Home' Fish and Game : September 2016 Contents SOLID FOUNDATION
FOR SEASON AHEAD
FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS MEAN THERE WILL BE
PLENTY MORE TROUT LIKE THIS SUPERB BROWN
AROUND THIS COMING SEASON
T HAS TO BE SAID THAT LAST SEASON WA S
a rather interesting one in terms of climate ex-
tremes and the impact on angling.
The tempestuous weather created headaches
for many anglers including the keen ones on Wel-
lington Fish & Game staff. The start was typically
volatile, then when summer arrived it did with
vengeance, creating drought issues and low river
levels for much of the region.
It certainly forced some of us to look around
pretty hard for good flows and stretches of river
THERE IS ONLY ONE CHANGE FOR SEASON 2016-17. A ONE (1) FISH DAILY BAG
limit has been set for the Otaki River downstream of the Tararua Forest Park
boundary, with a maximum length of 450mm (i.e. any trout larger than 450mm must
be returned to the water).
Please note, however, that there have been some amendments made to the wording
in the Anglers’ Notice. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the rules for freshwater angling
when you receive the regulations booklet which accompanies your licence.
ANGLERS COULD RIGHTLY FEEL FRUSTRATED AT THEIR LOCAL OR REGIONAL
council’s lack of environmental policies, ignorance of outdoor recreation needs or
inaction (even promotion) of unsustainable development. This year is your opportunity
to do something about it. In October, local bodies will hold elections. If you can’t stand,
please make sure you vote. Take a few moments to read the candidates’ biographies and
be on the lookout for vested and personal interest overriding that of public interest – this
is increasingly a problem, particularly at local government level.
sheltered from the – at times – incessant nor’-
west winds. Those who did the leg work though,
and extended their normal angling horizons, did
very well with some superb fishing and, again,
very well-conditioned trout.
In fact a feature of the Wellington fishery over
the past four or five years has been its robustness
with a steady or growing population of increasing-
ly sizeable brown trout in many of our key rivers.
Indeed, you can’t argue that Wellington doesn’t
have quality trout fishing when you consider that
a trophy brown was taken from under a SH1 bridge
Perhaps a feature of the health of our trout pop-
ulation is the fact the region hasn’t experienced
any significant floods for some time, allowing the
fish undisturbed conditioning over summer and
autumn, as well as ideal spawning conditions and
Yes, we’ve had floods – some as large as one-in
five year events or slightly bigger – but these have
largely been beneficial in terms of flushing the riv-
erbeds clean and recharging the entire water sys-
tem without negatively impacting trout survival.
Once again we head into the new season with a
solid foundation set.
We’ve had a benign summer with an exception-
ally long and sustained period of large terrestrial
insects (cicadas, grass hoppers, crickets, passion
vine hoppers) delivering an additional food source
into the system right through into autumn. Then
there have been good autumn and early winter
rains flushing and recharging rivers in time for the
For the layperson, this means trout have had a
relatively easy summer building plenty of body
weight, and setting them up well for the arduous
spawning period. Given they are in such good
shape, though, they’ll recover well, and recover
quickly, for season 2016-17.
This means we’re picking good numbers of larger
than normal trout for opening (October 1, 2016) and
improving as the season progresses. Make sure you
don’t miss out on any of the action ahead!
DON’T FORGET TO VOTE
FISHING THE COOLER WATER OF A CONFLUENCE STREAM
HE BIG DRY EXPERIENCED LAST SEASON SAW
many of the mainstem waterways running either
very low or very warm. As an example, in January
the Rangitikei River’s water temperature was 26degC at
Springvale (which is at an altitude of 560m).
This is well above the extreme limits for trout survival.
But similar extremes were observed in many rivers from
the north of our region right down to the south – it
ADAPTABLE ANGLERS Reap the Rewards
certainly had an impact on fish habits and habitat.
Trout will either go for deep pools – where they find
refuge from the warm water because of the thermocline
layers – or they’ll migrate to cooler sources of water. Staff
observed numerous incident of the latter, with the fish
seeking cool inflows of spring creeks or headwater streams
that have lower temps because of the forested catchments
they flow from.
Large congregations of fish were noticed in reaches
where these more favourable conditions prevailed.
With climate change pressing upon us, prolonged dry
periods are going to increasingly become the norm. So,
anglers will do well to adapt and follow the trout. Local
knowledge of where springs add to the surface flow, where
shaded tributaries mix with the mainstem or are large
enough to hold fish, are go-to areas when drought bites.
Remember also that fish behaviour changes in adverse
environmental state. They will become lethargic during the
day (and most frustrating to fish to) but will actively feed at
night or, more particularly, during the early morning when
the water temperature is lowest.
26/07/16 4:20 pm
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