Reel Life October 2023

  • Taranaki
  • 19/10/2023

Reel Life October 2023

Above right: A prime early season ringplain rainbow (Photo Jack Ogden).

October has been marked by typical spring weather, with a series of fronts moving through as the El Niño weather pattern returns.

The fronts have been fast-moving, producing only minor freshes and streams and rivers have been clearing and falling quickly back towards baseflows.

The regular freshes have kept streambeds largely clear of accumulated algal growth, and this has helped maintain high-quality aquatic insect communities, with plenty of Deleatidium and Coloburiscus mayflies present.

Trout have had ample opportunity to feed up large since the end of spawning and anglers are reporting that early-season fish are in exceptional condition.

The lack of large winter and spring floods has also been favourable for trout spawning and fry survival, with early indications that 2023 will be a year of good recruitment to the fishery.

Current conditions in small and medium-sized streams and in the upper reaches of the larger ones will definitely suit the flyfisher wanting to sight-fish to large trout on their feeding lies.

It’s just a matter of keeping an eye on the weather and stream flows:

Spin fishing with small veltic or mepps lures will also take fish, as will the use of soft baits in the middle and lower reaches of the larger rivers and streams.

For anglers wanting a backcountry fishing experience within an hour’s drive of Hawera, river flows and water temperatures in the lower Patea River below Patea Dam have been looking good of late.

With flows sitting well below 30 m3/s (and often on weekends) the reach between McColl’s Bridge and the dam face will be well worth a visit and may turn up fish of trophy size.

There will also be tagged brown and rainbow trout present after five years of releases (2017-21), as well as some larger adipose fin-clipped rainbows from Fish & Game’s Hawera hatchery.

We’d certainly appreciate any feedback on the fishery, including photos of fish caught.

The landowner says anglers are welcome to park on the side of the road away from gates and walk across to the river, but please, no dogs.

To check out river flows at McColl’s Bridge, see:

Lake Rotomanu Family Trout Fishing Day – Saturday 28th October

Grab your fishing gear and your kids or grandkids and come along to Lake Rotomanu in Fitzroy, New Plymouth on Saturday 28th October for the 4th annual Family Trout Fishing Day.

Taranaki Fish and Game is funding the release of 500 rainbow trout into the lake for the event, which will run from 8am to 1pm in conjunction with the Inglewood Rod, Gun & Recreation Club and Taranaki Hunting & Fishing.

For children under 12 on 1st October, head to the Fish & Game website at: to obtain their free fishing licence.

Children 12 and over can register at Taranaki Hunting & Fishing stores in the Valley or Oceanview Parade, New Plymouth (067579676) and we’ll write them out a permit that allows them to fish at Lake Rotomanu until 31st August 2024.

Permits can be collected on the day from the Rod & Gun Club marquee tent located on the grass near the boat ramp.

Bring what fishing gear you have to the Rod & Gun Club tent and volunteers will assist with gear set-up, lures, bait etc. Families will then be able to distribute themselves at suitable fishing sites around the lake.

If you have a supply of garden worms, they are a great bait for trout and perch. Fish & Game has 100 spinners to give away to get you going and Taranaki Hunting & Fishing will have ready-to-go spin fishing sets available for purchase from $40. There will also be free chocky fish and BBQ sausages available at the tent courtesy of Hynds New Plymouth, so come along and have an enjoyable day with the kids.

Have your say on the next steps for fresh water.

The Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) is seeking community feedback on the vision for each of the six Taranaki Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) and the environmental outcomes that the Council will be aiming for.

Map showing the 6 Taranaki Freshwater Management Units (FMUs)

Community feedback from anglers and hunters is vital, as the vision and outcomes will shape how the TRC plans to look after freshwater now and into the future.

The six FMUs include the Patea and Waitara River catchments, the Volcanic Ringplain, the Northern and Southern Hill Country and the Coastal Terraces.

To find out more about the FMUs, the TRC has created web pages for each of the six areas.

There you'll find discussion documents with in-depth detail about each FMU and the science behind the TRC’s plans to look after freshwater as well as links to a survey that closes on 27 October.

We strongly encourage you to take the survey for the areas that resonate with you and share your thoughts

Tight Lines

Allen Stancliff, Taranaki Fish & Game

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