Reel Life September 2021

  • Hawke's Bay
  • 30/08/2021

Reel Life September 2021

Here we go again! Covid is back and the familiar jingle of the 1 pm updates provide us with an unwanted sense of déjà vu.

With the government clarification on fishing rules, it’s time to get out and explore your local spots.

Luckily Hawke’s Bay is blessed with a lot of good lowland fisheries so anglers needn’t venture too far from home.

Check out our Facebook page as we have uploaded an article on local spots close to our town centres.

Even though you can now get out fishing, here are a few other ideas to fill in your day while we transition through the covid levels.

Things to pass the time

  • Refill that fly box – take the time to tie those flies you have been thinking about.
  • Practice some casting in the garden (if space allows! Watch out for the cat!)
  • Wash gear/do any needed maintenance.
  • Give your mates a call, especially those on their own just to make sure they are doing ok as it’s an uncertain time for all of us. Maybe plan your first trip together once lockdown is over.

Fishing Report August – Blair Whiting

This can be one of the toughest months for fishing as many fish are up spawning in the tributaries. Even though this may be the case, plenty of younger fish winter over around our local townships.


Winter seems to not affect this brilliant little fishery as much as the larger shingle river beds.

With a nice flow rate of just 4.6m/sec, it’s been staying ahead of the rainfall and is more than fishable.

Compared to the summer months, the fish density tends to be a lot lower.

Trout aren’t out in the open feeding like you’d expect on a summer day either.

Most fish are found close to the willow trees in the deeper water feeding mostly on passing caddis and mayfly nymphs.

As the whitebait begin to run, we will see the odd sea-run brown in the lower reaches too. Keep an eye out.


The Ngaruroro, like most years, is sitting quite milky at around 50m/sec flowrate since the last rainfall.

The reason why the Ngaruroro gets so dirty is the huge amount of water (including seasonal snowmelt) that has to drain from the Kaweka ranges.

My plan when fishing water like this is to find still water.

Get your favourite spinner (like a black and gold toby) or fly (My choice would be a Black Woolly bugger) and deeply sink it into one of these locations.

While the trout wait for flows to drop, they will be found on the edges and in the backwaters.

These locations are created when the river flow recedes and leaves a small lake that is connected to the main flow.

If there is some cover and depth to the water, I would bet there are trout waiting to be caught.

Unlike the Tutaekuri, fish density tends to be quite high even through winter. Fish just tend to be harder to find in milky water.


HBRL sept 2021 Photo 1

Jerry Flay caught this Excellent hen in the Tukituki River

Winter fishing on the Tuki can be incredibly successful.

Most riffles and runs hold fish year-round, but at this time of year, you can find some unexpectedly large brown trout hanging out quite close to the banks.

Nymphing with an indicator and a couple of high visibility flies can catch some excellent fish of both trout species.

For the spin fishers, tie on something white or silver.

Tuki backwaters, while a bit rarer to find than on the Ngaruroro hold much larger fish including some stonking browns.

Keep an eye out; you never know when a huge one will pop up.


Up towards CHB the Waipawa and Tuki remain open until the SH50 bridges.

Lots of fish are present right throughout the area.

Many wait for the rain to push them up into the tributaries in order to begin spawning.

Globugs and Hare & Copper nymphs are perfect for fishing this water.

Try to fish deep in the pools as a lot of fish hunker down here.

Above Right:Paula Burden caught this nice Rainbow from the Waipawa River.

Lake Tūtira

Tūtira is probably the most consistent place you will find anglers over the winter months.

The main carpark has fished very well with higher angler effort going into this area.

A lot of fish are digging redds in attempts to spawn.

At times the fish will swim behind you, so don’t walk out too deep.

By far the most successful method is slowly stripping in a line of Glo-bugs or a small soft hackle nymph.

The fish have ranged in size from three pounders all the way up to six-pound hens chock full of eggs.

It seems like fish are moving in and out in spawning groups.

One week you will see fresh fish and by the end of the week, these fish are spent.

They are then replaced by more fresh fish.

The freshies from out deeper fight very hard.

Keep an eye on that backing!

On a recent expedition, I paddled around the lake in order to see what fish activity was happening away from the crowds.

A good number of fish including the very elusive brown trout can be found cruising the flats and also many rainbows too. A bully pattern works great for these fish.

2021/22 Licence sales available now

The countdown is on to the 2021/22 fishing season and licences are available now!

Follow the link to get yours now:

Tight Lines

Nick Page, Hawkes Bay Fish & Game Officer

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