The secret life of Lake McLaren's trout could soon be uncovered thanks to a fresh shipment of the sportfish from Rotorua.
Fish and Game released the 1500 trout - 1000 rainbows and 500 browns - into the calm waters of the picturesque lake and the nearby Ruahihi Canal tonight as part of a yearly restocking programme.
One thousand of the fish have been tagged to provide insights into their growth, survival and the success of the release.
The lake and the canal are popular trout fisheries in the region, but limited natural spawning habitat means stocking is necessary to boost the population.
Fish & Game officer Mark Sherburn said there was no robust data on the location.
"Tagging, in addition to the normal fin marking, provides better-quality information about the fishery," he said.
Lloyd Gledhill, who oversaw tonight's release, said the tags would also provide an insight into where the trout travel in the watercourse.
Tagging fish was common in Rotorua, and, as a result, it was regarded as the most carefully managed fishery in New Zealand, the Fish & Game officer said.
Anglers who catch tagged trout and report it online go into the draw to win a fishing licence for the following season. The tags are yellow and positioned on the left side of the fish near the dorsal fin.
Tauranga Anglers Club president Rebecca Taylor said the release had become an annual family occasion, with many families taking part.
"The Lake and canal are right on Tauranga's doorstep and provide a safe resource for kids to get into fishing ... something Tauranga Anglers Club is keen to promote "
The fish released tonight were yearlings between 150-200mm long. The fish, sourced from Fish & Game's trout hatchery at Ngongotaha, were transported in a fish tanker and released via a delivery pipe at the rear of the truck.
The rainbows were bred from Lake Tarawera stock and the browns from Ngongotaha stock.