Section of stream closed to anglers

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Awahou Stream
Awahou Stream

A section of the Awahou Stream will be closed to anglers this season.

The closure is one of two changes to fishing regulations for the Eastern region, which will take effect from October 1 - the start of the new fishing season.

The Awahou Stream, a tributary of Lake Rotorua, will be designated 'closed waters' in the Angler's Notice, meaning trout fishing will be prohibited upstream of the Awahou's junction with Lake Rotorua.

The change comes after a submission to the Eastern Fish and Game Council from Ngati Rangiwewehi members who live alongside the stream and own the adjoining land and the private access road to the stream mouth.

Eastern Fish and Game Council had publicly notified the proposal and consulted with anglers prior to making the decision.

Eastern Fish & Game manager Andy Garrick said the closure would bring a number of benefits.

"Firstly, we recognise the local community's growing concern over social issues - including thefts, conflicts between individuals, and the presence of undesirable elements, including poachers."

The closure would help address what locals had described as health and safety issues, and make the stream a safer place for children and family groups, Mr Garrick said.

"The stream is now targeted by poachers every summer and has become a "hot spot" for us, sparking frequent callouts for our ranging staff.

"The closure to angling will mean anyone seen fishing there can readily be identified as breaching the regulations."

Mr Garrick said the trout would benefit as well.

"Closing this section of the Awahou Stream will provide a cold water refuge for trout stressed by Lake Rotorua's rising water temperatures in summer, which drive fish in search of cooler water.

"But it's important that anglers note they will still be able to access and fish Lake Rotorua downstream of the landmark pole, where there are ample fishing opportunities through the summer months," he added.

A spokeswoman for Te Maru o Ngati Rangiwewehi said nobody was available to comment.

The second change focuses on winter shoreline fishing on Lake Okataina. This area is to be extended by moving the western landmark pole further to the west (away from the lodge). 

This would provide further room and opportunity for anglers during the winter period when the lake levels were low, Mr Garrick said.

The angling regulation-setting process is undertaken annually, and allows for the Eastern Fish and Game Council to hear submissions and recommend alterations to the fishing 'rules and regs' to the Minister of Conservation who makes the final call.

A full review is carried out every second year.  

- Rotorua Daily Post

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