Fishery report: October 2014 update

Trout stomach full of smelt. Photo Dave Lumley
Trout stomach full of smelt


Lake Taupo

Harling at either end of the day is producing some nice fish for boat anglers and this should continue to be productive over the next couple of months. There are still a lot of fish in the top 20 metres and these are well within the reach of lead lines and downriggers.

Encouragingly the trout are already feeding heavily on smelt with the stomachs of some trout full of small smelt and others full of unusually large smelt. With lots of very well conditioned maiden fish just under the legal length at this stage in the season, the lake fishing looks promising again this summer.

Although still early days, jigging has been productive for some around the lake with some very nice fish being caught and it will only improve as we progress towards summer.

Tongariro

The overall estimated catch rate for the winter of 2014 on the Tongariro River was calculated at 0.29 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 3.5 hours) based on over 800 angler interviews conducted between May and October. This is down on the peak of 0.48 fish per hour observed during the winter of 2013 but is on par with the 30 year average (Figure 1).

graph showing angler survey data
Figure 1: CPUE (per angler) for the Tongariro River since 1985

Anglers fishing the Tongariro this winter rated the fish that they were catching at 6.3 out of 10, their catch rate at 6/10 and their angling enjoyment at 9.4/10.

Rainbows caught by anglers this winter averaged 487 mm and 1.36 kg (3 lb) with an average condition factor of 42. Overall, these rainbows are down on those caught last winter (509 mm and 1.6 kg) but are on par with those caught during the winter of 2012.

Tauranga Taupo River

Anglers fishing on the Tauranga Taupo River this winter had an estimated catch rate of 0.29 fish per hour based on almost 200 angler interviews which is down on the 15 year average of 0.36 fish per hour (Figure 2).

These anglers rated the fish that they were catching at 6.5/10, their catch rate at 6.4/10 and their angling enjoyment at 9.4/10.

Rainbows caught on the TT River this winter averaged 487 mm and 1.35 kg (3 lb) with an overall condition factor of 42.4 and were very similar to the fish being caught in the neighbouring Tongariro River. These fish were also down on those caught last winter (517 mm and 1.7 kg) but were very similar to those rainbows caught during the winter of 2012.

graph showing data for the tauranga taupo
Figure 2: CPUE (per angler) for the Tauranga Taupo River since 2000

Hinemaiaia River

Over 200 angler surveys on the Hinemaiaia River this winter produced an overall catch rate of 0.66 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 1.5 hours). This is on par with the overall estimated catch rate of 0.68 fish per hour calculated for last winter and above the 9 year average of 0.48 fish per hour.

The Hinemaiaia River certainly was the pick of the three rivers this winter and due to the good runs of trout throughout the season it was certainly popular with anglers. Hinemaiaia anglers rated the fish that they were catching this winter at 6.4/10, their catch rate at 7/10 and their angling enjoyment at 8.9/10.

Rainbows kept by anglers this winter averaged 486 mm and 1.2 kg with an average condition factor of 39. 

Waipa

A total of 606 rainbows were trapped in the Waipa Stream fish trap during October as the run continues to a build towards a peak this year (Figure 3). These rainbows averaged 476 mm and 1.24 kg (2.75 lb) with an average condition factor of 41.

So far the run is down on last year but it appears to be approximately one month later than expected.

It will be interesting to see whether the run peaks this year in November consistent with how the drift dive monitoring is shaping up or whether the run was simply smaller than expected this year.

waipa fish trap data october
Figure 3: Number of rainbow trout trapped in the Waipa Stream fish trap between June and October during seasons 2013 and 2014

Drift dives

Only two dives were completed during October due to frequent floods and poor visibility with counts completed on the Whitikau and Waiotaka streams (Figure 4).

The runs of spawning trout have been steadily building over the last three months with counts expected to peak as late as November this year.

Final dives will be completed across the other rivers during November.

graph showing trout counts by drift diving
Figure 4: Actual counts of spawning trout in the Whitikau and Waiotaka streams between August and October 2014


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