Hundreds expected for fine weather opening Rotorua lakes

Published: Tue 29 Sep 2015 10:27 AM
Fish & Game: hundreds expected for fine weather opening Rotorua lakes
Hundreds of anglers who can swing Thursday off work or other commitments, are tipped to enjoy some sunny weather as the new fishing season kicks off on the Rotorua lakes.
Lakes Tarawera, Okataina and Rotoiti will all reopen on October 1 after a three month closed period over winter, with up to 1,000 anglers expected to try their luck.
Most of the fish caught at opening and in the early summer are typically younger fish around two years of age.
“Because many of these young fish were released in different months in line with our staggered programme, there will be a real spread in the size of the catch,” says Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne.
“Okataina will, we believe, continue the trend seen over the last few seasons and produce the largest fish,” he says, “but this doesn’t mean that large fish won’t be caught on the other lakes.”
Growing conditions for trout in Okataina had been very good in recent years.
“Combine this with lower angler pressure as a result of lake levels and boat launching issues, and you have a formula that means trout can grow to a larger size before they’re harvested.”
Two year-olds caught on Okataina are expected to average around 510mm, while Rotoiti fish will be around the 500mm mark, and Tarawera’s a little smaller at 490mm. “This is due to differences in growth conditions happening between the three lakes.”
Mr Osborne predicts Rotoiti will produce the second largest fish.
What methods will work best early in the season? Mr Osborne says early in the day, while it’s still dark or the light is coming up, anglers should fish fairly shallow.
“Fish will initially be nearer the surface feeding. When the light strengthens, anglers should fish deeper with lead lines, wire lines or jigging.
“If the day remains overcast, fish may remain closer to the surface in some areas, although high boat traffic after the three month break often sends them deeper looking for cover.”
Fish & Game officers aim to interview 800 to 1,000 anglers on Opening Day itself. Most anglers are typically found on Lake Tarawera, “a traditional opening destination with plenty of sheltered areas if surface conditions on the day are a bit rough.”
Officers who question anglers on their catches and weigh and measure fish, generally see up to 500 fishers on Tarawera, another 300 at Rotoiti and up to 150 at Okataina, where parking can be limited.
Mr Osborne says that with Fish & Game’s Fish for Gold promotion underway this year, he hopes to see more anglers fishing on Lake Rotorua too, where ample parking is available and there is plenty of room on the lake.
A total of 40 red-tagged fish have been released, 10 each, into lakes Tarawera, Okataina, Rotorua and Rotoiti for Fish for Gold. Anglers who have registered for the event may be lucky enough to win a grand, one-off prize of $25,000, or catch a fish carrying a prize worth $200.
“With the combination of a high catch rate and improvement in the quality of the fish over the past two seasons, Lake Rotorua is a great prospect.”
Osborne says the lure of the $25,000 prize will inject some new enthusiasm into the opening, and following 10 day period. But he emphasises that anglers must have a current licence and register to be eligible ( Entries are limited to the first 1,200 people to enter, and the deadline to register is September 30.
The introduction of new types of fishing licence has already been well received by anglers, says Mr Osborne. Holidaymakers are well catered for with affordable Short Break (3 day) and Long Break (9 day) options. “But we still suggest the Whole Season licence is the best bet for those who plan to fish hard all over the country.”
Mr Osborne says it’s timely to throw in a couple of reminders. “Please remember the basic rules of safe boating such as wearing a lifejacket – don’t be tempted to underestimate how rough it can get on the lake.”
We also urge boaties who are travelling between different North Island lakes to ‘check, clean and dry’ their gear between waterways to stop the spread of harmful organisms.
Trout Fishing in Rotorua Lakes
• New trout fishing season starts October 1
• Ohau Channel opens - fly fishing only
• Don’t forget to buy your 2015/16 licence – you stand a good chance of being asked to show it!
• Is that stream open? Check the Fish & Game regulations booklet (or visit the fishing regulations pages on for the spots you plan to fish
• Best methods for October opening – harling (shallow trolling) or deeper leadline trolling
• Best lakes? Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina have all had three months rest
• How do I start? Visit Fish & Game office for beginner-type brochures and easy spin fishing tips (Hatchery & Office 1130 Paradise Valley Road, Ngongotaha)
Trout Fishing - handy links…
Links to website information on trout fishing:
Getting started – Go to and click the map for regional fishing homepage. Click on ‘fishing’ link top right, then ‘getting started’ in the drop down menu. On the right, under the heading ‘fishing’ you’ll find lots more information on where to fish, fishing tips, etc.
Nine ways to fish! – It’s easier than ever to go trout fishing. There are nine different types of licence on offer. Find the one that best fits your budget, lifestyle, holiday plans, etc.
Where to fish – Go to and click the map for regional fishing information
Prepare and cook your catch – Go to and click the map for regional fishing homepage. Click on ‘fishing’ link top right, then ‘Prep and Cook Your Catch’ in the drop down menu.
Reel Life newsletter sign up – Go to and click the map for regional fishing homepage. Click on ‘fishing’ link top right, then ‘Reel Life fishing newsletter’ in the drop down menu.
Family fishing, young people – From the Fish & Game website’s homepage, click on ‘fishing’ link top right, then ‘young fishing fans’ for information on kids fish out days, fishing tips, etc.

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