Archives For fishing

by Anna McKnight, DOC Community Relations Ranger

The famous Trout Centre ‘fish outs’

The Tongariro National Trout Centre is world famous in the central North Island for its kid’s fish outs.

One on one time with volunteers crazy about fly fishing

Fishing for your first trout with a volunteer angler is a big part of local identity – you catch a trout at the children’s pond when you are young, and then grow up and go on to take your own children and grandchildren.

Kids fishing – an intergenerational affair

Tongariro Trout Centre Society president Rob Lester explains, “I think we are the luckiest volunteers when you see the delight on the children’s faces”.

There are seven fish outs a year that attract up to 200 children at a time and bring visitors in from out of town.

Local kids catch their first trout on kid’s fish out days

Tongariro Trout Centre Society

The Tongariro Trout Centre Society was incorporated in 2001 to develop, promote and expand the Tongariro National Trout Centre. In partnership with DOC and Genesis Energy, the Centre has become a place that not only promotes the Taupō Fishery, but is also a leading advocate for freshwater conservation.

Volunteers with Genesis Energy on sharing the river

History of the Tongariro Trout Centre

The land was originally gifted from the Downs family and in 1926 a trout hatchery was established. The site was chosen for the purity and temperature of the water from the Waihukahuka spring and stream—cool, clear and clean.

Blue Gold – interpreting the importance of freshwater

In 2003 the River Walk building was opened to help promote the Taupō Fishery.

The Taupō for Tomorrow education programme classroom was built in 2006 and named after the late kaumātua, Whakapumautanga Downs.

2011 saw the opening of the Genesis Energy Freshwater Aquarium where you can get an up-close and personal experience with many of our native species such as kōkopu and kōaro.

The visitor centre was also upgraded with interpretation that includes a 20 minute film and a series on freshwater conservation titled ‘Blue Gold’.

Whio/blue duck

Whio (blue duck) can now be seen from the grounds of the Tongariro Trout Centre due to a local collaborative effort on predator trapping. It has hosted Whio Family Day for the last three years.

More than a trout on the end of the line

It is exciting to see the Tongariro Trout Centre not only giving us the buzz of a trout on the end of our line, or even bringing us face to face with a kōkopu or whio for the first time, but leaving us with a deep understanding of the importance of clean freshwater for our future.

The children’s pond in action

Working together, in partnership with our volunteers, is fast tracking us towards our dreams and goals to preserve our freshwater for future generations.

The Tauranga DOC team have been all at sea lately – literally.  

Oscar the seal makes friends wherever he goes

DOC boat the 'Rewa' heads out to Tuhua Marine Reserve for a compliance check

Rangers Dan and Dave have been speaking at the local Bluewater Classic & One Base fishing competition briefings and regularly patrolling the Tuhua Marine Reserve to make sure that everyone knows where the marine reserve is and keeps their fishing rods out of it.  Dan is also making preparations for next week’s annual fish survey in the reserve with marine studies staff and students from the Bay of Plenty Polytech.  

Tuhua Marine Reserve is one of over 30 no-take marine reserves established around New Zealand to protect marine organisms and their habitats for future generations to come.  It’s a great place to dive or snorkel and enjoy some magical underwater scenery.  

Ranger Laura has been catching up with our local permitted dolphin watching operators to make sure they’re keeping the best interests of the dolphins at heart. Commercial operators can help to protect dolphins by giving people the opportunity to see, fall in love with and learn about them.  The permits we issue and monitor require operators to meet set conditions and follow the Marine Mammals Protection Regulations so that their impacts on the dolphins are minimised.  

All boaties can help to look after whales, dolphins and seals by making sure that they know and follow the rules.  The regulations include rules about safe boat speed, distance and angles of approach so that people can enjoy watching whales, dolphins and seals without causing them harm.  

Oscar in action at the Maketu Kaimoana Festival

Awhi helps a young fisherman to learn about marine reserve rules a size limits

Our Maori Cadet – Ranger Awhi & I took Oscar the seal to the Maketu Kaimoana Festival last weekend.  We use him to help us educate people  about marine reserves and marine mammal protection.  We also set up a fishing game so that kids (and their parents) could learn the no-fishing rule in marine reserves and practice measuring fish to check if they meet the Ministry of Fisheries size limits for recreational fishing.   

With Seaweek (7-14 March) coming up  I’ve got more work for Oscar this weekend – I’ll be taking him down to the Mount Maunganui Underwater Club Clean-up at Pilot Bay on Saturday to meet the locals there.  There’s lots happening around the country for Seaweek – its all listed on the website: www.seaweek.org.nz.  Some of the Tauranga event line-up includes:  

  • a public ‘virtual tour’ of the Tuhua Marine Reserve that Ranger Pete is organising on Thursday 11th March where our marine scientist – Kim Young, will share underwater photos and the findings from over a decade of fish monitoring in the reserve
  • A Sea Bird Cruise with the South Sea Sailing Company and local bird expert Tony Crocker on 13th March
  • a marine photography field trip with Dr Kim Westerskov and Captain Graeme Butler on 21 March & 11 April

Aside from Seaweek, March is a good month in Tauranga for getting involved in or learning more about caring for our environment. The Tauranga Environment Centre have put together an amazing calendar of events for “Sustainable Backyards” month; from an educational harbour cruise or guided bush walk to organic farm tours and cheese-making workshops, there’s something for everyone – make sure you check it out.  

Sea you out there!

I’m all for a whitebait fritter, but I wonder how many people realise that they are eating the young of some of our rare native fish as they chow down on this kiwi classic?

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