At least one angler is in with a chance to win $10,000 after catching one of the special green-tagged fish released into Rotorua lakes for the start of the new fishing season.
Rotorua angler Mark Preece said he and his companions were deep trolling in the white cliffs area of Lake Tarawera on the opening morning of the fishing season yesterday when they hooked the green tag fish.
"It wasn't huge so we weren't overly excited - but excitement levels went up when we saw the green tag."
Back at the Stony Point boat ramp Mr Preece proudly displayed his green tag popped into a plastic bag for safe keeping.
"I'm hoping it's the ten grand fish," he said.
Fish & Game Officer Mark Sherburn said in statement to the Rotorua Daily Post the fishing party had come in very excited.
The Fish for Gold promotion centres on 30 green-tagged fish which have been put, ten apiece, into lakes Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina.
Numbers on the tags correspond to prizes contained in sealed and numbered envelopes and one of them contains the grand prize of $10,000.
The promotion runs until October 9.
Mr Sherburn said the fish he'd weighed and measured had generally been in "nice condition," two or three olds as expected, with the biggest by late afternoon around the 2.5kg mark.
"I'm quite pleased with how good the fish were looking," he said.
By mid-morning yesterday scores of boats were out on the three lakes which have re-opened with anglers undeterred by the moody overcast weather conditions.
One retired fishing guide showed off his catch of five well-conditioned fish, caught at first light harling in Lake Tarawera. Two of the biggest were handed over to visiting media to take downtown to CBK Rotorua Craft Bar and Kitchen where they were to be filmed being prepared for smoking.
Fish & Game Eastern Region Manager Andy Garrick said there had been some scattered showers but nothing major and virtually all anglers were happy with the day.
"There had been a good turnout with many folk spending the whole day on the lake."
On Lake Tarawera the ramp surveys indicated that on average the catch rate had been one fish per angler with Lake Rotoiti showing similar results.
By around 5.30pm the biggest fish caught appeared to have been a 3.6kg rainbow landed in Lake Rotoiti but several other fish had also topped the three kilo mark.
"Lots of anglers are fishing right through the weekend and Fish & Game officers will be continuing to inspect catches - so it will be next week before we have fully analysed all the data gathered," said Mr Garrick.