Reel Life February 2024 - Hawkes Bay

  • Hawke's Bay
  • 26/02/2024

Reel Life February 2024 - Hawkes Bay

One Year On

Last week saw the 1st anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle which brought so much devastation to Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast and we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the loss of life, property & livelihoods to many in our region.

With over 500mm of rain overnight on the 14th of February in our Hawke’s Bay headwaters, there was catastrophic damage done to our rivers, bridges, homes, orchards, farms & fish populations.

But within this devastation, we have seen the true resilience of our people & environment and while the recovery is ongoing the signs are positive that this region is well on the way to recovery.

Because of the level of damage to our river systems, we took the precautionary approach of dropping this season’s bag limit to one and we thank those of you who understood this approach and still support the sport you love by buying a fishing licence, and thankfully the Tukituki river has still been providing some good opportunities and fish in good condition.

We are hoping to head out into the rivers to do some drift diving and population assessments in the coming weeks but this may not be possible with the levels of silt still very high in many areas.

March and April can bring some of the best fishing of the year, Trout are feeding well with lots of terrestrial activity so when nothing is hatching on the water and little is going on beneath the surface, terrestrial fly patterns can ignite some ferocious strikes! Look for areas where fish may be congregating in areas with good flow, cool and highly oxygenated water.


Davey is our new field officer and has recently become our latest warranted ranger so you may see him out on the rivers checking licence and regulation compliance.

With two anglers recently finding themselves facing court for fishing without a licence this is a timely reminder to purchase your fishing licence before leaving home and heading to the river.

As chances are when you get there you won’t have reception to jump online and get it done.

Click here to get your licence now! (insert Davey Image)

Trout Teaser

Calling all beginner & novice anglers. If you’d like to learn more about this awesome sport register & come along to our Trout Teaser event and learn more about fly & spin fishing for trout.

These informal workshops will give you the hands-on experience and knowledge to be able to grab a rod and hit the rivers. Spaces are limited so register here

If you're keen to pass on some of your knowledge we still need volunteers to help.

Email Kerry at to find out more.

Care for your catch

No matter where you fish or what you catch, these days, there seems to be a growing trend towards practicing catch and release.

All anglers – from newbies to life-long fishers – need to be aware, though, that how they handle the fish is critical to its survival after being released.

This is especially true in summer as warmer water temperatures and lower oxygen levels make recovery harder for released fish.

Here are our ‘Quick 5’ tips for handling fish with care:

  • Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.
  • Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.
  • Do not squeeze the fish and never touch the gills.
  • Photograph the fish in or over the water and make it quick - the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.
  • Revive the fish facing into the current long enough for it to regain its swimming strength.

In the unfortunate instance that a fish you intended to release does end up bleeding from the gills or cannot maintain itself upright, so long as you can legally take that fish, we recommend you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it.


Thanks to those who have been filling in the survey when you’ve been out on the rivers, it really helps us get a better understanding of what’s happening out there as we can’t be everywhere.

And to say thanks everyone who contributes to the survey over the season goes in the draw for a $200 Hunting & Fishing Voucher drawn April 30th 2024. Click here to see the survey and don’t forget to save the link for next time!

Tight lines

Kerry Meehan, Hawkes Bay Fish & Game.

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