Brown trout bounty in Waikato waters
'These trout are just sitting in the river'ELTON SMALLMAN
Rotorua and Taupo continue to draw trout anglers from around the world but a Waikato fishing expert says they are bypassing a region that is full of trophy potential.
Michael Lynch, the organiser of the lower Waikato trout fishing competition, said the Waikato offered ample opportunities for keen anglers.
"They all head off to Rotorua and Taupo and go chasing big browns and big rainbows and yet these brown trout are just sitting in the river year after year," he said.
He said many anglers would drive past kilometres of trout-filled waterways and spurn the Waikato for more idyllic settings.
"They sort of ignore it and say there are not going to fish that dirty water. In actual fact, some of the rivers in Rotorua aren't that much cleaner than in our area and Rotorua lake has a real algae bloom in summer - it's not that great."
Mr Lynch and a group of good, keen Waikato anglers set up the annual competition in 2009 to promote the local fishery and had thousands of dollars in prizes up for grabs, but he said there were some who were opposed to it.
"We do get stonewalled by some of the anglers' clubs," he said.
"They don't tend to like competitions like this where we are taking fish out of the river, but we feel the fish quality hasn't gone down so there is nothing wrong with having a short, sharp little competition."
Mark Bridger brought children from his outdoor adventure holiday programme to get a bite at Hammond Park in Hamilton and taught them water safety, knot tying and fishing etiquette.
"It's definitely an under-used resource. It's right here and the more people that get out an use it the better it is for the district," he said.
New Zealand representative fly-fisher Rob Vaz said the Waikato fishery had huge competition with Taupo and Rotorua on its doorstep but the potential was there.
"I've fished the Waikato for years and years and years and I know most spots, but to be fair it is better when it heats up in summer."
He said myriad other rivers and streams throughout the district could offer healthy fishing, and could do with better management.
"There's always this debate about water quality and how dairy has affected things and I've definitely seen a little bit of a decline over the years in some of the fisheries.
"Catch and release is always good ... and pressure - not going back and hammering the same water all of he time but mixing it up."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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