Winter harling at Stump Bay.
Catch rates on the Tongariro were lower than expected during August with an overall estimated catch rate of 0.25 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 4 hours).
Catch rates estimated for May and June were low before they increased to 1 fish every 3 hours in July before dropping back again during August.
Traditionally, catch rates steadily increase as we progress into spring and so this slight drop was unexpected.
Tongariro anglers surveyed during August rated the fish that they were catching at 6.6 out of 10, their catch rate at 6.3/10 and their angling enjoyment at 9.6/10.
Rainbows measured during angler surveys conducted during August on the Tongariro averaged 485 mm and 1.31 kg (2.9 lb) with an overall condition factor of 43.3.
Rainbows caught on the neighbouring Tauranga Taupo River averaged 463mm and 1.33kg while those caught on the Hinemaiaia averaged 478 mm and 1.34 kg.
Waipa Stream fish trap
Consistent with the lower than expected catch rates in the Tongariro, the run of rainbow trout through the Waipa Stream fish trap (tributary of the Tongariro near Rangipo) was down with a total of 36 rainbows and 19 browns trapped for the month.
During the same period last year, 266 rainbows were trapped along with 138 browns.
Rainbows averaged 485 mm and 1.25 kg and are on par with those caught in the Tongariro. Overall, these fish are on average 17 mm shorter and 350 g lighter than those trapped during the same period last year.
Drift dive counts commenced for the season during August with low counts encountered across the eastern tributaries which is again consistent with the other monitoring programmes.
Low counts in the Whitikau, Waimarino, Waiotaka and the Tauranga Taupo suggest that the main spawning runs have yet to really get underway.
Early August saw the NZ Fire Service fishing competition held on Lake Taupo and the local rivers with over 170 trout weighed in from the lake alone.
The nine browns weighed in averaged 565 mm and 2 kg (4.4 lb) with an overall condition factor of 40.
The 160 rainbows averaged 460 mm and 1.14 kg (2.5 lb) with an overall condition factor of 42.3.
Te Whaiau Stream fish trap
A total of 160 browns were trapped over the two month period and these fish averaged 543 mm and 1.95 kg (4.3 lb) with an average condition factor of 43.5.
Over 1,700 rainbows were also trapped and these fish averaged 557 mm and 2.2 kg (4.8 lb) with an overall condition of 45.6.
In comparison to last year’s run, the browns are on average 6 mm longer and 150 g heavier this season and in better condition overall
A larger improvement was also observed amongst the rainbows with this year’s fish on average 22 mm longer and 400 g heavier than those trapped last year and in much better condition.
The heaviest rainbow from the Te Whaiau trap was a rainbow jack measuring 660 mm and weighing 3.65 kg (8 lb) while the heaviest brown was a hen measuring 665 mm and weighing 3.5 kg (7.7 lb).
A smaller fish trap was also operated on the neighbouring Papakai Stream (19th consecutive year) and produced the heaviest fish overall - a hen measuring 765 mm and weighing an impressive 6.2 kg (13.6 lb).
So far the signs are encouraging for the coming summer with the Lake Otamangakau fishery opening on 1 October.
Remember to always Check Clean and Dry your gear before moving water catchments. Protect your waterways.