The whitebait season officially opened on Thursday and Hastings resident Lyndy Allen was ready for the big catch at the Ngaruroro River.

Allen decided not to fish at her usual spot at the Tukituki River because there was a rahui put in place by local iwi following the death of 75-year-old fly fisherman Timothy Langford.

"We do whitebaiting every year, been doing it for 10 years at the Tukituki. Out of respect we didn't do it this year."

It was slim returns — Allen arrived at noon at the Ngaruroro River, and by 3.30pm was still waiting to catch a fritter.

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"You only need one big catch, that can do you for the whole season."

She said the first day of the season was "a beautiful day in the Bay".

"Can't beat the Bay on a beautiful day, down at the river."