The 2017/18 season starts today, along with the introduction of new regulations governing trout fishing in the Taupo region.
The Taupo fishery is unique in New Zealand, being the only place where fishing is managed and administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC)- this important role is carried out by Fish & Game NZ in other areas of the country.
The changes introduced this year appear to be aimed at improving the quality of fishing in the future, as well as simplifying and clarifying areas where confusion has previously existed.
All anglers will need to be aware of the new regulation changes, especially around harvesting trout. The takable limit has been increased to six fish per angler and the size has been reduced to 350mm. Personally, I don’t tend to take many fish for the smoker, so the harvest changes won’t make a huge difference. However the changes are clearly designed to increase the numbers of trout removed from the system, which in turn will reduce the pressure on their primary food source, smelt. With more smelt to go round we could see bigger and healthier trout in the future… as long as people actually take more fish!
The regulations now offer guidance that includes the maximum leader length, as well as the use of weight. Guidance from DOC is as follows “To help anglers to understand acceptable practice, we’ve amended the definition of fly-fishing. The definition now includes maximum leader length (6 metres), minimum fly line length (3 metres) and the purpose of any introduced weight is to facilitate the sinking of the leader. Items such as swivels and sinkers added to assist casting will no longer be permissible.” They go on to add that the use of split-shot is permissible for assisting the leader to sink. Again nothing here that will change my approach but good to have clarification around the use of split shot.
Other changes relate to boat and spin fishing around river mouths, so will not impact on my winter fishing but may tempt me to make greater use of my pontoon boat in the warmer months.
International anglers will also notice an alignment in the weekly and annual license fees, to tie in with the costs of Fish & Game licenses. According to DOC the additional revenue will be used to “help gain a better understanding of the demands for the Taupo Fishery District.” Given the high cost of accessing quality trout fishing elsewhere in the world I suggest this still represents extraordinary value for money!
For a full account of the changes visit the DOC website>