History of the fishery at Taupō
IntroductionThe Tongariro National Trout Centre has played an important role over the years in educating people about the fishery, and raising awareness among the public of the importance of freshwater conservation and the need to create a sustainable fishery resource.
It was April 1904 when the first rainbow trout was caught in the Taupō fishing district. It weighed 1.36 kg. Since then the popularity of this region as a prized trout fishery has increased, to the point where approximately 70,000 – 80,000 fishing licences are sold now every year. The fishery is world renowned for the quality and size of the fish caught and is particularly special in that it is a wild fishery – the population sustained by wild trout and not by hatchery stocking.
A fish trap was installed in 1963 in the Waihukahuka Stream which runs through the Centre, and this trap was operated until 1995. It was used to monitor the run of spawning trout and also to trap fish from which eggs were obtained for the hatchery.
The underwater viewing chamber looks directly into the Waihukahuka Stream and provides an excellent view of wild trout in their natural habitat. It was built by the Tūrangi Lions Club in 1983 and received further improvements to the structure in 2000. The viewing chamber still proves to be one of the most popular features of the Tongariro National Trout Centre.
The end result is the opening of The River Walk Visitor Centre. The centre is an outstanding educational display of antique fishing memorabilia, the life cycle of trout, the history of the fishery and what the Department of Conservation does to manage the trout fishery. It is hoped that a visit through The River Walk Visitor Centre, along with a tour of the rest of the complex, will impress on the minds of all visitors how important it is that we protect the rivers, streams and lakes in the Taupō district to ensure we have a beautiful environment for trout to live in and for all New Zealanders to enjoy.
But the progress to the complex does not stop here. The master plan for the Tongariro National Trout Centre includes a number of other projects which will be developed in the future.