their preferred temperatures. This is the sort of information that we’ll be covering at our ‘How-To’ boat fishing talk at Tarawera on the 8th of January plus much more! If that sounds like the sort of tips to help you catch more fish see below for the event details.

Keep an eye on your sounder as fish move deeper in December

Keep an eye on your sounder as fish move deeper in December

The upside is that warmer temps have seen fish beginning to congregate at 15m and more and being more cooperative to jigging than they were before the thermocline had formed. Deep methods like jigging, soft plastics and downriggers become much better options in summer when the fish are congregated in layers of cooler water.

Eastern streams are in super condition. A number of small rain events have kept flows good and temperatures down. Fish are plentiful with last winter’s post-spawners hungry and packing on weight as insect activity increases. Some early cicada song had been noted after the warm spell so here’s hoping for a bumper year fishing the big dries!

dry fly and dropper

dry fly and dropper rig

In the meantime, start with weighted nymphs slung under an indicator cast into the better, deeper pools and feeding runs and try a dry fly nymph dropper rig, as shown here if you observe insect activity or fish sitting high in the water column. With summer just around the corner be aware that fish will seek out sheltered areas during full sun. That can be as simple as an overhanging bush or tree or simply some whitewater in a riffle.

Good catch and release practice will ensure survival

Good catch and release practice will ensure survival

Remember too, as water temperatures rise through summer fish need extra special care if practicing catch and release. Limit how long fish are played by avoiding ultra-light tippets, use a quality landing net and wherever possible keep the fish in the water 100% of the time. If you must have that ‘grab and grin’ photo for the album, get your mate ready with the camera first, then lift the fish from the water for just a couple of seconds – done! Just because fish swim away doesn’t mean it’s a successful release. Stress accumulates over time and even if not fatal overhandling can make a trout very sick.

Waikaremoana news. Te Urewera have advised that access to Waikaremoana will remain closed until at least the end of January 2022. Check their Facebook page for further information.

Boat Fishing How To – Tarawera

We will be holding our Boat Fishing How to talk at Tarawera on Saturday January 8th 2022, 10 am at Stoney Point as pictured above. As always, it’s a basic tuition talk and demonstration for boaties who are new to trout fishing, or experienced anglers who are having trouble catching fish! The event lasts for a couple of hours and we finish by boning and smoking a trout. No bookings are needed, bring a fold-out chair or picnic blanket. In the meantime check out our Boat Fishing Brochure for some tips. Note, due to Covid alerts this event may be restricted to a maximum number of entrants or cancellation! Keep an eye on our Facebook for information or contact

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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