A Rotorua man poaching trout using a home-made spear has been caught by Fish and Game officers.
Eastern Region Fish and Game officers were called to investigate reports of illegal fishing in the region last weekend, and in one of three incidents, found a man poaching fish in the upper Waiteti Stream with a crudely fashioned spear.
Fish and Game Officer Anthony van Dorp says the weapon was seized without incident.
He said it was considered a serious matter, especially near a stream which had been closed to protect spawning trout.
He said it was one of three reports that rangers responded to last weekend across the region, as people phoned in to report suspected poaching.
"The rules are in place to protect spawning trout and their habitat and it's pleasing to receive such calls from the public,'' Mr van Dorp said.
During the spawning season Fish and Game officers have kept a close eye on spawning streams, which has included using the latest camouflaged "poacher cams'' hidden in the bush.
The second call out was to a vehicle parked near a stream closed over the spawning season but officers arrived just minutes late to catch the culprit.
The next was to a report of illegal fishing in the Ohau Channel.
Mr van Dorp said officers were considering an appropriate charge for the spear fishing incident but were hopeful of a prosecution.
In the Ohau Channel incident Mr van Dorp said they had a very good idea of the alleged offender who was spotted fishing out of season using illegal tackle.
He said officers were collecting evidence in the hope of another prosecution.