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Lake Rotorua Trout Fishing

Lake Rotorua is an excellent fishery holding very high stocks of both brown and rainbow trout that can be caught on a variety of methods. Open all year it provides ample opportunity for the dedicated angler as well as those seeking to catch their foirst fish. One of New Zealand's most prolific lakes.

Lake Rotorua access map

Lake Rotorua topo map

Photos of Lake Rotorua and tributaries
View maps View photos
Fish type Brown and rainbow trout.
Situation Lake Rotorua is a relatively shallow lake connected to Lake Rotoiti at its northern end by the Ohau Channel. The township of Rotorua is situated at the southern extremity of the lake and a number of small settlements have developed around both eastern and western shores from this town.
Maps

Access map
Access map with topography

LINZ topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260 series)

Check conditions

See the Environment Bay of Plenty website for:

- A report card on the lake water quality

- Lake use map and lake closure notices

View the MetService weather forecast for Rotorua.

F&G pamphlet Rotorua Lakes access pamphlet >>>
Description

Lake Rotorua is the largest lake in the Rotorua Lakes district but is also one of the shallowest, being only 25 metres deep at its deepest. At the southern end is the township of Rotorua though most of the lake is surrounded by open pasture land. Being a shallow lake means that the water temperature rises rapidly during the warmer summer months which can result in an algae bloom that drastically reduces water visibility. The problem of this algae bloom is being addressed at present and appears to be declining.

There are a number of tributaries feeding into Lake Rotorua that provide excellent spawning conditions, making this a truly wild fishery. A large number of hatchery-reared trout are released into the lake each year as well, ensuring this lake has one of the highest catch rates of any in the district.

Lake Rotorua fishery provides anglers with excellent fishing throughout the year. While most fish caught trolling or harling from boats, there is excellent shore-based fly fishing and spinning as well.

Fish numbers and size Rainbow trout make up the bulk of the population and within the 1.5 to 2 kg range. There is however an excellent population of large brown trout averaging around 3 kg. Fish numbers are very high.
Access

With a road running around the lake and its proximity to Rotorua township and other settlements, access to the shoreline is excellent. For those wishing to fish by boat there are a number of public boat ramps around the lake. There is good easy access to most of the stream mouths, all of which can provide excellent and good opportunities.

See the Lake Rotorua access map.

Methods

Lake Rotorua has been described as an angling paradise as it provides opportunities for all fishing methods. Trolling and harling is permitted anywhere on the lake except within 200 metres of the major tributary stream mouths. Trolling is very productive though anglers may need to use leadline to get the lures down to the correct depth.

The lake can be easily and safely waded into and many stream mouths can provide excellent fishing throughout the year for those fly and nymph fishing.

The fishing year

During spring, smelt move in close to the shore to spawn and the trout will follow to feed on them. This provides excellent opportunities for the shoreline angler and particularly those wishing to target the large brown trout that come close to the shore during this time.

Over the summer excellent fishing can be found at the stream mouths as the trout movement to take advantage of the cooler water that these areas provide.

During the summer, especially when the lake warms up, fishing up the Waiteti Stream is also very good and 8 - 9lb trout are not unusual in front of the Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park camp office. One of the pools there consistently has 20 or more good-sized fish between January and March.

During autumn as the weather cools to move back into the deeper parts of the lake many the trolling is often the most successful method. Larger trout also congregate at the stream mouths preparing to run upstream to spawn.

During the winter months trolling is very productive. As the main spawning runs occurred during this time large numbers of trout can be targeted as the move up the tributary streams.

Recommended tackle

When trolling, it is usually necessary to get the lure down between four to 6 metres below the surface. This is usually done by using a leadline (play out between 4 - 6 colours), a deepwater express line or lead core line and a leader of around 3 to 5 metres.

Those wishing to fish with a fly are best served by using a weight six or seven rod and a floating or slow sinking line.

Recommended lures

Dry flies: During the late summer large terrestrial insects such as Cicadas, Blowflies and Wasps are blown onto the water and will often attract cruising trout. Any pattern that represents these insects can be successful under the right conditions.

Nymphs: Lightly weighted nymphs such as Pheasants Tail, Hare and Copper, and Halfbacks can be very successful in fishing round the stream mouths and weed beds when using a floating line.

Wet flies / Streamers: During spring and summer when the trout are chasing smelt, use flies such as a light Rabbit, Grey Ghost, Parsons Glory during the day, and dark patterns such as Fuzzy Wuzzy and Scotch Poacher at night. Other patterns such as Hamill's Killer and Mrs Simpson work well throughout the year.

Spinners: Spinners such as the Black Toby, Rapala, Cobra and Tasmanian Devil all work well at different times during the year. Different colours seem to work better than others at times so it may be necessary to experiment throughout the day.

Tributaries

There are a large number of tributaries that feed into Lake Rotorua. While none of these is large they are all important in that they provide sporting water for the trout as well as bringing cooler water into the lake during the warmer months.

The major tributaries are the:
- Ngongotaha Stream
- Waiteti Stream

- the Utuhina Stream

- Hamurana stream.

The Ohau Channel drains Lake Rotorua into Lake Rotoiti and is a major fishery in its own right as trout move through it to spawn in the Lake Rotorua tributaries.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Lake Rotorua except the areas below
Region Eastern region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Trout: 8
Brown trout: 2
Size limit (cm) 350mm minimum
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Lake Rotorua, within 200m of Awahou Stream mouth
Region Eastern region regulations
Season All year
Methods Fly fishing only.
Fishing for trout from an unanchored boat is prohibited.
Bag limit Trout: 8
Brown trout: 2
Size limit (cm) 350mm minimum
Regulations (3)
Applicable to Lake Rotorua, within 200m of Ohau Channel entrance
Region Eastern region regulations
Season All year
Methods Fly fishing only.
Fishing for trout from an unanchored boat is prohibited.
Bag limit Trout: 8
Brown trout: 2
Size limit (cm) 350mm minimum
Regulations (4)
Applicable to Waters that are within a 200m radius around the centre of the Utuhina, Waiteti, Ngongataha and Hamurana Stream mouths in Lake Rotorua.
Region Eastern region regulations
Season All year
Methods Fishing for trout from an unanchored boat is prohibited.
Bag limit Trout: 8
Brown trout: 2
Size limit (cm) 350mm minimum
Regulations (5)
Applicable to Lake Rotorua's inflowing tributary streams (except closed areas - see below)
Region Eastern region regulations
Size limit (cm) 350mm minimum
Regulations (6)
Applicable to The following streams and their tributaries which flow into Lake Rotorua:
- the Waiawhiro, Waiohewa, Waingaehe, Waimata and Waikuta streams
- the Hamurana stream above the Hamurana Road bridge
- the Awahou Stream above the Hamurana Road bridge
Region Eastern region regulations
Season Closed
Methods None
Bag limit 0
Size limit (cm)

N/A

 


Dennis Ward

Marama Resort

Marama Resort

Peppers on the Point

Peppers on the Point

Cruise and Fish

 

Miles Rushmer

Waiteti Trout Stream Holiday Park

Hamills Rotorua

 

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