River fishing the Taupo Fishery
The rivers are continuing to fish well into November as the spawning runs are reaching their peak.
The fish are out spawning in the shallows and some good fishing can still be had amongst the braids and shallow runs especially downstream of the SH1 Bridge on the Tongariro River.
Despite a mixture of juveniles and spent fish, fresh run fish are still present throughout the rivers and can be caught right through until December.
The dry fly activity in the evening has been limited due to the recent cold and wet weather. Anglers can still expect some action with the evening rise as we progress into November however.
Having been surveyed since 1957, a large effort was made this winter by staff to interview as many anglers as possible in and about the Tongariro River especially after a very solid summer of fishing on Lake Taupo.
The overall estimated catch rate for 2013 was calculated at 0.48 fish per hour (1 legal sized trout every 2 hours and 5 minutes) based on 1,000 angler interviews.
The annual catch rate on the Tongariro has fluctuated over the last decade from 0.3 to almost 0.4 fish per hour and so 2013 was considerably higher and the highest out of the last three decades.
The catch rate continued to build as the season progressed with some exceptional fishing during August and September with the monthly catch rate peaking during October.
Catch per unit effort for the Tongariro River between 1985 and 2013
During each angler survey, any trout that have been caught and kept by anglers are weighed, measured, sexed and their maturity identified by the Ranger.
A total of 185 rainbows were measured by staff on the Tongariro this winter and these fish averaged 509 mm and 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) with an overall condition factor of 44.2. These fish were the longest and heaviest since 2006 and in much better condition than recent years.
It is encouraging to see the average size rise above 500 mm and the average weight exceed 1.5 kg after the low point observed during 2011.
Tauranga Taupo River
A similar pattern was observed on the neighbouring Tauranga Taupo River this winter with the TT producing an estimated catch rate of 0.7 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 1 hour and 25 minutes). This was the highest catch rate out of the last 14 winters and up considerably on the catch rates calculated for recent years.
The 33 rainbows measured during angler surveys averaged 517 mm and 1.7 kg (3.75 lb) with an overall condition factor of 43. Consistent with the Tongariro, these rainbows were also the longest and heaviest since 2006 and were the best fish overall when compared to both the Tongariro and Hinemaiaia rivers.
The Hinemaiaia River was also a stand out river this winter, having fished the best it has out the last 8 winters with an overall catch rate of 0.68 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 1 hour 28 min) based on 200 angler interviews. The 41 rainbows measured by staff averaged 505 mm and 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) with an overall condition factor of 43.8. These fish were on par with those caught during 2010 and it was encouraging to see the average weight exceed 1.5 kg this winter and the average length exceed 500 mm consistent with fish caught between seasons 2002 and 2008. This river was also very popular for fishing guides this year with almost 1 in 4 anglers encountered during angler surveys being guided.
Waipa fish trap
A total of 443 rainbows were trapped in the Waipa Stream fish trap during October with the trap being out of action for three full days due to flooding, mid month.
It is likely that a number of fish were missed while the trap was underwater but by trapping the spent fish on the way back downstream after spawning we will be able to get a more accurate indication of October’s run over the next couple of months.
The run is lower than expected given that the run during the same period last year reached 808 fish. The rainbows trapped during October 2013 averaged 499 mm and 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) with an overall condition factor of 42.8. These rainbows are approximately 38 mm longer and 280 g heavier than those trapped during October 2012 and in much better condition overall.
November should see the main runs taper off with approximately 200 fish expected through the trap.
Labour weekend saw a few keen anglers venture out onto the lake before the strong westerly winds forced many boaties to seek shelter.
Harling has been productive both early and late in the day especially in Stump Bay with a number of kelts now showing up after the recent flooding in the rivers during October.
Some very nice 2 year old fish have been caught during late October jigging on the lake with Wharewaka Point already producing legal sized fish to the jig at the northern end of the lake approximately 1 month earlier than usual.
This is encouraging news for the summer anglers with some very good fish expected again this summer.
Lake Rotoaira / Kuratau / Otamangakau
Simon Bowden and son Finn enjoying opening day on Lake Otamangakau
Lake Rotoaira has had a relatively quiet start to the season but has started to produce some small but well conditioned fish during October.
One of the 4,300 juvenile rainbow trout released one year ago at approximately 200 mm in length was caught 1 year on and had grown 180 mm over the past year and was in good condition.
This lake fishes well throughout summer and is definitely worth a visit. Positive reports have also been coming in from Lake Kuratau so far this season with some well conditioned browns in the 5-6 lb range being caught along with the usual 1 to 1.5 kg rainbows.
Angler numbers are seldom high on these lakes and can provide the angler with a change of scene with both lakes also great places to introduce kids to fishing due to their relatively high catch rates and the option of spin fishing.
Opening day on Lake Otamangakau was relatively busy with 21 anglers interviewed during late morning. The 5 rainbows weighed and measured by staff averaged 493 mm and 1.54 kg with the majority being classed as maiden fish (yet to spawn). Trolling was surprisingly effective on opening day and accounted for the majority of the fish.
This lake tends to fish better after Christmas when the weather improves and the insect life comes away. Always worth a visit on a nice day.
Remember to always Check Clean and Dry your gear before moving water catchments. Protect your waterways.