Fishery report: November 2014 update

Rainbow trout caught jigging in Lake Taupo. Photo by Dave Lehndorf.
Lake Taupo rainbow trout caught jigging by Dave Lehndorf and friends

Waipa trap

A total of 364 rainbow trout were trapped during November at the Waipa Stream fish trap (a tributary of the Tongariro near Rangipo).  Almost three quarters of the rainbows trapped were female. Overall, these fish averaged 484mm in length and 1.3 kg (2.9lbs) in weight with an average condition factor of 41.6. The heaviest rainbow trapped this month was a hen measuring 550mm and weighing 2kg (4.4lbs) with a condition factor of 43.4 and spawning for at least the second time. The run of rainbow trout peaked during October with 90% of the run so far this year occurring between September and November.  

Waipa Trap data for June to November 2014
Monthly totals of rainbow trout trapped in the Waipa Stream fish trap between June and November 2014

Drift dives

Counts of spawning trout in the upper reaches of the rivers and streams concluded in November for another season. Counts made in the Whitikau Stream peaked during November which is consistent with previous years. The peak count was down but similar to that made during the winter of 2011. Although counts could not be completed during October on the TT and Waimarino due to poor visibility after rainfall events, it would appear that the runs in these rivers peaked over September and October which is consistent with the Waipa trap data. Most of the trout counted during November were partly spent and in the process of spawning amongst the shallows and tails of pools. The small and frequent rainfall events over the last couple of months have pushed a number of spent fish back to the lake where many will recover over summer. Those fish that have remained will provide some sport for anglers fishing above the winter limits now that the upper reaches are open as of 1 December.

Month Tauranga/Taupo Waimarino Waiotaka Whitikau
August 71 69 42 2
September 273 138 69 15
October - - 182 52
November 207 180 158 63

Table: Drift dive counts in four rivers and streams within the Taupo District between August and November 2014 (trout per kilometre).

Lake Taupo

A fishing competition held during the middle of November at the southern end of Lake Taupo produced some good conditioned trout. Rainbows weighed in averaged 443mm and 1kg (2.2lbs) with an overall condition factor of 42. There has been a lot of comment from anglers about very fat and well conditioned trout being caught just over the minimum legal length of 400mm and these fish will continue to grow by 1mm per day as we progress through summer feeding predominantly upon smelt.

Many of the trout were caught using lead lines meaning that a lot of the fish are still feeding in the top 20 metres of water. The fish should remain in the top 20m during December until the boat traffic pushes the fish deeper over the busy Christmas and New Year periods. Harling has been very effective during the change of light at either end of the day with some very nice fish caught in Stump Bay in particular. Jigging has started to improve and will continue as the water warms up and a thermocline develops. Jigging between 20 and 30 metres should be productive during early December.


Several lake anglers are reporting large smelt in the stomachs of trout that they are catching and DOC are keen for anglers to keep any particularly large smelt for further analysis. Ideally these larger smelt should be washed in fresh water before being placed in a zip-lock bag and frozen. Please call 027 290 7758 to arrange collection. 

Remember to always Check Clean and Dry your gear before moving water catchments. Protect your waterways.



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