The first day of the trout season was like shooting fish in a barrel for eager anglers who headed out to the Rotorua lakes over the weekend - but not all were legal size.
The season started on Saturday at Lakes Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera while all other waters opened on Friday.
Eastern region Fish & Game manager Andy Garrick said catch rates were higher than normal as trout had been largely undisturbed for the past three months.
"Most boats that have been spoken to have caught fish. And catch rates seem to be quite high."
On Lake Rotoiti, "a number" of trout had weighed in at more than 3.5kg, which was good news, Garrick said.
As of midday on Saturday, there had been no issues with non-compliancy.
While conditions were cloudy and "a little cool", Garrick said boats were staying out on the water longer compared to previous years due to the calm conditions.
"People have indicated they are pretty pleased to be out, and there have been no issues whatsoever," he said.
"The big difference this year is that we haven't had the squalls and gusty conditions like previous seasons. That is really encouraging."
The number of boats on Lake Tarawera was "a few less" than last year, which Garrick thought could be due to travel restrictions out of Auckland.
Garrick said Fish & Game officers out and about were "really enjoy interacting with happy anglers".
"It is a very positive time because those three lakes have been shut down for three months."
The opening day was slightly different this year under alert level 2 restrictions - with officers interacting practising safe social distancing, and QR codes located at all boat ramps.
Angler Paul Gellert hit the water at roughly 6.30am on Saturday, returning back to land a few hours later with one trout in tow.
The Morrinsville resident headed out on Lake Tarawera and said the conditions were fine and the water wasn't too busy with other fishermen.
"It was pretty reasonable; I have definitely seen it worse."
However, he was disappointed by the size of the fish he caught and returned five trout as they were too small.
"The size is a bit pathetic so far, so hopefully we will find some big ones somewhere."
Elsewhere, Fish & Game acting chief Dianna Taylor said the new season was time for anglers to connect with nature and escape the stresses of everyday life.
"We are reminding Kiwis of all the benefits of being in the outdoors. Fishing is one of those activities that lets you take a moment, appreciate the beauty of Aotearoa and get some kai for the family".
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has reminded those using the Tarawera boat ramp to check, clean and dry their gear every time they move between waterways.