advocate 17/14

Advocates Activity

Since my last blog some time ago, I have spoken to the Finance Committee of Waikato Regional Council (WRC) in Hamilton, attended a meeting of the Taupo Fishing Advisory Committee (TFAC), a meeting of the WRC Taupo Liasion Zone Committee of which I am a member and spoken to Lakes and Waterways Action Group (LWAG).

The only fishing I have done was on Monday. It had rained heavily overnight, the river was rising and the colour deterirorating but it was warm. There were few anglers and none at the Cicada Pool where I fished. There was a lot of activity for me with  my wet line and I took two fish after a short spell. My first was a small, 2lb fresh run hen of good colour and proportions. The second was a Jack a little over 3 lb and showing that it had been in the river a little while. My fishing partner, nymphing, had no success at all. At last nights LWAG meeting Michel Dedual said that on the lake smelt are as large as he has seen equalling the size of Rotorua smelt. Evidence from another at the meeting was that lately there had been some excellent fish caught and that the trout in these fish were full of smelt. Other trout were struggling with little smelt content in their stomachs. Michel also made the point that the run of fish in the river is later than in any previous years.

Mike Barton spoke to me about the number of Koura in the lake. He said that in diving the lake bed is full of large Koura. Michel confirmed that he had seen evidence of large Koura. My thoughts on these two facts were that we could expect to catch some good fish on the lake and in next seasons runs. Discussion was also on the decline in angler numbers as per license sales. Michel who has returned from a conference in Brazil told that declining nubers of anglers was a world wide phenomenon. He pushed the argument that in the Taupo fishery we were doing a service by taking the legal sized fish we catch.

The day before was the WRC Taupo liaison Zone Committee meeting. I mentioned a concern that there was significant willow growth in the area of the Admirals Pool, Stag Pool and Millrace. I haven’t had a good look at the rest of the river for a while. Mike Barton mentioned his concern at the increased number of wasps around this year. Cam Speedy of Genesis made the point that this was a concern as a new bug in NZ, the Willow Aphid was sucking the willow leaves to create honey dew which was a majo food of wasps and that we could expect an increased number of wasps as a result. The DOC Project Tongariro co-ordinator was not so supportive of he idea of a willow aphid, honey dew, wasp explosion as the willows are deciduous and the willow aphid may bring a poitiv response in that they marry carry a disease harmful to willows. At this time he thought it a bit early to speculate on what will happen. I see it as a concern as wasps, little as they are, hurt like hades when they sting and it is not a lot of fun when you disturb one of their nests as I found out when I did so on the Rangitaiki some time ago.

Prior to the meeting we were advised that Lawrie Donald, WRC works manager would resign in mid January 2015. Lawrie has done a good job for WRC, prepared to discuss issues, honest in his responses and has tried to bring in all parties to understand the actions of WRC in their river work. I for one am sorry to see Lawrie go. I on behalf of the Advocates have wished Lawrie all the best for the future.

I imagine that most of you are aware that  “Target Taupo ” is now online. It may be viewed at

Target Taupo issue 66 October 2014 may be viewed here;-

This is a way of saving money from a shrinking income. Target Taupo developed into a valuable resource for anglers and will now be available to a wider number of interested people. It was a recommendation from the Fisheries Review.

The Advocates For the Tongariro River have financed a 3 year PhD study of the food chain to seek reasons for the decline in the size and quality of fish. The student, Simon Stewart has spent much of this year reading up the available literature and preparing his research. We have met once with Simon but have sat quietly offering our support. It is early days in this study.

Two weeks ago I crossed Cook Strait from Picton to Wellington. I was pleased to be met by a representative warning of the dangers of Didymo.I did talk with him about the matters I raised in an earlier blog about Didymo of which he was aware but he firmly believed that we should do what we can to keep it out of the North Island. I thought his efforts commendable. Our airports have signs which are easy to miss but I have never had anyone talk to me at a NZ airport about Didymo.

Finally, I would like to make a plea for more members to make themselves available to be on our committee. We have functioned as a society for 12 years with many being original committee members. As a committee and a group, we have earned the respect of stakeholders. It is important that a society such as ours is a voice in the forums that affect the Tongariro Catchment and that we are accepted as a responsible, reliable stakeholder. Please express your interest to be involved to me or any of our committee. We need you.

Eric Wilson