Reel Life April 2021

  • Hawke's Bay
  • 15/04/2021

Reel Life April 2021

With all waters still open until the end of June, the next few months are a great time to fish as trout start to move upriver in preparation for spawning.

This often creates large congregations of trout in pools higher up in river catchments as they hold up, ready for their next run further upriver.

This will be the last Reel Life for a little while so good luck for the rest of the seasons fishing and good luck to those of you gearing up for the game bird season.

Despite didymo not yet being found in the North Island, as users of the Hawkes Bay waterways, we all need to ensure that we do our bit to keep it that way.

Several of the Hawkes Bay rivers are near each other so no matter what activity you are taking part in, it is a timely reminder for everyone to ensure that they follow the CHECK, CLEAN and DRY process when moving from one waterway to the next.

Winter licenses available!

April / May are two of the best months to fly fish in this region and winter is a great time to fish Tūtira.

Winter licences enable anglers to fish from April through to the end of September (6months) at a cost of $80 for an adult.

For those of you who are yet to fish this season and are keen to get out over the next few months, be sure to purchase your winter fishing licence and make the most of what this region has to offer.

Fishing Report – Blair Whiting

As we creep closer to the winter months trout begin to move higher and higher in the systems and are feeding less as they go.

After a full summer of feeding, rainbow trout are on average much heavier than other times of the year.

If you want to catch a rainbow over 6lb this is the period to do it.

April has continued the trend of a very dry summer, with not much rainfall to report.

Freshes have quickly receded and allowed algae to form once again.

This is quite unusual this late in the year.

Temperatures have been high into the 20s keeping the growth up.

Hopefully, the rivers get a flush soon.


This river got a nice flush on the 12th of April and got rid of a good majority of algae off the bottom leaving the trout much easier to fish to.

It is currently sitting at a very manageable 7m/sec and is split up into three or four braids.

Fish are spread out right across the river with the best areas above Fernhill fishing very well in the Autumn.

You’re not going to see too many anglers on the river so it’s well worth a look.

On the right day, you can expect to spot more than 40 fish.

Typically, a small pheasant tail is my favourite sunk with the use of a 3.3mm tungsten beaded nymph.


The Tūtaekurīis the gem of Autumn and it is showing all the signs of the big rainbows waiting to be caught.

The only problem is the lack of water!

I recently fished a stretch above Puketapu, and I am happy to report I spotted over 35 rainbows in one 2km section.

With the lack of depth, all the fish had hunkered down into very snaggy and current heavy lies.

It required some particularly good casting and heavy nymphs to reach many of the fish.

Of the five fish I hooked only one made it to the bank.

The rest subsequently tore off into snags or found the limit of my 4lb tippet as I was trying to stop them.

These fish are strong and large.

Most would be up at 5lb if in good condition and there are plenty more hanging about deep in the pools up at the 6lb mark.

One tip I have would be to plan out your fight before casting to a fish.

If there is a snag nearby, chances are that fish will go for it.

Be ready to put the brakes on.

Plenty of other anglers have had great fishing down lower and I don’t think I have seen any adult fish under 4lb.

Tukituki / Central Hawkes Bay

The Tukituki has fired into gear with a range of excellent captures.

Five pounders, six pounders and even rainbows into the seven-pound range have been landed recently which is great to see.

Brown trout continue to be elusive as ever, but this is probably the best place to go looking close to Napier/Hastings.

It will usually only be one per session with lots of rainbows between.

The trick is to find one in a feeding mood or throw something like a big dry over their head.

Keith Bedford showed this concept off beautifully with a stunningly marked brown that he lured out from the willows on the upper Manawatu.

He used a stimulator to fool this excellent fish.

There isn’t a whole lot of water in any of the systems around Central Hawkes Bay so hopefully some rain turns up soon.

The Waipawa had dried up completely near Highway 50 where it had been flowing underground.

Down lower the yearlings have been popping up all over the place so expect a few smaller fish in your catch.

Above Right: Keith with his brown from the Tukituki.


Keith with a nice conditioned rainbow 1

Keith with a nice, conditioned rainbow to round out his day

We do not get too many reports from the Mohaka but this month I am pleasantly surprised to see lots of happy anglers fishing on the main river.

With the low levels, it’s perfect for a rafting trip and excellent for walking upstream.

The Mohaka can be a difficult beast to fish when there is a bit of water moving through, so crossing is a lot easier during a low rainfall Autumn like we are having.

Watch out for the very slippery boulder sections.

Rainbow trout in the lower sections have been quite impressive in condition; lots over the five-pound mark and very fat.

There seems to be a heap of yearlings present too.

Nymphs are the go-to method to catch the trout.

At this time of year, a mayfly or stonefly would be a good choice.

Do not discount the dry flies either; on some warm days, I can still hear the odd cicada chirping.

Maybe that’s just my imagination!

Tight Lines

Nick Page, Hawkes Bay Fish & Game Officer.

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