Tongariro River anglers have enjoyed the best season for many years, so anglers keep asking how long will it last? The signs are good – i.e.
Highest average trout size since 2006
This week Taupo Fishery staff decommissioned the fish trap on the Waipa Stream for the summer. The trap captures trout as they migrate upstream to spawn, allowing fishery staff to take useful measurements before releasing them to continue their journey.
The data collected from the fish is used in combination with other data sources such as lake productivity data and angler surveys, to create a snapshot of the fishery. This in turn helps inform decisions about fishery regulations.
Detailed analysis is not yet complete, but fish trap data confirms that the average size of trout this year is the highest we’ve seen since 2006.
This winter trout averaged 1.6kgs (3.5 lbs), which compares favourably with the previous year when they averaged 1.2kgs (2.6 lbs).
(Pinched from Taupo Trout Fishery – DOC’s fb)
Healthy smelt population good news for trout – Taupo fishery scientist Michel Dedual has begun analysis of the data collected from a recent echo-sounding survey, and early indications suggest productivity (smelt and zooplankton) is high this year, especially at the southern end of the lake.
Smelt are the main source of food for Lake Taupo trout, so it follows that high numbers of smelt will help trout achieve good growth rates and recover well from spawning.
Michel Dedual advises, the key to a healthy fishery is to maintain balance, which means trout numbers also need to be kept in check to avoid over predation, and an associated crash in the smelt population.
Anglers are encouraged to regularly harvest trout, and changes to fishing regulations this year increase the opportunities for anglers to do just that.
At this time of year smelt shoals are moving closer to shore as they prepare to spawn, and hungry trout will be in hot pursuit. This presents anglers with a great opportunity to ‘sight fish’ to trout from numerous beaches around the lake. Time to get the smoker ready!
Tongariro River anglers still ask SWMBO – if it is the best season for so long and the trout are in such good condition, then why did the Fishery Managers reduce the minimum size (from 40 cm to 35 cm) and increase the daily bag limit?
Image on right of a 7 pound Rainbow trout released in Judges Pool by John Porteous from West Island.
So if “early indications suggest productivity (smelt and zooplankton) is high this year, especially at the southern end of the lake.” (as indicated above) is there a connection between the excessive algae levels in Lake Taupo and improved trout condition? Interesting….