Fishery report: September 2014 update

Pete Shepherd with caught fish. Photo: Mike Hill.
Pete Shepherd enjoying an afternoon out fishing

River fishing

Tongariro River

The overall estimated catch rate for Tongariro anglers during September was calculated at 0.38 fish per hour (1 legal sized trout every 2.5 hours) which is up on the 0.28 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 3.5 hours) estimated during August.

A total of 760 angler interviews between May and September on the Tongariro River has so far produced an overall estimated catch rate of 0.29 fish per hour but this should improve with the later runs when the October data is added at the end of the month.

With the run of rainbows still expected to peak in the rivers during October and November, anglers can still expect some very good catch rates over the next couple of months.

Rainbow trout kept by anglers fishing the Tongariro River during September averaged 481 mm and 1.3 kg with an average condition factor of 41.7 and are consistent with the fish trapped in the Waipa Stream.

The heaviest rainbow measured by the rangers this month was a hen measuring 540 mm and weighing 1.85 kg (4 lb).

Overall this year, Tongariro anglers rated the size of the trout that they were catching at 6.3 out of 10, their catch rate at 6/10 and their angling enjoyment at 9.4/10.

Tauranga Taupo River

Rainbows caught on the neighbouring Tauranga Taupo River (TT River) during September averaged 497 mm and 1.42 kg (3.1 lb) with a condition factor of 41.6. The heaviest rainbow trout weighed by staff this month on the TT River measured 530 mm and weighed 1.8 kg (4 lb).

So far this year (May to September), the overall catch rate for TT anglers based on 160 angler surveys has been estimated at 0.29 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 3.5 hours) and should improve further when data for October is added.

TT 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.

Hinemaiaia River

The Hinemaiaia River has had a very solid season with an overall estimated catch rate of 0.67 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 1.5 hours) based on over 200 angler interviews this year.

Overall, rainbows kept by anglers between May and September this year on the Hinemaiaia averaged 486 mm and 1.2 kg. Overall this year, Hinemaiaia anglers rated the fish that they were catching at 6.3/10, their catch rate at 7/10 and their angling enjoyment at 9/10.

The Hinemaiaia certainly had a good run of trout through it this winter with a real mixture of trout reported from small but well conditioned trout to some nice fish in the 4-6 lb range.

Waipa

The run of rainbow trout through the Waipa Stream fish trap (a tributary of the Tongariro River near Rangipo) increased considerably during September with 441 rainbows being trapped which is up on the 68 rainbows trapped during August. These rainbows averaged 481 mm in length and 1.2 5kg (2.75 lb) in weight with an average condition factor of 40.2. The heaviest rainbow was a hen measuring 555 mm and weighing 2.2 kg (4.8 lb) and was spawning for at least the second time.

Only 12 browns were trapped during September as their spawning run reaches an end and these browns averaged 555 mm and 2.1 kg (4.6 lb) with an overall condition factor of 44. The heaviest brown trapped this month was a hen measuring 635 mm and weighing 2.9 kg (6.4 lb) spawning for at least the fourth time and estimated to be 6 years old.

Overall, the rainbow trout run is one month later than expected given the trend of recent years and so we are expecting good numbers to come through the fish trap during October and November.

waipa trout trap data
Run of rainbow trout through the Waipa Stream fish trap during the months of June to September since 2011

Drift dives

Consistent with the increase in the number of trout passing through the Waipa Stream fish trap, numbers of spawning rainbow trout have been increasing in the upper reaches of the Lake Taupo tributaries. Densities of trout essentially doubled from August to September despite the relatively dry weather and the fish are running regardless.

So far this year, the counts are essentially half what they were last year but appear to be one month behind meaning that we should expect significant runs during October and November consistent with what we are observing at the Waipa Stream fish trap.

drift dive data 2014
Trout counted per kilometre during August and September 2014 on the Tauranga Taupo, Waimarino, Waiotaka and Whitikau

Lake Taupo

Several anglers have reported very large smelt visible in the lake and inside trout that they have been catching which is very encouraging.

The runs of spawning rainbows into the rivers certainly seem to be one month later than recent years based on our monitoring programmes but the fish could well be feeding up hard on these larger smelt and making the most of the good conditions in the lake at present before they spawn.

Harling first thing in the morning or during the evening is producing some nice fish while there still seems to be a lot of trout down to about 20 metres and well within the reach of lead lines during the day.

It is still relatively early for jigging but some anglers have been getting fish at the 20 m mark with Stump Bay in the south and Jerusalem Bay in the north producing some nice quality trout early in the season.


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