Trout Hatchery was one of our favorite stops on our holiday. Just south of Turangi, it makes for a great break after the long desert road. Right from the start, with circling trout greeting us at the entranceway bridge, the kids were transfixed. After walking through the static displays of photos and fly fishing paraphernalia, it was on to the model river system.
We were able to walk down the ramped river system from the mountain rapids to river pools, with native fish in each to suit it's habitat. There were some of the biggest Kokopu* I have ever seen. The last time I had been there was well over 20 years ago. It was nice to see the focus had shifted from just fishing, to looking at the health of the whole ecosystem. Smaller tanks held some of the common pests like catfish and hornwort so we could see what the rivers are up against.
It was the wrong time of year to see the breeding area, but there were lots of opportunities to feed the fish**, both in the river system and in the brilliant children's pool. The pool was filled with rainbow trout waiting to be released into the wild. The water would bubble up as they snatched and turned at the food. It really felt like they were following us around the pool. Perhaps next time, we will try to book for one of the kid's fishing days too.
* a group of native fish types. The name was often anglicized to commonly known cock-a-bully.
** Note to thumb sucking kids - fish food does leave a funny taste on your thumb. This little detail did not impress either if my kids.