Reel Life March 2023

  • Eastern
  • 15/03/2023

Reel Life March 2023

Cooler mornings have indicated the start of autumn, and while few of us are actually looking forward to the cold of winter, it is a time when trout are in prime condition.

Shoreline fishing for returning spawners at the Rotorua lakes will begin to come on from April. Any stream mouth or hatchery release point or shoreline where lake-edge spawning takes place will produce results with mornings and evenings through to midnight being the best times. Wet weather - as if we haven’t had enough of that - is very stimulating to mature rainbows so pick your fishing days by keeping a close eye on the forecast. The very best time is when the rain starts and after a clear, fine period. Spawning runs will occur up to at least the end of August on the stocked Rotorua lakes traditionally peak in June and July.

If you haven’t fished the shoreline for spawners before, the setup isn’t too complicated. A floating or intermediate line is the best choice, a leader of about 9’ and 3kg breaking strain, or 4-5kg at night. Traditional night flies like a Craig’s night time still work well after dark, and these are usually used in tandem with a lumo doll fly or something tied with a touch of lumo to enhance its fish attracting power!

The Ngongotaha stream, although having received its share of high water, has been fishing well. Use small nymphs and glo bugs when clearing and large wet flies (streamers), such as Wolly Buggers when dirty. Brown trout migration for spawning commences in April and will go on for several months. The big Ngongotaha browns aren’t easy to temp, and we often receive comments of fish being ‘doggo’ in the bottom of pools. Keep putting nymphs in front of their noses but make sure you are at the right depth. If you're not touching the bottom occasionally, then you aren’t getting deep enough. If you Roger Bowden Okataina spring 22 7lbscan’t get a reaction, leave them to settle for a while and come back to them – if they are spooked, it’s amazing how well a little rested time will change their mindset. Leaders need to be sturdy because browns don’t fight fair! Wise brown trout can be leader shy, so experiment with tippet weights until you find what produces results but enable you to land fish. Generally, I’m not a big fan of fluorocarbon, but its hard exterior surface when compared with that of monofilament can help on big toothy brown jacks.

The Rotorua lakes summer shoreline fishing wasn’t up to its usual high standard because of the cool, wet conditions however the Waiteti stream mouth has fished exceptionally well during March. Expect the other stream mouths to produce opportunities right through winter.

Rotoiti fish have been solid and present between 20 and 35m. Hatchery-reared 2¾-year-old fish (Lp and Lpad fin marks) are coming in at up to 3kg, hungry and packed with smelt as they put on even more condition before spawning. Tarawera and Okataina have also both been producing quality fish.

Hatchery Fish Releases

Fish release RotoitiOur autumn liberations are now well underway. We released over 5,000 fish to Rotoiti, Tarawera and Okataina in March. Further liberations will be carried out in April and May.

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 officer.

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