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Lake Taupo's wild fishery is on the mend after several lean years.

Fly-fishing guides and charter-boat skippers report better quality fish being caught in good numbers for the first time since 2005-2006.

Conservation Department Tongariro-Taupo fisheries manager Glenn MacLean said the improvement was due to a recovery in the population of smelt, small whitebait-like fish that make up 90% of the trout diet.

Because of the poor quality and small sized trout being caught, the department reduced the minimum legal size in 2008 from 45centimetres to 40cm. Doing this meant more trout could be taken and there was less pressure on the food chain, which allowed the population to recover.

"From our surveys and anecdotal evidence, the fish are not overly massive but far better quality. They are full of smelt, wonderfully silver ans very orange inside, really healthy fish."

The numbers of smelt are still not back where they were before but there has been an improvement and the quality is back.


- On average, 45,000 anglers catch between 150,000 to 175,000 trout each year in Lake Taupo and its tributaries.
- Brown Trout were introduced to the lake in 1887; Rainbow Trout were introduced in 1898.
- Trout spawn in rivers during the winter, but return to the lake to mature over three years.
- 30% survive to return to the river for a second spawning run.
- Taupo anglers make up about 42% of NZ's freshwater anglers.
- Daily maximum catch limit is 3 trout.

Extract from the DOMINION POST, Saturday, May 22, 2010  

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