Lets get this bit out of the way first. I know there are plenty of people following what is going on with DOC and the fishery at the moment, so i’ll deal with this before my report.
My main beef, (apart from the Hinemaiaia being trampled to death) is the lack of Ranger presence on the Taupo Rivers. To be honest it is not even just the Waitahanui. I have fished the Tongariro on a pretty regular basis over the past ten years and have never been checked on that river either. However the Waitahanui is certainly being left alone and the people doing the illegal things within our fishery know this and are exploiting the lack of presence by our custodians, DOC. The reason this is being reported on and brought into the public’s eye, is because we as the fishing public are sick of DOC’s lack of patrolling our fishery and taking action against the very blatant activities going on out there. I don’t care how much they jump up and down trying to convince us they are looking after our fishery, anyone who fishes the Taupo Tribs know for a fact they are not out there regularly showing their faces. It is made obvious by the broad daylight offenses going on. When I say blatant. I mean like using snorkeling gear and a spear in the lower reaches of the Waitahanui, in mid June 100 meters up from the State Highway 1 bridge, in the middle of the day! These guys have no fear of being caught because this river VERY REALLY gets patrolled. In fact straight from DOCs records the Waitahanui was scheduled for 14 days of patrolling last season. Apparently they were on there more than the 14 days as there were a number of phone calls regarding poaching, really! In comparison, (and I am shocked at this figure too) the Tongariro was only scheduled for 31 patrols!
So my emails were quickly directed to the fishery’s manager, Kim Turia. I was expecting an email full of excuses and I was not disappointed. I was even shocked and bewildered at one of the comments. I have always been led to believe that the main reason the Waitahanui River was not patrolled was because of the land issues associated there. Rocking the boat was not in the best interest for DOC and so they left it alone, only targeting the lower reaches if and when they did show face. I had spoken to DOC about this in the past and most of the anglers who have fished the Nui know of this short fuse that could go off at any time. There is even a sign at the crossroads, (under the power lines) on Blake Road that directs anglers to walk along the Rivers edge instead of the easy walk along the 4WD track, owned by one of the Iwi. So with this information at hand and believing it was the main reason for DOCs lack of patrolling I mentioned it to DOC in my first email. The reply I received was that there are NO land issues associated with the Waitahanui and that my comment was nonsense. So I guess we are aloud to drive to the Limit pool after all! Don’t do it though guys as I have respect for their land rights. It’s just Kim needs to get out from behind her desk and check out her fishery.
So as usual their main excuse was lack of funds to have a full time Ranger on the rivers all the time. Apparently it is not just the Waitahanui they have to look after and think about. There are apparently 40 other streams and rivers + the lake itself that need protecting by DOC and so it is not realistic for a ranger to only patrol one river. This was the biggest load of Bull Shit I have heard and Kim should be ashamed at her attitude and backward way of thinking regarding this. Good grief if the Tongariro only gets 31 days and the other rivers only get a month between them, that leaves 10 months where rangers could be showing their faces, asking questions about the fishery, checking licenses, stopping crime, cleaning up the river banks and well….. acting like Rangers. I asked the question “what do the rangers actually do” because they aren’t on the rivers. I was sent a link to the Target Taupo magazine. Ummmm, what they produce magazines. Really im not concerned about counting Trout. I was the first to bring up the poor condition of the trout 7 years ago, well before DOC admitted there was a problem, because I was out there doing it. To have your finger on the pulse you have to be out there, not sitting behind a desk trying to act important.
I mentioned that I would be more than happy to become an honorary Ranger and give my time for free to look after the fishery, however apparently I am too aggressive and not the right person for the job. They are right, i’m not a pussy!
So what now? Well I have a reader prepared to go to the Minister in charge of these idiots, down in Wellington, I think thats a good idea. Ross from TRM recons I should go to Campbell Live and get them to look into it. When it comes down to it our money we spend on a seasonal license is not being spent correctly. The first priority DOC should have is the protection of the fishery. I have no idea how much protection those western bay streams and rivers get from DOC, the ones Kim proposed needed looking after too, but I do know the Waitahanui, the closest river to Taupo central gets next to nothing and for that alone DOC you should be held accountable. Maybe it is time for Fish and Game to take over the role as custodians of our fishery because DOC don’t have a clue!!
Onto the report.
We are having a good season so far. We have had rain when we need it and it hasn’t been too heavy to smash the fishery and damage the spawning grounds. It has just been enough to bring the levels up and move trout in. All the rivers that respond to this have had good runs go through. The Tongariro had a huge run enter the river Friday/ Saturday all anglers where happy.
The Tauranga Taupo had 15 cars in the car park last weekend when I drove past. OMG that would have been a mission to find a secluded spot away from the hordes. However the word out there was they were running and all you had to do was wait for a new fish to enter the pool or run you were fishing, it was that good. I still haven’t got around to fishing the TT and I really look forward to doing it soon.
The Hinemaiaia has been smashed by anglers, oh man it has had some pressure. I passed over the Bridge on Friday morning and counted 7 cars in the car park. I know it school holidays but wow.
I fished the Waitahanui with Alex Saturday and although it was a nice morning with good company we really struggled. In fact we didn’t see a fish apart from a small group in Gordon Williams. We walked through the middle reaches as well. Those two sections were empty and we gave it a good shot too. We need that westerly to pop up and then I am sure it will fill up again in no time at all. The rip looks great at the moment and I am really tempted to go and have a night fish when the moon goes through its dark faze.
Take care out there. If and when you see DOC let them know they are needed more often especially if they interview you. The more the public show their frustration at what is going on the sooner it will change for the better.