Bay of Plenty
All signs point towards Tarawera again leading the way when the season opens.
The Te Wairoa Fish Trap run of 900 mature fish was significantly higher than the 670 in 2011 and 777 in 2010. On top of this, Fish & Game's winter drift dive of the Tarawera outlet provided a good count of mature fish, indicating there had been good levels of escapement in the fishery, despite the fishing pressure of last year.
Also, the Fish & Game prediction of two-year-old fish averaging 53cm at Opening Day is better than the last few years, and should fuel even more interest in this lake.
Rotoiti is looking good too, but is a notoriously slow starter, and this year is not likely to be any different. The levels around the lakes are very high, in some cases making fishing and access difficult. Okataina can provide challenges when launching, but the fishing makes up for it. The two-year-old fish might not be quite as good as in recent years, but due to the high survival rate of three-year-old fish from last year, there could be a good smattering of big fish to make it interesting.
The million-dollar question is whether the Ohau Channel fires this Opening. Traditionally the biggest fish have come here, but last spring was a disaster. It could well come down to the timing of the smelt run through the channel. Good numbers of smelt and recovering fish have been observed in the channel, but it's just too hard to guess what will be there come Opening.
Lake Rotorua's water clarity has improved significantly this winter, and is already showing signs of benefiting overall fish condition. If the improved water quality endures through spring, the early season harling along the weed edges should really fire.
Opening morning can be a zoo on the ramps as everyone tries to be in the water for 5.00am. Take time beforehand to make sure trailer lights etc are working. Disaster stories from Opening morning are rife every year, and the highly pressurized situation at the ramp is not a place to have things go wrong!
Regulations have been relaxed to provide more opportunities for spin fishing around some stream mouths through until the end of March, so check the regulation guide before fishing.
Rotorua by Steve Smith, Upstream Services Limited
Ph 021 888669
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