In my opinion our fishery is in decline and in serious trouble.
I have never had to struggle to take home a decent trout in my 35+ years of fishing Taupo. The only time I encountered a problem was six years ago when the food chain broke down and we had all those skinny horrible fish entering the rivers due to the lake not mixing the year before. However that year shear numbers of fish made up for the quality and because you were catching so many, sooner or later you came across a decent trout for the table. This year however it has been a struggle to hook up at all and when you do the size is WAY down! At this time of year all the rivers should have excellent numbers of trout in them. Fresh ones going up and the older spawners coming back down, August is a great month to get a trout for the table. If you happened to throw in some high water levels with accompanying wind, then that was a winning combination and you were sure to have a blast on ALL the rivers. I would put money on the fact that when DOC release, (if they dare) the stats from their fish traps, we will find the average size is less than 3 pounds with the size being down and the numbers down with it. We are past the “tell tale year” for the fishery, to see if it bounced back from the Mixing crises in the lake, that was two years ago. All seems to be well with the food chain, the trout are not skinny and they have plenty of zip, what we have now is a population of small trout. I believe the cause of this is due to the stupidity of DOC, (yes Kim, I am DOC bashing again) in relation to the introduction of Jigging, Down-Rigging, glowbugs and poaching. All of these mentioned practices have targeted the large mature trout that breed, large trout! I know for a fact that Jigging and Down-Rigging has been responsible for the demise of large fish in the western bays region because I have friends who in the past used this method and were blown away at the success at which it proved. Where in the past they would certainly catch trout Harling and using lead lines, all of a sudden they were catching 5 times the trout and MUCH larger ones at that. If the lake could sustain this onslaught then cool, so be it, no problem but it obviously can’t and to be honest anyone who fishes the area,or who spends time in the fishery like DOC do, should have realized this was going to be overkill and deplete our stock of large breeding fish. We are not like the Rotorua lakes governed by Fish and Game, we do not get our lake stocked with “R” strain trout who then breed off spring capable of growing huge, quickly. We have been left with small trout with small eggs who produce small babies. The fact DOC can’t see this happening in front of their eyes, (remember the fish traps our license fee pays for), then in my humble opinion they should piss off and let Fish and Game have a crack at looking after our fishery. I like hundreds of other anglers are not concerned about “The Wild Fishery” status, I want to be catching 8,9 and 10 pound trout on every outing I venture into, not getting excited about a 4.5 pound fish! For those who can’t remember what it was like to hook fish like that on a regular basis, it was brilliant, every fish was well above the 4.5 pound mark, they were solid and there were plenty of them.
So why have I all of a sudden come out with this. Well apart from the obvious lack of security our rivers have seen and the subsequent poaching this has produced, this year for me has been the worst in over 35 years and I don’t believe Nature can remedy this quickly enough to save our reputation as a great fishery. This should be directed directly at DOC, they have been responsible for the decisions on all of the above. I believe Fish and Game are in the process of looking into our fishery and what can be done about it, the quicker this happens and DOC are relieved of their input the better our fishery will be. By the way Kim, I have a friend staying in Hatepe who fishes the Hinemaiaia everyday, sometimes two or three times a day, he has been there for three weeks walking the banks from the bottom to the Cliff Pool and he has yet to be checked by a Ranger. Typical DOC BS.
I fished the Waitahanui River last week. I walked from the Parade, (start of middle reaches) to Gordon Williams. I got skunked! In fact I only saw half a dozen trout in the middle reaches and nothing in the uppers. This was the middle of August. If you think that is standard, then as I say you don’t deserve to look after our fishery. I fished it bloody hard too, trying all my hidden little spots, it was depressing! This River should have had hundreds of trout in it. August is a time the middle reaches full up.
I fished the Tauranga Taupo on a Sunday as the water was falling from .65 to .5 overnight, PERFECT!! I got there at 7.00am, there was one car in the car park and I found them pretty quickly fishing by the power lines. I gave them two bends then started fishing, doing all the crossings, changing leader length, weight and Nymphs. I fished all the way to just below the Cliff pool. I got SKUNKED! This is impossible, this is August and in perfect conditions. I was told by an angler on Wednesday that a friend of his had fished the TT for three solid days and taken two fish in those conditions. So don’t beat yourself up Ralph, it wasn’t you after all
The Waimarino is a shadow of its former self. This has been smashed by poachers on such a huge scale and DOC have done nothing. I went in there and walked up to the crossing in near perfect conditions and got SKUNKED, WTF!!
I’ve been worried about the Tongariro all season. I have made an effort to fish this over the season and for most of that it has been near empty. Again guys if you think the fishing is OK you have no idea what it can be like or what it has been like. I thought the rain we had at the start of August would have filled it up but it didn’t, (by a long shot). I went in there this week and although I didn’t get skunked, (thank God) it sure as hell was hard and every angler I came across, (and I made the effort to talk to everyone) was scratching their heads and empty handed. Pools that should have been teaming with the silver buggers were empty. I looked over Red Hutt bridge and saw nothing. One old timer said the runs are still to come, in fact everyone is saying the runs are still to come. Hell they better come and there better be bloody thousands of them! The 1 Trout I did land was a nice fat little 2.5 pound Hen!
So in frustration and dismay I shot back to the Hine. Yes I caught trout but the fact here guys is that the Hine is getting over fished because all the other rivers are crap! DOC have no brains and can’t preempt what is going to happen there. They are going to stick to their strategy of making shocking decisions and then unable to say, whoops, will not do anything about it until it is too late. Your idiots and as I have said the faster you piss off the better off our fishery will be.
I should not be getting skunked in August!