Rotorua anglers are trying to reel in more trout fishermen and women.

The numbers of adults taking up trout fishing and getting licences for freshwater fishing is decline, says Rotorua Anglers Association president Gavin Corbett.

''The decline by my judgement is because of the generation of fly fishermen and women are dying out and the younger generation don't seem to have the time.''

The association's primary objective in the last few years has been to recruit more people to the sport of freshwater fishing and run tutoring programmes as well hold sociable fishing weekends away.

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''We are doing everything we can to foster an interest in the sport. The new generation are just too busy - quite simply the idea of getting walking along a stream or rowing onto a lake to fish for trout is beyond many.... they'd rather be on their screens.''

There are physical and mental health benefits as ''all you have to do is focus on finding and retrieving,'' Gavin says.

Fly fishing at Hamurana. Photo supplied.
Fly fishing at Hamurana. Photo supplied.

It's a thinking sport, he says.

''You have to understand and experience the trout habitat, what they are feeding on, you have to find them, and present a fly that looks like something they are eating and deceive it into taking that fly.''

Fish & Game officer Matt Osborne says fly fishing is a popular pursuit with members of the Rotorua Anglers Club.

''But this form of fishing appears to be less attractive to new and up-and-coming anglers, and membership to clubs more generally (all activities) is in decline, with younger generations less likely to join as they can receive all the instruction and support required through online sources and forums.''

Matt says license purchase has been fairly consistent over the last decade with minor fluctuations.

The sport is huge in the Rotorua area. Matt says Rotorua provides a diverse range of angling opportunities as there are 13 lakes within the area 'providing a broad range of experiences due to their unique characteristics.

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'' For example, Lake Rotorua - the best known and accessible shallow lake - becomes warm during the summer period. Due to trout having a preferred temperature range of 15-17 degrees they head toward cool streams such as the Awahou and Hamurana Stream mouths where they are comfortable but come into range of shore-based anglers.

"Rainbow trout are present within all of the Rotorua lakes. Tiger trout (a brown trout/ brook trout cross) are present in Lake Rotomā only providing a boutique angling experience. Brown trout are present in Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti only, and these lakes produce some of the largest brown trout in New Zealand.''

About seven per cent of licences are sold to visitors or non-residents.

Rotorua Anglers Association has been going for more than 70 years and there are 106 members. About half are women.

Eastern Fish & Game has been trying to remove barriers to participation by lifting the monopoly of fly fishing only areas from the Rotorua lakes.

''By allowing more spin fishing, a natural pathway into the sport, it is hoped to get greater numbers of our youth interested and active in freshwater sports fishing,'' Matt says.