Anglers 'need to change methods' to catch trout

By John Lazo-Ron

The fish are out there but anglers are just not pursuing them the right way, says a Taupo fishing store owner.

The state of the Taupo fishery has been a major talking point since many local anglers got together in April to express their concerns about a gradual but noticeable decline in fish in the Taupo district.

The meeting was organised by the Taupo Fishery Group after much discussion from local anglers about the poor state of the fishery over the past five years.

A steering committee was appointed to drive their views to organisations such as the Department of Conservation, which had authorised interests in the lake.

At the time, DoC acknowledged that Taupo was doing it pretty tough when it came to the fishery, but also said there were still good quality fish in the lake despite catch rates being low.

The response was a theory many local anglers rubbished.

Five months later, DoC says there have been mixed signs of recovery in the Taupo fishery, with numbers of spawning fish starting to show up throughout the Tauranga Taupo River and that it should continue over the next couple of months, especially after some rain. DoC also said anglers were definitely seeing signs of a recovery with many reporting an improvement in fish condition.

However, mixed opinions remain on the state of the fishery.

Greenstone Fishing owner David Bedford said he agreed things were improving, but said the fish had always been in the waters - anglers were just not being clever in how to go about catching them. He said those who had changed their methods of fishing to suit the season were catching fish.

He conceded the fish had been smaller than average recently, but he said that was largely due to an unusual fishing season causing a fluctuation in the traditional trout food source - smelt. However, he said it didn't mean there were no fish out there.

Mr Bedford runs a fishing competition at his store once a month looking for the heaviest fish. He said July and August's winners were 4.3kg and 3.6kg rainbow hens both caught on the lake, again proving there were quality fish in the lake.

He said anglers who weren't catching fish and were moaning, needed to approach others who were putting the effort in to catch them. "Those who know how to catch fish and where to catch fish are prepared to put a bit of study on catching the fish instead of just throwing a line in the water and expecting a 6lb fat rainbow hen to jump on the end of their fly. The ones that are putting effort, time and study into it are catching fish," he said.

Another local angler, who didn't want to be identified, said although he believed there had been signs of improvement, the state of Taupo fishery was still at a "poor level".

"I would say it is improving, but it hasn't been the same for quite a number of years," he said.

"Even though DoC may say it's improving, it's only improving on its lowest level which is still pretty poor. In comparison to previous years, it's never recovered to what it was."

Taupo Fishery Group co-founder John Barnes wouldn't comment until draft plans on the issue came out next month.

DoC could not be reached for comment.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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