The hunt for a trout worth $10,000 in the Rotorua lakes has ended without the big prize being struck - but three anglers have welcomed $200 worth of fishing gear each as their reward for catching special green-tagged trout.
In a press statement to the Rotorua Daily Post, Eastern Fish & Game said two of the winners, Rotorua locals Marcel Schweizer and Mark Preece were at their headquarters for the prize draw on Sunday.
The Fish for Gold promotion focused on 30 green-tagged fish - 10 fish apiece had been released into three lakes - Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina. Three anglers caught qualifying green-tagged trout - one from each lake.
"Twenty-nine of the green tag numbers have a $200 voucher or tackle attached, but only one has the big $10,000 cash prize," said Fish & Game Eastern Manager Andy Garrick.
Numbered envelopes containing vouchers were opened to reveal the winning green tag number was fish number 13 - attached to a trout released into Lake Okataina.
Angler Mark Preece told the gathering the green tag trout was the first they caught deep trolling in the white cliffs area of Lake Tarawera and "the excitement level went up" when they noticed the green tag.
The second angler to catch a green tag trout, Marcel Schweizer says his experience was similar, with the fish also caught deep trolling but in Lake Okataina.
He landed tagged fish number 14 - one off the big prize.
They thought at first the tag was their lure and they'd foul hooked the fish in the back, and were "blown away" to see it was in fact one of the green tagged fish.
The third angler, Brian Howard from Napier wasn't able to attend, but also won $200 worth of tackle for the fish he caught in Lake Rotoiti.
"That's quite a good bonus for going fishing," Mr Howard said by phone.
The consolation prizes were provided by local companies Outdoorsman Headquarters and Kilwell.
The promotion ran for nine days from opening Day on October 1 to October 9, with more than a thousand people entered.