Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 20 January 2022

  • Wellington
  • 18/01/2022
  • Wellington

Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 20 January 2022

Anniversary Weekend Angling Bonus! 

Pictured - Andrew Harding with a lovely Wellington region backcountry brown.   

Rivers and fish in the lower North Island have received a welcome reprieve from the very warm dry conditions and low flows following the rain band that moved through today.

While that will bring many rivers up, the extra water was certainly needed in all the catchments! Given the dry ground, a lot of the rain will be absorbed and rivers should return to fishable flows quickly though.     

And with a long weekend ahead - meaning a bonus day's fishing on Monday - conditions should be set up beautifully for Wellington Anniversary Weekend angling. 

The rain and extra flow should clear through the river systems quickly and it will certainly spark the fish back into life following weeks of hot weather that can make lowland angling tough as trout become lethargic. 

While low flows and the heat have made angling in the main rivers such as the Ruamahanga and Manawatu challenging over the Christmas break, the backcountry has reportedly been firing. 

So, with an extra day off this weekend, perhaps consider heading into the hills after the rivers have cleared.      

Here's the outlook:

Hutt River and tributaries


Click here for live weather updates.

The Hutt is has a hint of a fresh running through it but at time of writing there's negligible change in colour - still clean and clear and low. The flow in the Akatarawa, Pakarutahi and other tribs is climbing but that is from very low levels so any additional water will likely be beneficial to anglers and resident trout.            

Hutt TotaraPark 4.3cumecs Birchville

The Hutt River at Totara Park this morning (Credit: Al Markham)  

Kapiti Coast 


Click here for live weather updates.

The Otaki and Ohau are on the rise this morning after last night's rain. However, with the weather having now moved through, and the preceding dry conditions, we're expecting the flows to drop back to fishable reasonably quickly. The Waikanae has barely recorded any extra flow in the catchment and at time of writing is low and clear.   

Otaki SH1 12.1cumecs Pukehinau

The Otaki River at SH1 this morning - low and clear but likely to come up (Credit: Phil Teal)




Click here for live weather updates.

The Ruamahanga is very low and currently under water-take restrictions. That will change though as a pulse of water from rain in the Tararuas this morning moves through the system, particularly the headwaters, Waiohine and Waingawa which have risen rapidly. The Tauherenikau has barely registered any of the rain though and the Waingawa is already dropping. Keep an eye on the flows because when the rivers drop the fresh will really reinvigorate the angling.   

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The Waiohine River above SH2 this morning - this will come up as the fresh moves through (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)



Click here for live weather updates.  

We're likely to see a small fresh move through the Manawatu system today following some welcome rain. All the rivers - including the mainstem and Pohangina, Orua, Mangatainoka and Makakahi - have been getting very low. The warm water conditions have affected fish activity so the flow from this brief frontal band should bring the trout back on the bite .    

IMG 9314a

The Manawatu River at Ashurst Bridge this morning (Credit: Matt Kavermann)



Click here for live weather updates.

The Central High Country rivers are low and clear at time of writing. Rangitikei (pictured below) is very clear, as are the Hautapu, Kawhatau and Moawhango. A touch of rain today and then scattered showers tomorrow could bring flows up, but that will be beneficial to the rivers and the fishing as algal growth and warm water temperatures were starting to become a problem.    

Rangitikei 2789mm Mangaweka

The Rangitikei River at Mangaweka this morning (Credit: Horizons) 


Tip of The Week - Handle With Care

IMG 1416aGently support the fish and keep it close to the water (Credit: Nick King)

Warm summer conditions can be really tough on trout but we should make every effort to look after the fish when intending to return them to the water.

Caring for fish when practicing catch-and-release begins with with your equipment.

  • Use the heaviest line you can get away with - too light a line means you will have to fight the fish for longer and that takes a toll; an exhausted fish has much less chance of surviving.
  •  Use a single hook and consider trying barbless hooks.
  •  Aim to land your fish quickly - modern reels have great drags, so make the most of these and the rod’s leverage to get the trout close enough to net.
  •  Use a net to land your fish, preferably a knotless one.
  •  Keep the trout in the net and in the water while releasing it.
  •  Unhook the fish gently, preferably with long nosed pliers or forceps. 
  • Work quickly and avoid touching the fish at all; if handling the fish avoid the gill area.
  •  If you want a photo, make it quick and get the fish back into the water without delay.
  •  Wet and cool your hands before handling the fish and consider using gloves.
  •  Ideally, take the photo of the fish still in the water.
  •  If you have to hold the fish, do it gently with one hand around the tail and the other carefully cradling the fish.


Armchair Angling 

Video 23Dec2021

Time off and summer weather means time to hit the backcountry!

Check out this gem from Gin Clear media teasing the amazing wilderness angling on offer in North Island backcountry. Click the screenshot above.    



  • Wellington Fish & Game has been advised of the following dates for flushing flows from the Moawhango Dam:

 9:00 pm Tuesday 25 January to 2:00 am Wednesday 26 January 2022
 9:00 pm Tuesday 15 February to 2:00 am Wednesday 16 February 2022
 9:00 pm Tuesday 15 March to 2:00 am Wednesday 16 March 2022
 9:00 pm Tuesday 3 May to 2:00 am Wednesday 4 May 2022 (river ecological state dependent)


  • River Bulldozing - Don't get an unwelcome surprise by Greater Wellington Regional Council's river bulldozing ruining your day on the river. The upcoming activity schedule can be found here.

Email Wellington Communications and Field Officer Hamish Carnachan if you'd like any fishing or freshwater-related items posted to this noticeboard.

​*This report was accurate at time of writing. For your safety please ensure you check the latest weather and river flow information before you head out on the water.

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