Survey reveals decline in lake’s catch last season

Lake Wanaka anglers spent an average of seven hours fishing for every fish caught last season,...
Lake Wanaka anglers spent an average of seven hours fishing for every fish caught last season, Otago Fish & Game officer Ben Sowry says. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/BRUCE QUIREY
Lake Wanaka’s trout have been on a go-slow and playing hard to get, a fisheries survey of 211 anglers has revealed.

This summer, Otago Fish & Game officers will be monitoring the health of the lake fishery to work out why trout went off the bite and were in poorer condition during the 2021-22 fishing season.

Anglers spent an average of seven hours fishing for every fish caught on the lake last season and many were concerned for the fishery, Otago Fish & Game officer Ben Sowry said.

"Catch rates fluctuate from season to season, but we want to look closely at the health of this renowned fishery," he said.

Probable influences included the hot summer temperatures from January to March as fish moved deeper to cool waters.

The brown trout catch rate in Lake Wanaka sank from 0.13 fish per hour in 2020-21 to 0.06 last season.

For rainbow trout, the rate fell from 0.09 to 0.07.

Fish & Game study projects include underwater acoustic surveys, a monitoring workshop, angler interviews and catch monitoring.

The acoustic surveys will study trout and salmon populations in Lakes Wanaka, Wakatipu and Hawea.

Fish & Game has run angler surveys and weighed catches from Lake Wanaka for the past three fishing seasons.

The survey interviewed 211 anglers, who put in a total of 234 hours of fishing. Almost 190 caught no fish.

Only one salmon was recorded during surveys. However, Fish & Game received many reports of salmon caught during the season.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter