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Opening day report: Trout season 2021/22

3 min read

Opening day of the 2021/22 freshwater fishing season. Angler Peter Meccham casts out into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere as the sun rises over Banks Peninsula. Photo: Richard Cosgrove/Fish & Game NZ

Thousands of anglers across the country headed out before dawn on the morning of 1 October to start the 2021/22 sports fishing season.

The weather played its part, with fine weather for opening day across most of the country.

With COVID-19 restrictions, fishing has become a great way of dealing with the stress the restrictions cause and provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and change things up a little.

The opening day of the new fishing season this year was in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week. This is appropriate given that fishing is one activity that has been proven to improve your wellbeing.

Studies overseas have shown that going fishing reduces stress, and with the school holidays following the opening weekend, fishing could also be a great school holiday family activity.

This year, Fish & Game is saying, “let nature do its thing”.

Acting chief executive Dianna Taylor said, “Anglers love getting out to connect with nature and escaping the stresses of everyday life.

“New Zealanders reconnected with the outdoors last year in greater numbers than ever before due to COVID-19. The lockdown has been harder for everyone this time around, so we are reminding Kiwis of all the benefits of being in the outdoors. Fishing is one of those activities that lets you take a moment, appreciate the beauty of Aotearoa, and get some kai for the family.”

NIWA is predicting above-average temperatures and average or below rainfall till the end of November, which means there will be plenty of opportunity for fishing in the coming months.

The early period of the fishing season is an awesome time for fishing; the fish have put on condition after spawning, and with the warmer temperatures, fish are becoming more active and more receptive to taking a lure or fly.
There are loads of fishing opportunities throughout the country, with the ‘Park and Cast’ section of the Fish & Game website listing areas for easy access with sustainable fisheries in every region for anglers of all skill levels.

Opening day around the country

This eight-pound beauty was caught on a West Coast lake, with the angler also catching and releasing other large, well-conditioned fish. Photo: Supplied

A beautiful morning greeted Auckland Waikato anglers who were able to go for fish, with good numbers of anglers out and about, with prospects looking good for the weekend.

This year in the Eastern region, there was a special opening day on Saturday for boat anglers on the big three lakes: Rotoiti, Okataina, and Tarawera to enable families and everyone to participate in the festivities.

Taranaki anglers who were out enjoyed the good fishable conditions and were rewarded some success.

The weather played its part in the Wellington region, with the rivers clearing nicely and providing lots of opportunity for Wellington region anglers.

West Coast rivers and lakes were in fantastic condition, with reports of good numbers of fish caught by anglers. In addition, lots of naive trout were about, enabling new entrants to the sport to sample some success, especially with the school holidays coinciding with the start of the season.

Perfect conditions greeted North Canterbury anglers, with many anglers taking the day off work to maximise the opportunity for a fish.

Central South Island anglers were out in numbers throughout the region, enjoying the excellent weather and the opportunity to fish in waters that reopened today.

A cracker morning greeted Otago anglers; the Tairei River running clear and lots of keen anglers out making the most of the clear weather window for the next three days.

In Southland, anglers were out exploring the rivers, most of which were in good condition; spin anglers reported success due to the slight colour in the water.

Words by Fish and Game

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