The first day in October is, to a trout fisher, the year's most important day.

The opening of the new trout season is eagerly anticipated, no more so than those who venture to the Rotorua lakes.

It's about returning to the great outdoors, catching up with old friends and families, reminiscing trips of the past and perhaps remembering old friends.

The lakes, with their relatively calm waters and easy access to amenities are an ideal place to introduce youngsters to the joys of boating and the thrill of catching a feisty rainbow trout.

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Fish & Game encourages family participation with family licence. Mum and dad, or grandparents can fish with up to four children or grandchildren on the same licence.
A traditional Scottish pipe band launches the evening before at Lake Tarawera's The Landing.

Fish & Game is offering a $10,000 plus tagged trout promotion. It's free to enter, all anglers need to do is enter online and have a current fishing licence.

"It's about inspiring people to get their licences and get out there fishing with the possibility of ending up with something extra special in the form of a winning fish," Eastern Fish & Game's Manager Andy Garrick says.

"Thirty specially tagged trout will be released into lakes Rotoiti, Okataina and Tarawera (10 per lake), just before opening day, each fitted with a uniquely numbered white coloured tag.

One will carry a $10,000 prize." There will be an outboard motor up for grabs, and consolation prizes of tackle packages worth $200 each. Local businesses Telfer Marine, The Outdoorsman Headquarters and Kilwell sponsored these additional prizes.

Fish & Game Officer Matt Osborne says Tarawera tends to be the most popular at opening.
Most trout will be two-year-old fish as they are the most abundant group above the minimum size of 35cm.

Catch rates are often good early in the season following the three-month rest from boat fishing traffic.

"We expect that warmer water temperatures in the lakes over most of winter will have produced better-than-average winter trout growth, so our staff are looking forward to seeing the size of fish compared with last season."

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Eastern Fish & Game has offered tips on techniques to use on opening day. Fish & Game Officer Mark Sherburn says that initially, and before the sun gets on the water, the fishing is often slow but picks up during the first few hours of daylight.

"Shallow trolling with a 'Tassie' and a smelt fly is a successful way to begin. If it's sunny and there's lots of boat traffic, expect the fish to move a little deeper.

A little boat preparation is also urged before making it to the boat ramp.

"It's a good idea to do a service on your motor especially if it's been left dormant over winter. Fresh fuel in the tank will help the motor tick along, you need to ensure your navigation lights are working if you plan to be out early or late, and check that your emergency equipment is up-to-date and in good order too"reminds Mr Sherburn.

Fish & Game say it's timely to remind anglers about issues concerning pest species.

Catfish are present in lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua.

The old check, clean and dry is still a useful, practical way of minimising the risk of transferring pest plants and animals.