The fishery



TO:                  TFAC

FROM:             Mark Venman

RE:                   Fishery Monitoring Report 


January 2015


The fish trap was removed in early December for the 2014 season and will be re-instated over the next couple of months. Given the ability to now monitor rainfall and fish numbers via counters and images, running the fish trap during the summer months should become more cost effective and less labour intensive. Putting the trap back in earlier will also give us an indication of any changes in the “early” spawning runs.

Lake Taupo

Catch rates on Lake Taupo from Christmas through until the end of January were estimated at 0.37 fish per hour (1 legal sized fish every 2 hours and 40 minutes). A total of 145 rainbow trout were weighed and measured by staff during this busy period and these fish averaged 464mm and 1.22kg with an overall condition factor of 44.1. The heaviest rainbow trout was a hen measuring 560mm and weighing 2.26kg (5lb). Three brown trout were also measured by staff during this period and these fish averaged 563mm and 2.3kg with an overall condition factor of 47. The largest brown was a jack and measured 639mm and weighed 2.78kg (6lb).

During the scheduled angler surveys, Lake Taupo anglers caught a total of 303 trout. Anglers chose to keep 167 of them (55%) and return the remainder of their catch alive to the water. Of the 136 trout returned 78 were undersized. Overall, anglers kept three quarters of the legal sized fish that they caught.

Anglers rated the fish that they were catching at 6.9/10, their catch rate at 6.9/10 and their angling enjoyment at 9.5/10. The main fishing detraction for anglers cited by anglers during the busy holiday period was bad manners and poor etiquette (8.5%) shown by other boat users and anglers on the lake.  This was followed by water skiers (5.7%), overcrowding (4.4%) and jet skiers (4.1%) which is consistent with the increase in boating traffic over the busy holiday period. Inexperience was mentioned by 3.9% of anglers interviewed. Overall, 60% of all anglers interviewed and surveyed said that nothing spoiled their fishing experience.

Jigging was the most popular method on the lake during January and accounted for 60% of all anglers interviewed. This was followed by deep trolling using lead lines (30%) and shallow trolling (5%). The overall estimated catch rate for anglers jigging was calculated at 0.36 legal sized fish per hour while those deep trolling with lead had a similar catch rate of 0.35  legal sized fish per hour.

 Lake O

Over 10 angler survey days a total of 81 trout were recorded as caught by anglers of which only 7 were kept. Just over 20% were classed as undersized. The rainbows kept by anglers averaged 492mm and 1.45kg (3.2lbs). The heaviest trout weighed by staff during January surveys was a hen measuring 590mm and weighing 1.8kg (4lb). The very settled weather during January has seen an increase in insect life at this lake with the fishing being very good at times and this should continue into February.

 River fishing

The long and hot days during January provided some great hatches on the Tongariro River during the warm and still evenings. The Tongariro still holds good numbers of fish recovering after spawning plus some fresh run rainbows that are either very late or every early running! Some large browns are already showing up throughout the lower and middle reaches of the river. Likewise, rivers such as the Waitahanui should also see runs of brown trout enter over the next couple of months. A number of large browns have also been spotted in the Tauranga Taupo River up as far as the Cliff Pool.

With the lake starting to warm and hit the early twenties, a visit to some of the river mouths should be worth a look as trout start to seek the colder in flowing waters as they continue to feed and prepare for spawning this winter. The lake fishing should continue to improve over the coming months as the fish continue to grow but deeper methods such as downriggers and jigging will improve your success as the fish seek the deeper and colder waters as the surface of the lake starts to warm and stratify.



TO:                  TFAC

FROM:              Peter Shepherd

RE:                   Partnership update


Target Taupo Newsletter (66)

The printed versions of Target Taupo have been sent out to a number of agents and businesses for distribution (November/December 2014). We will be sending out a further electronic link to those licences holders who have purchased their licence since our last mail out in October 2014.

We will start to compile the next edition of Target Taupo 67 by the end of February 2015.

Online Licence advertising

We have priced advertising for online licencing sales and have produced two advertisements for local distribution. The cost for providing adverts within printed media has not been cost effective. A further advert will be released prior to the upcoming season as well as an email reminder to those licences holders we have contact details for, which is now well populated. We will also via Facebook continue to provide reminders of online licence availability.

Destination Great Lake Taupo and currently have links to the DOC purchasing tool page from their respective websites.

Waitahanui Bridges

Correspondence was forwarded to the Waitahanui Anglers Association in December requesting we delay discussion until the New Year while Taupo based Ranger Annette Richards becomes familiarised with her role, a component of which is managing Fishery assets. It is hoped by the end of February 2015 we’ll be able organise a site visit to Waitahanui and consider the opportunities available for enhancement work.

National Freshwater Anglers Survey

The first two quarterly surveys have been completed by Martin Unwin- NIWA. The survey is all completed by telephone contact and captures local rivers/lake pressure and average days fished per angler annually. For results refer to appendix i.

Online Licence responses

The Taupo Fishery has received five email concerns on the electronic licencing availability and removal of paper licences over the summer break from anglers. We have responded to the email queries and provided reasoning to the change. Three of the five returned their acknowledgement of the responses and were positive after further information was provided.

Peter Shepherd


To: John Gibbs Manager Department of Conservation Conservation Fisheries,

Private Bag Turangi

Copied to: Graham Whyman, Lake Taupo Fishing Advisory Committee,  Sporting Life, The Mall, Turangi.

From: The Advocates for the Tongariro River Inc., Po Box 335 Turangi

Date: 13th September 2007


1.     The Advocates committee wishes to thank you and your staff for meeting with us to

  • discuss concerns relating to trout size. Further, we appreciate the wider opportunities
  • you have provided for anglers generally to meet with fisheries staff on this matter, and
  • your inviting of submissions.

Changing the minimum legal length of trout

2.     The Advocates Committee accepts the case that has been put by the fisheries management for changing the minimum legal length of trout from 45 to 42cm. We are aware that in the history of the Fishery changing conditions have, at times, necessitated changes of a similar nature.

3.     However, downsizing the minimum legal length, as an action on its own is not sufficient as it fails to address the causes contributing to the diminished size, number and condition of trout.


4.     A large number of anglers are expressing concern about the diminished size and poor condition of trout.  These observations which have been made over the past two or three seasons and calendar years, have increased markedly this year. There is no doubt that the trout are smaller, are fewer in number and a significant number are in poor condition. These fish are not juveniles. They are mature fish spawning as part of the winter run.

5.     Fisheries staff have suggested that we may be experiencing the effect of a late season, with the good fish yet to come. We consider this unlikely to be case, as regular spawning activity has been evident in the river over the winter months and an increasing percentage of fish caught are spent and returning to the lake.

6.     Soft data has come to our attention in the form of reliable observations, that large numbers cat fish inhabiting the lake are bigger than expected and stomach contents show them to be feeding heavily on smelt. These observations have been made around the Kuratau cliffs and at the Delta.

7.     It is likely that catfish pose a greater threat in competing with trout for food than has hitherto been acknowledged, given the characteristics of their feeding habits. And it is reasonable to suppose that the cat fish population has increased to a point where food sources are no longer sufficient for trout.

8.     There can be no doubt that the reduction in trout size, numbers and condition, as observed in both the river and the lake throughout at least the last year or two, is a consequence of trout  getting insufficient food.

Request for more monitoring and analysis

9.     To the best of our knowledge the most recent comprehensive research done on trout food source was that done in 1986 by Theo Stevens. We think it is necessary to have comprehensive current data on food sources and factors relating to associated eco systems, in both the lake and the River.

10.   We note no discussion or information on the biota, as opposed to available species in eco systems which are readily available, and would like to see such data gathered and analysed.

11.   The Taupo fishery has been traditionally known for its trophy trout.  Can we conduct research to indicate whether this particular gene pool has been depleted?

12.   We urge fisheries scientists to undertake more extensive monitoring of catfish. For example, monitoring at a greater number of locations and a greater range of depths to get better data on relative numbers of catfish and the extent to which their consumption of smelt, Kura and fingerlings, is impacting negatively on the condition and sustainability and of the trout population.

13.   Once comprehensive data on food supply and the factors impacting on it has been gathered and analysed we would like the information to be in the public domain and used by fisheries scientists as a basis for corrective intervention.

Our Request for Information

14.   We would appreciate receiving information about :

i.    monitoring currently being done in the Lake and rivers
ii.   monitoring systems being used
iii.  whether fisheries scientists are confident that current monitoring is producing the data necessary for well informed management of the fishery
iv.  the extent to which resource constraints are limiting the gathering of data considered necessary by fisheries scientists.

Intervention to redress unfavourable conditions

15.   There are a number of recorded instances in the history of the fishery where intervention has been necessary due to ecological changes that were producing unfavourable conditions for trout. And it is interesting to note that such interventions produced successful outcomes. Indeed among the successful interventions of the past was the introduction of the “wild” trout now populating the fishery. The Advocates Committee would therefore reject any contention that intervention is not acceptable. Where it can be shown as necessary to sustain the health and quality of the fishery, interventions such as those made in the past, are essential.

16.   If food supply is found to be a  cause of the observations noted in this submission, we suggest a two part response.  First, and as soon as possible that a significant injection of smelt be put into the lake to augment what is clearly an insufficient source of nourishment for trout, and second, that comprehensive data gathering be undertaken to determine the reasons contributing to the problem.


17.   The Advocates would like to meet with you and your team around Easter 2008, at a date to be agreed nearer the time, for an update on progress on the matters included in this submission.  In the meantime we would be pleased to receive information on monitoring, as requested in paragraph 14.

18.   We will be happy to discuss any of these matters with you.

Heather Macdonald
Advocates for the Tongariro River Inc


20 March 2008

Heather Macdonald


Advocates for the Tongariro River

PO Box 335


Dear Heather

Submission on Trout Size

Thank you for your letter of 13 September 2007 regarding the proposal to reduce the minimum size limit for trout in the Taupo fishery.

I must apologise for not replying formally earlier but, as you know, this issue has been something of a moveable feast.  I’m sure you and your members will be familiar with developments over the size limit since then through your membership of the Taupo Fishery Advisory
Committee and also information published in our magazine Target Taupo.

Since the initial proposal to reduce the size limit to 42 cm we have had the benefit of additional information from both angler surveys and a further season’s monitoring of trout spawning runs.  This has led us to modify the proposal and we are now intending to reduce the limit to 40 cm.  This has been discussed with and agreed by the Taupo Fishery Advisory Committee.

The detailed reasons for this and the technical information underpinning the proposal have been included in briefing papers to TFAC for the meetings of 18 June and 20 August 2007 and 29 January 2008.  Very detailed articles were also published in the September and December 2007 issues of Target Taupo which I think have exhaustively addressed in the public arena the matters you have raised in your letter.

If you would like further copies of these articles please let me know and I will be happy to send them.

Yours sincerely

John Gibbs

Taupo Fishery Area Manager