Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tight lines and big smiles as season opens

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Fishing season opens with respectable catches and, in some places, winds to test an angler’s resolve.
20230914 Photo: Richard Cosgrove/ Fish & Game NZ Fish & Game NZ Staff Conference Rotorua
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It was a Super Sunday season opening day for anglers nationwide when the new fishing season got underway on October 1.

Anglers in some parts of New Zealand braved strong winds, and river flows were elevated in some parts of the country, but there were plenty of fishable waters, ranging from the backcountry to lowland streams.

In the eastern region Fish & Game NZ staff reported good-sized fish caught on lakes Tarawera and Rotoiti, with some over 3kg.

Blustery winds later in the day did not deter keen anglers countrywide who braved the conditions to catch some nice fish, including a 3kg brown trout.

Fish & Game Officer Harry Graham-Samson checks anglers’ licences on the Boyle River in North Canterbury. Photo: Brian Hodges

The same was replicated on the South Island rivers and lakes, with good numbers of anglers seen out by rangers.

Fish & Game expects to sell around 130,000 licences this season, of which approximately 10% will be to non-residents.

“It was great to see quite a few families out for the start of the fishing season. Opening day is a long-held tradition for many Kiwis, and opening falling on Sunday and a school holidays allowed many families to take up the opportunity for some fishing,” Richie Cosgrove, spokesperson for Fish & Game, said.

Ken Saito with a solid brown trout from the Opihi River. Photo: Rhys Adams

“Fishing is not just an excellent opportunity to catch your own healthy free-range kai, but it’s recognised internationally for its positive impact on mental health and rejuvenating qualities from being in the outdoors.”

Many anglers will travel huge distances just to fish a waterway they have developed a deep connection to, Cosgrove said.

“The opening of the fishing season is also great news for the broader economy. Research shows international anglers are big spenders, among the highest-value tourists the country receives.

Glenda Norman is happy with this 2.3kg, 57cm rainbow she caught trolling on Lake Tarawera on opening morning. Photo: Mark Sherburn

“Many guides are looking forward to increasing tourism numbers, which is good for their businesses and the flow-on economic effects for the regional communities, where many guides live.”

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