As Christmas approaches, many holiday makers and more than a few handy fishermen flock to the Lake Taupo district to, among other things get out on the boat and throw a rod over the side for a spot of trout fishing.
Trout numbers each year are not left to chance, with staff at the Tongariro Trout Centre just south of Turangi on State Highway One taking on the responsibility of breeding more through their hatchery each year.
The centre is run by The Tongariro National Trout Centre Society, and caters to many ages, with kid fishing days on every day during the school holidays for a $45 fee. Five to 16-year-olds can hone their skills with a rod and catch a trout of their own.
Manager Bevin Severinson is tasked with keeping on top of the demand during the kid fishing days and managing the facilities.
“We have people lined up for our Take a Kid fishing days, he says.
“I’ve even come in to find people waiting, for the chance to not just catch, but also fillet and woodsmoke their catch as well at a catchment area set aside at the centre.”
No jigging or harling here, just a safe environment for kids to start out or further their journey with rod in hand.
Adults don’t get the chance to join in on the fishing but can experience the museum and aquarium on-site.
It’s fair to say the place has its fair share of visitors, but there is more in store as early next year, the facilities will take on some new tenants, with the addition of a whio creche beginning onsite. This will be the country’s largest Whio Creche with juvenile 3-4 month old blue ducks brought in from around New Zealand to prepare and get them used to the outdoor surroundings before being released back into the original river systems where the eggs were collected from.
The expectation is visitors will be able to get close to these beautiful birds in a controlled and safe environment, free of the natural predators these eggs and young birds experience in the wild.
“Whio live next to our waterways,” says Bevin.
“This is a nationwide program, we get them from Mount Bruce in the Wairarapa, as well as Auckland Zoo – all over the country.”
With this level of detail and time going into keeping whio and trout numbers up in Lake Taupo, perhaps we’ll hear more stories about ‘the one that got away’?