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Auckland / Waikato Reel Life Dec 2016

Published on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 14:45

‘Magic temperature’ reached – time to fish Waipa waterways

The Waikato River recently reached 19°C marking the start of the summer migration period for Waikato and Waipa trout.

Staff member Adam Daniel was on the Kaniwhaniwha recently investigating a compliance issue and found plenty of fish moving up the lower end of the river already. 

Top right: A nice Kaniwhaniwha rainbow.

When fish begin to migrate they can move very quickly up-river, so by mid-December most all of the large browns will be back in the Waipa tributaries to ride out the hot summer. 

Targeting these fish in the small tributaries or at the Waipa confluence can be a lot of fun so get out there. 

Council consults over Healthy Rivers change

The Waikato Regional Council has removed a large portion of the catchment, including one of the only lower Waikato River trout spawning tributaries, from the Healthy Rivers plan change (Plan Change 1) to consult Hauraki iwi.

This oversight by the council and growing opposition from farming groups may see a delay in the plan change process.

At best consultation will take place and the area will be added back into the plan change but those submitting on the plan are now left wondering what, if anything, will change.

Although the area impacted is not prime trout fishing water, provisions in the plan change could improve water quality in some formerly fishable streams.

The Brown Trout Otolith Study, conducted by Fish & Game in conjunction with the Cawthron Institute, identified the Mangatawhiri River as the primary spawning stream in the lower Waikato River despite the pitiful condition of this stretch. 

Omission of the Mangatawhiri could be a major loss as the river is desperately in need of water quality improvements.

Lake Waikare was also partly removed from the plan change and was historically trout habitat prior to the lake being lowered for flood control and polluted by intensive farming.

Fish & Game staff will make a strong submission on the plan change to ensure the plan will be strong enough to meet the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River.

Some of the proposed rules, including grandfathering levels of agricultural pollution and industry lead approval schemes for farm plans, are unlikely to produce the massive change needed to make the Waikato and Waipa catchments swimmable.

Map of the area excluded from the Healthy Rivers plan change for Hauraki iwi consultation.