Tag Archives: fishing licence

Taupo Regs Change

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.

It's worth noting that buying a license not only allows you to fish legally but also helps maintain the quality of the fishing we love.
It’s worth noting that buying a license not only allows you to fish legally but also helps maintain the quality of the fishing we love and the environment that supports it.

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>




Four Weeks to New Trout Season

Spring in New Zealand has arrived in dramatic style, with strong winds and heavy rain hammering most parts of the country… no change there then! For the NZ trout fisherman Spring also signals the build up to the start of a new trout fishing season – 2015 /16 Season kicks off 1 October.

While many larger rivers and lakes have remained open throughout the winter, especially around Lake Taupo, it’s the myriad of smaller rivers, lakes and back country streams that have been ‘off limits’ since June that will fire the imagination of many anglers. Time to get planning – and praying to the weather gods!

Experienced anglers will already have a well trodden path that helps them negotiate the new season. The less experienced trout hunter however might benefit from the following suggestions and observations.

Firstly we need to get our licences sorted out. This year I simply used the Fish & Game NZ website, which turned out to be very straight forward. I completed the online forms, went through the payment process and the plastic credit card style licence arrived a week later along with the latest book of rules and regs. Easy! As highlighted in an earlier WildernessTrout post, Fish & Game has introduced a few new licence options this year, that might offer better value for money to occasional anglers or those who prefer to focus on fishing a single region.

trout flies in box
trout flies in box

Next up is equipment. Perhaps that floating line wasn’t living up to it’s description last time out… maybe your landing net was consumed by heavy bush on a previous adventure… car doors and rods have a habit of coming together in a very destructive way… and trout flies will have divorced from your tippet in favour of a union with assorted riparian flora. The bottom-line is, you’ll probably need to replace and prepare stuff. Personally I quite enjoy cleaning rods, greasing reels, dressing fly lines etc, but that’s probably just my OCD showing through! Whatever your approach, giving a little thought to getting kitted-out now will help ensure you’re ready to go on 1 October.

The style of fishing will also have a bearing on the choice of equipment. If you are hoping to cast a delicate dry fly to rising fish using a light weight set up, you might be in for a long day. In reality early season fly fishing is mostly about getting a nymph down to the trout. In a fast flowing river this can be achieved using a tungsten nymph under a strike indicator, or even swinging a wet fly/streamer across the current using a fast sinking fly line. A smaller creek will allow for a lighter rod but you will still need to get your flies down through the water column. Leaders and tippets can be on the heavier side, given the fish will be a little less wary. Also a heavier tippet gives you a better chance of landing a big strong fish in fast water. Whatever approach you adopt you’ll find it easier if you select the right tackle for the job and get it ready in advance.

What’s your casting like? I’ve been fly fishing for over 30 years and consider myself to be pretty proficient with a fly rod but I still get rusty if I haven’t cast for a while. If you’ve been winter fishing then you’ll be fine, but if not, it might be a good idea to polish up your technique before heading out. You don’t even need water, a patch of grass will be fine – as long as you have enough space.

Deciding on a destination is probably the sexiest part of planning for the new season. I must confess my early season trips tend to revolve around tried-and-tested locations. The choice is usually driven by the potential to catch larger fish that are less wary than normal, courtesy of the fact that they’ve not seen an angler for a few months. However if you are looking for a change from the norm, the internet provides a great opportunity to gather information about new places and help plan trips. Websites such as www.nzfishing.com include loads of info about places to fish, successful methods and even accommodation.

So you’ve decided where to fish. All done, right? Well no, not quite. Now is a good time to consider the weather! The start of the trout fishing season in New Zealand occurs during one of the wettest and most unpredictable times of the year. Many rivers can easily become unfishable following periods of heavy rain, forcing you into a last minute search for an alternative spot or even to abandon fishing altogether.

To avoid this last minute frustration it’s much easier to already have a ‘Plan B’ in mind. Websites such as the Met Service can be very useful in the final weeks before the trip, as can a number of other resources.

With a bit of thought and planning you can ensure you get the best out of your start to the season. Tight lines!

James Barnett

New Season New Licence

Fish and Game NZ recently circulated an email campaign asking “Are You Ready?” This simple question marks the build up to the new 2015/16 season which opens on 1 October, and also encourages people to get in early and buy a licence online.

“To help you get ahead of the fish, we’ve opened up the online licence buying facility so you can get hooked up early with one of the durable plastic licences – and be all set to go on Opening Day, 1 October. Your plastic licence will be mailed within five working days of you completing this order. It may take seven to ten days to arrive by post in your letterbox” says the campaign release.

This year see’s the introduction of a number of new licence options that will offer anglers the chance to fine tune their licence to fit with fishing plans – apparently not everyone shares my need to fish in a variety of locations at the drop of a hat!

Local area, loyal senior, family and non resident options are among the full season licences available, with a number of part season options also on offer. A handy Fish and Game table helps makes sense of it all – click image to see a larger version.

Fish and Game Fishing Licence options for 2015/16
Fish and Game Fishing Licence options for 2015/16

As usual I’ll be opting for the gold plated fish till you drop option – Full Whole Season. Find out which option suits your level of obsession at the Fish And Game NZ website:

On a serious note, it’s very important that all anglers buy the right licence before going fishing. The funds raised through licence fees are used by Fish and Game to protect and nurture our fisheries. With the huge pressure currently on our freshwater resources they need every cent they can get. Find out more about some of the environmental threats here>

So, get in quick to secure your licence. This will give you more time to work out where you’re going to kick-off the new season, determine a ‘plan B’ for when the weather turns to crap, identify what new gear you’re going to need…

James Barnett