TODAY |

Trout season kicks off with local fishing guides facing absence of overseas anglers

Today marked the first day of trout fishing season but despite the excitement from anglers some in the trout fishing community are feeling the pinch.

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Trout season underway on lakes and rivers nationwide with iwi also reminding anglers to protect our waterways. Source: 1 NEWS

As Covid-19 continues to stifle the tourism sector, the $150 million guiding market is facing a slump.

With the pandemic forcing border closures, the normal influx of international tourists keen to try their luck on New Zealand's waterways will be non-existent.

In the midst of the uncertainty, local Waikato fishing guide Brian Wilson has been forced to change tack, opening a brand new tackle shop in Turangi in an effort to stay afloat.

"Turangi is the trout centre of the world, got the mighty Tongariro river and it's something I've always wanted to do and I think Covid-19 has probably just made it happen a bit quicker," Wilson said. 

Despite the lack of tourists, there are still plenty of fish to catch.

Matt Osborne of Fish and Game says they replenish trout populations every year in order to keep up the local waterways well stocked.

"We liberate 12,500 fish a year currently and the only reason for our liberations is just to top up the fish numbers for anglers to catch, as the spawning tributaries don't quite have the scope to meet angler demand," Osborne said.

Iwi have also emphasised the need to protect waterways from biodiversity threats with Lake Tarawera kaitiaki Ken Raureti saying stringent checks need to be done before taking to the water.

"Check, clean, dry your boat, look for weeds, check the trailer and look inside your anchor well so that we don't bring an incursion of catfish, weeds and other biodiversity threats," Raureti said.

The trout fishing season lasts for six months, giving Kiwis plenty of time to try their hand at angling this summer.