Fish numbers are on the rise again in two small Northland lakes that used to be a food-basket for tangata whenua.
Fish and Game Northland says the Kai Iwi lakes, north of Dargaville, have turned a corner for trout fishing and native species since the removal of pine trees around their shores.
The local council was criticised for denuding a popular camping spot by chopping down the trees.
But Fish and Game says the tree roots took up a lot of ground water over the years and limited natural run-off, affecting lake levels.
It says with native trees replacing the pines, the lakes are healthier, the trout are heavier and more plentiful, and native species such as dwarf inanga are thriving.
Fish and Game says koura, or freshwater crayfish, are also being seen at night in their thousands.
Niwa says dwarf inanga look like inanga, one of the whitebait species, but are found in only 13 lakes near Dargaville.