Someone fishing on Lake Okataina
Image: Eastern Fish & Game | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


At dawn on Thursday October 1 an armada of watercraft is expected to descend on lakes Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina, marking the start of the trout fishing season.

Date:  24 September 2020

The season opening is cause for celebration among anglers and 2020 is no exception, says Fish & Game officer Matt Osborne. 

“Opening is a great time for families to come together, enjoy the lakes and catch a trout or two in the process. It’s good for the soul,” he says.

Fish & Game staff will be monitoring the fishing and conducting licence checks, while rangers and biosecurity staff from Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Department of Conservation (DOC) will be ensuring biosecurity measures are adhered to and reminding visitors to abide by the “Leave no Trace” principles of not cutting down trees, toileting appropriately and removing your rubbish.

Biosecurity staff from Te Arawa Lakes Trust will be monitoring vessels at boat ramps. Anglers are asked to ensure they have checked their fishing apparatus for pest weed fragments and fish eggs, clean the gear to kill any microscopic spores and eggs and then leave the equipment to dry before transferring to a new waterway, says Biosecurity officer Lucas McDonald.

“Catfish and multiple weed species are already present in particular Rotorua lakes and have a detrimental effect on both native fish and trout. It’s vital that we don’t exacerbate the situation by introducing new pests to the region like didymo or Koi Carp or cause the further spread of pests already here.”

Anyone found guilty of breaching the Biosecurity Act 1993 could be convicted and fined up to $5000.

DOC Supervisor Carrie Abbott says everyone wants anglers to have a safe and enjoyable time on the lakes.

“The opening of the fishing season is a positive event for anglers and it’s important that everybody plays their part in making it a success by behaving responsibly and respecting other lake users.”

Unfortunately, last year there were reports of people trespassing on private land, excessive drinking, littering and lighting fires which have the potential to get out of control and cause tragedy.

“The opening of the fishing season on October 1 is an event New Zealanders look forward to. By educating ourselves of the few simple measures we can take to all do our part, we will be ensuring the next generation get to enjoy this incredible resource like we do,” Abbott says.

Boat users can access toilets and camp at Hot Water Beach and Humphries Bay.

COVID tracer QR codes will be placed at all DOC campgrounds for contact tracing.

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