Hicks, B. J., Bell, D. G., Powrie, W., & Caldwell, C. C. (2016). Comparative fish abundance in the shallow Waikato lakes Whangape and Hakanoa. ERI report No. 69. Client report prepared for the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development. Hamilton, New Zealand: Environmental Research Institute, The University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12481
The Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development contracted the University of Waikato to conduct boat electrofishing estimates of the fish abundance in lakes Whangape and Hakanoa; both are shallow, riverine lakes in the lower Waikato River floodplain and are about 2,000 years old. Lake Whangape (latitude 37.46853°S, longitude 175.05120°W) is a large (1,450 ha), shallow (maximum depth 2.7 m) lake to the west of the Waikato River; Lake Hakanoa (latitude 37.55258°S, longitude 175.16859°W) is a 52-ha lake in suburban Huntly with a maximum depth of 2.5 m. We fished 10 sites for 10 mins in both lakes Whangape and Lake Hakanoa; sites fished were 253-609 m long (1,012-2,436 m² in area) in Lake Whangape and 125-276 m long (500-1,104 m² in area) in Lake Hakanoa. No submerged aquatic macrophytes were seen in either lake. Fishing was conducted close to the water's edge in Lake Hakanoa, but the shallow margins in Lake Whangape restricted fishing at most sites to 30-70 m from the shoreline. The shoreline was much more accessible in Lake Hakanoa, and was dominated by raupo (Typha orientalis) with willows (Salix spp.) in places. Submerged tree trunks and logs in Lake Hakanoa made navigation difficult in parts of the lake margins. We caught a total of 118 fish in Lake Whangape, where shortfin eels (Anguilla australis) were the most abundant fish, and 594 fish in Lake Hakanoa, where gambusia (Gambusia affinis) the most abundant species. In Lake Whangape, shortfin eels comprised the greatest total biomass (12.4 kg), with koi carp (Cyprinus carpio) almost equally abundant (11.4 kg). In Lake Hakanoa, koi carp were most abundant (74.4 kg), followed by shortfin eels (22.1 kg). Fish were unevenly spread among sites in Lake Whangape and koi carp were relatively sparsely among sites. In Lake Hakanoa, in contrast, fish were more evenly spread among sites, but with higher concentrations of catfish (Ameiurus nebulosus) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) at a few sites. Biomass of fish caught in each of the ten 10-min fishing shots reflected the numerical distributions, with some wide variations between sites. Fish densities were generally lower in Lake Whangape than in Lake Hakanoa; however, common smelt (Retropinna retropinna) and grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) occurred in Whangape but not in Hakanoa. Areal fish biomass was dominated by shortfin eels and koi carp in Lake Whangape, but koi carp dominated the fish biomass in Lake Hakanoa, despite the smaller number of carp than eels. This was because of the large mean weight of koi carp (about 1,000 g) compared to the smaller shortfin eels (mean weight about 200 g in both lakes).
Environmental Research Institute, Faculty of Science and Engineering, The University of Waikato
© 2016 copyright with the authors.