Quiet start but great whitebaiting conditions

PATIENCE PAYS: Wairoa man Trevor Mihaere has had a couple of whitebait fritters so far but is hopeful of an abundant season ahead. Picture by Suzi Lewis, Wairoa Star

THE sound and smell of whitebait fritters sizzling in the pan is a reality for many, with the whitebait season now open and under way.

Department of Conservation ranger Jamie Quirk says in Gisborne so far it has been very quiet.

“The rivers in the Gisborne area are in really good condition for whitebaiting and the weather has been great, but there are not a lot of people out there fishing for them yet,” Mr Quirk said.

“I encourage people to get out there and make sure they know the rules.”

Whitebaiting is much bigger in the Wairoa area, with the Wairoa River scattered with many hopeful whitebaiters and their nets trying to catch a decent haul this week.

The whitebait season began on Tuesday and will run until November 30.

Mr Quirk said this week DoC had concentrated its efforts in the Wairoa area.

“Fishing hauls seem to be about normal and everyone down there has been behaving well to date. Long may that last.”

Fishing is permitted only between 5am and 8pm, or between 6am and 9pm when New Zealand Daylight Saving is observed.

Whitebait nets must have a mouth no larger than 4.5 m (measured around the inside of the net frame) and framing material no wider than 120mm.

Drag nets must be no taller than 1m in height and be flat when laid on a flat surface. Both whitebait nets and dragnets must be no more than 3.5m in length.

No fishing gear can exceed more than one-third of the water channel width, be used in conjunction with another person’s gear to exceed more than one-third of the channel width, or exceed 6m in total length.

No person can set or use more than one whitebait net at a time and must remain within 10 metres of the net.

Fishing gear must be removed from the water at the end of fishing or the end of the day.

No person shall fish for whitebait within 20m of any tide gate, floodgate, confluence or culvert, or fish from any bridge or from any vessel.

Nothing in these regulations permits any person fishing for whitebait to interfere with, alter or modify the natural bed or banks of any river, stream, estuary or channel.

• A full set of rules is on the Department of Conservation’s website.

THE sound and smell of whitebait fritters sizzling in the pan is a reality for many, with the whitebait season now open and under way.

Department of Conservation ranger Jamie Quirk says in Gisborne so far it has been very quiet.

“The rivers in the Gisborne area are in really good condition for whitebaiting and the weather has been great, but there are not a lot of people out there fishing for them yet,” Mr Quirk said.

“I encourage people to get out there and make sure they know the rules.”

Whitebaiting is much bigger in the Wairoa area, with the Wairoa River scattered with many hopeful whitebaiters and their nets trying to catch a decent haul this week.

The whitebait season began on Tuesday and will run until November 30.

Mr Quirk said this week DoC had concentrated its efforts in the Wairoa area.

“Fishing hauls seem to be about normal and everyone down there has been behaving well to date. Long may that last.”

Fishing is permitted only between 5am and 8pm, or between 6am and 9pm when New Zealand Daylight Saving is observed.

Whitebait nets must have a mouth no larger than 4.5 m (measured around the inside of the net frame) and framing material no wider than 120mm.

Drag nets must be no taller than 1m in height and be flat when laid on a flat surface. Both whitebait nets and dragnets must be no more than 3.5m in length.

No fishing gear can exceed more than one-third of the water channel width, be used in conjunction with another person’s gear to exceed more than one-third of the channel width, or exceed 6m in total length.

No person can set or use more than one whitebait net at a time and must remain within 10 metres of the net.

Fishing gear must be removed from the water at the end of fishing or the end of the day.

No person shall fish for whitebait within 20m of any tide gate, floodgate, confluence or culvert, or fish from any bridge or from any vessel.

Nothing in these regulations permits any person fishing for whitebait to interfere with, alter or modify the natural bed or banks of any river, stream, estuary or channel.

• A full set of rules is on the Department of Conservation’s website.

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