Topic: Trout fishing in the lakes.

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"To the earliest Europeans the lakes seemed to be virtually barren and the traditional freshwater stocks found in other lands inspired them to consider adding further varieties to these Rotorua waters." (The founding years by D M Stafford. p116)

Whilst 1872 official releases by Captain Morrison of the Armed Constabulary occured only in the Taupo area  and it was not until 1874 or early 1875 that Captain Mair released prussian carp in Lakes Tarawera and Rotokakahi there are some stories of 'morihana' (carp released by Morrison) being plentiful in Lake Rotorua. There were reports of the carp reaching close to 2 pounds.

In 1884 the Tauranga Acclimatisation Society  generously shared their consignment of American brook trout with a Rotorua committee set on releasing them in the Utuhina and Taahunaatara streams.  Rainbow trout were released in 1898 by Roger Dansey into the Rotorua. Tarawera, Okareka, Tikitapu and Rotokakahi lakes.

By 1896 Rotorua became part of the Auckland Acclimatisation Society  and fine fish were being taken from the streams of the district. It is said that the streams and lakes were teeming with  trout, some of enormous dimensions. The koura, inanga and carp were being displaced but the gigantic trout were too well fed and provided no sport for the general angler.  

For a short time in 1897 - 88 netting of trout was licensed and permitted in Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti. 'The normal cost of such a license was 3 pounds, except to Maoris whose normal place of residence was within on mile of either lake. To them the cost was 1 pound.' 'Holders of licenses were able to sell trout within the Rotorua County, and Auckland dealers could, by procuring a special license costing 3 pound, sell the fish through their shops provided an additional fee of one penny per pound was paid on all trout taken out of Rotorua County.'

Regulations permitting netting were revoked during 1903 and the sport for anglers seemed to improve. But by 1910 the lakes were full of old fish, diseased and dying of starvation. The reputation for good fishing was in jeopardy.  

Control of the fishery passed from a triumverate of the Auckland and Tauranga Acclimatisation Societies and the Rotorua Town Board to the Tourist Department  but by 1913 the Wildlife Branch of Internal Affairs was managing the fishery.

In 1990 the Fish and Game New Zealand council was established to 'oversee the effective management of the countries sports fish and game resources carried out by 12 regions.  Rotorua is within the Eastern Region.

Thanks to The founding Years and The new century in Rotorua by D M Stafford; Rotorua trout by Frank Gee; Rotorua trout fishing guide by Rotorua Anglers Association (Inc)  and Fish and Game New Zealand at www, .


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Trout fishing in the lakes.


17 Mataikotare Road, Tikitere 3074, New Zealand

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Date of Event:1872 -