Entrants and organisers gathered at the Taupiri Tavern for the Kilwell Lower Waikato Trout Contest prizegiving.
This year's nine-day Kilwell Lower Waikato River Trout Contest attracted 46 keen experienced anglers from Cambridge to Te Kauwhata.
With 18 juniors and 28 adults including three in the women's section, there was strong competition for the $6000 plus in prizes.
The river was alternating between high and low levels throughout contest run from October 7 to 15 and there were 64 trout caught with 58 being browns and six rainbow.
This compares with 114 trout in 2016 and 125 caught in 2015.
Although the numbers were well down, many more fish were caught than entered, and overall they were in better condition and bigger than the previous year.
The river was badly coloured mid contest, however this cleared and apart from the usual wind and a few showers there were reasonably good conditions.
With the contest area being as usual the main stem of the Waikato from below the Karapiro dam to the Waikato heads, the fish were caught from Karapiro dam to Mercer, with the browns chasing the annual whitebait migration.
Huntly, Mercer and Rangiriri areas produced all of the best fish over 50 K factor, including the two best condition factor.
Accounting for 15 fish from the total, eight of those from Keith Handley, Huntly still deserves the title of 'Brown Trout Central'.
While most of the fish were caught from shore, some anglers used their boats to access good areas or fish from their anchored boat, and one was caught trolling.
Most trout were caught early morning or at dusk and into the evening, but a surprising amount were also taken in the middle of the day.
The more successful anglers targeted the very edge of the river, using short casts or even just trailing a lure off the rod tip to probe likely brown trout lies behind and under cover, along banks with good current.
From analysis of the total catch data this year, the average trout in this area weighs about 1.325kg, and has a condition factor of 40.56, which is a nicely coloured trout.
The prizegiving was held at Taupiri Tavern October 15. This year the competition committee made a donation to RiverCare for their Te Onetea Stream planting at Rangiriri.
The contest has been coordinated by the team of Peter Sweetman, Michael Lynch, John Charteris, William Van Zyl , Bob Gamble, Sharnay Cocup, and Steve and Tracey Farrar.
First in heaviest brown trout: 1.936 kg, Ocean Leigh Cocup from Taupiri.
Heaviest Rainbow: 0.920kg, David Geelen from Waingaro.
Best condition factor trout: 45.19, Levi King from Hamilton.
Heaviest trout: 2.044 kg, Tracey Farrar from Huntly.
Best condition factor trout: 43.27, Sharnay Cocup from Taupiri.
First in heaviest brown trout: 2.720kg, Steven Sharpe from Hamilton.
Heaviest rainbow trout: 1.460 kg, Stephen Butcher from Hamilton.
Best condition factor rainbow: 40.87, Asher Morley from Huntly.
Best condition factor brown: 55.37, Michael Lynch from Huntly.
Best condition factor overall trophy: Michael Lynch.
Overall average weight trout: 1.3k, Sharnay Cocup.
Winner: Average weight 2.007 kg, Fish Magnets from Hamilton.
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