Huge Catch as Trout Contest Leaps in Popularity

Thursday 20 October 2011, 12:46PM

By Fish and Game NZ


Some of the winners of the Lower Waikato Trout Fishing Contest.
Some of the winners of the Lower Waikato Trout Fishing Contest. Credit: Fish and Game NZ


The annual Lower Waikato Trout Fishing Contest 2011 turned up a “mammoth” catch of nearly 130 trout – after a big jump in the number of anglers competing.

The week long contest ran from October 10th to Sunday October 16th, attracting nearly 80 anglers from as far away as Auckland.

“The contest just goes from strength to strength,” says spokesman and committee member Michael Lynch. “Keen interest from anglers was shown by a dramatic increase in numbers, up 40%, and excellent sponsorship means the competition is in very good heart.”

This year there was an even split between juniors and adults, including a new teams and ladies section. Anglers competed strongly for $5,000 worth of prizes. Kilwell NZ was the main sponsor, providing exceptional value with a wide range of prizes, Michael says.

“The river obliged, maintaining a good level throughout the 6 ½ day contest run, with a mammoth 126 trout caught – 120 browns and 6 rainbow trout. Run as usual from below the Karapiro Dam to the Waikato heads, the fish were caught almost throughout this stretch of river.

“Many of the locals prospected and found exciting new fishing grounds as they searched out the sea run browns chasing the annual whitebait migration. Huntly produced the most fish, followed in order by Hamilton, Rangiriri, Ngaruawahia, Taupiri, Cambridge, Ohinewai, Meremere, Karapiro, Mercer and Horotiu. ”

The bigger, better conditioned fish came from the northern areas but Huntly still came out well ahead for the total number of fish caught, with 32 trout landed locally, Michael says. Nearly all the fish were caught from shore, with eight caught trolling from boats. “Many of the more successful anglers used their boats to access new areas or fish from their anchored boat.”

The district is a top spin fishery, and this year the most popular tackle was still spinners or lures, followed by flies with split shot, then softbaits, and finally, worms or live bait. Most trout were caught early morning or at dusk and into the evening, although a surprising number were taken in the middle of the day.

Analysing the total catch, the average trout proved to be about 48cm long, weighing 1.3kg (nearly 3lb), with a condition factor of just over 40 – which is a nicely coloured trout.

The coordinators began working on the contest early in the year, with John Charteris, Peter Sweetman, Michael Lynch, William Van Zyl and Bob Gamble sitting on the committee. Weigh stations were set up at Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’, Taupiri Tavern and at Fish City in Kahikatea Drive, Hamilton.

Michael Lynch says a “brilliant” free trout workshop was again run at the Ngaruawahia RSA, with a highlight the new trout cuisine cooked Mike Geelen of Kitchen Services. The workshop also covered fly tying with Bert Robinson and Steve Farrar, softbaits and other tackle, and ecology and results from trout samples by John Charteris, and a practical demonstration on the river. The popular trout methods booklet for the Waikato river, which has been revised, was also given out.

This year a keen group of 16 youngsters from Hamilton’s Edventure programme joined up. One youngster, Matt Singers, caught his first trout, and their programme director Mark Bridger also entered a fish. The prize giving was held at Taupiri Tavern on Sunday 16th in the garden bar, and free barbecue and smoked trout kept the crowd happy.

Michael Lynch has paid tribute to all the contestants “who helped make such a wonderful competition, and to all the committee for their hard work, especially John Charteris. Helping the committee we had Bert Robinson from Rotorua with all his fishing knowledge and Graham Bowen on spread sheeting and computer work - well done. William Van Zyl was official photographer and designed the poster, while Bob Gamble took care of the venue preparation at the Tavern and hosted us very well. Thanks too to the staff of Sweetman’s, especially Sharon for handling the entries and finances, and workers at Taupiri Tavern, Ngaruawahia RSA and Fish City. Many thanks to the media for great media coverage – including local papers, and magazines.”


Results for the 2011 competition:

Juniors (39 entries, 28 fish caught)

1st heaviest brown trout- Chris Warne (Cambridge) 2.145kg $250 package

2nd heaviest brown trout- Georgia Sharpe (Hamilton) 2.018kg $150 package

3rd heaviest brown trout- Georgia Sharpe (Hamilton) 1.740kg $100 package

Best condition factor trout- Mitchell King (Hamilton) 60.75 condition factor $100 package

Heaviest rainbow trout- Chris Warne (Cambridge) .72 kg $100 package

Ladies (6 entries, 5 trout caught)

Heaviest trout- Andrea Sharpe (Hamilton) 1.520kg $200 package

Best condition factor trout- Barbara Reid (Hamilton) 59.58 condition factor $100 package

Adults (38 entries, 98 trout caught)

1st heaviest brown trout- Joseph Bagley (Huntly) 3.13kg $350 package

2nd heaviest brown trout- Troy Garrett (Huntly) 2.630kg $250 package

3rd heaviest brown trout- Troy Garrett (Huntly) 2.610 kg $100 package

Best condition factor trout- Joseph Bagley (Huntly) 66.15 condition factor $200 package

Heaviest rainbow trout- Chris Warne (Hamilton) 1.455kg $200 package

Average weight trout grand prize

The average weight trout in this year’s competition for the adults section was 1.352 kg, and the closest angler was Steve Baranyai of Te Kauwhata, who picked up the major prize of a $500 sporting voucher to be redeemed at Sweetman’s. This is co-sponsored by Sweetman’s and Taupiri Tavern.

In the juniors, the average weight fish was 1.194 kg, and Flynn Rendall of Ohinewai was the happy recipient of a $250 Sweetman’s voucher, sponsored by Huntly Fish Game and Clay Target Club.

Team Section

The new 4 person teams section drew 6 entries, with the Sharpe team “Fish Magnets” producing 22 fish, O’Hara’s team 20, Rendall family “Amnesia” team 11, Mike Geelen’s team “Maggots” 10, Robert Warne’s “Rob’s Mob” 9, and the “Lynch Mob” 3.

However the prizes are for the best average weight of the total fish caught per team, so the prizes went to -

Team Section 1st – Fish Magnets (Hamilton) - Average weight 1.623kg, $500 prize of 4 x $125 packages

Team Section 2nd – Lynch Mob (Huntly) - Average weight 1.410kg, $200 prize of 4 x $50 packages

Kotare Ventures Best Condition Factor overall trophy

Presented for the first time this year, the stunning trophy donated by Elva Gouk and John Charteris of Taupiri was won by Joseph Bagley with his best fish of 66.15 condition factor.

$100 packages of either rod and reel combos or fishing tackle were given to Alec Bennett (Hamilton) who was narrowly pipped for 2nd in the rainbow trout category, Brian Taplin- 7 fish in the competition, Chris Annandale (3 fish), Hayley Miller (2 fish), Sharnay Cocup Jnr, Rob’s Mob team, and Steve Farrar.

The many remaining packs and spot prizes from Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’ were then balloted out to the contestants present, so no one went without a prize.

Although there were no prizes for most fish caught, the following adult anglers did very well - Troy Garrett - 22 fish for the contest, Joseph Bagley with 19, Steven Sharpe with 14, Brian Taplin with his 7, Robert Warne 5.

In the juniors, Taylor Rendall and Georgia Sharpe caught 4 each, Chris Warne and David Geelen had 3 each, Hayley Miller, Mitchell King, Ethan & Flynn Rendall 2 each, and the other 6 successful anglers-Sarah Miller, Sharnay Cocup, Courtney Spencer, Matt Singers, Jayden North, & Zyon Hughes one each.

A fly rod and reel was also raffled at the prize giving, and the lucky winner was Jim Rendall of Huntly.

The contest committee has urged support for the following sponsors made the competition possible:


Kotare Ventures Charter Boats, Waikato District Council, Beddis Laser Electrical, Graham Gunn Builder, Fish City Hamilton, North Waikato News, Chatter Newspaper, Geelen Kitchen Services.

Hunting & Fishing Te Rapa, Huntly Lions Club , NZ Fishing News, Ngaruawahia RSA, Black Magic, Waikato Times.

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