Lower North Lowdown - 29 February 2024

  • Taranaki Wellington
  • 29/02/2024

Lower North Lowdown - 29 February 2024

Switch to Autumn Angling  

Daylight hours are dwindling and the recent run of cooler temperatures are right on time to signal the arrival of autumn.

The southerly that went through yesterday resulted in a small but welcome fresh which, evidenced by the drift dive team, certainly added a chill to the water.

These environmental cues will see the trout soon switch behaviour and start to focus on spawning. 

Pictured above: Kieran Bell with a very well conditioned brown from a tributary of the Rangitkei River. Credit: Kieran Bell. 

This means they'll become more territorial and we'll notice fish migrating towards their spawning habitat in the headwaters and smaller tributary streams.  

While there is still plenty of dry fly action at the moment, and this should last for another few weeks, anglers should add a selection of large streamers to their arsenal to induce takes from fish that are getting aggressive ahead of spawning.

Expect the angling action to really ratchet up further over the next month as we head into an exciting cross-over phase between summer and autumn. 

This makes it an ideal time to introduce someone new to the pursuit of freshwater fishing as trout will readily take spinning lures from now on.   

As far as the weather goes - Saturday looks to be the best day to hit the water with a period of more rain for most of the Wellington and Taranaki Fish & Game regions on Sunday.   


Buy your fishing licence online

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and Tributaries

Click the weather icon above for live updates and forecasts for the Hutt Valley.

The Hutt and Akatarawa are coming down off a very small fresh yesterday but are still clear and fishable at time of writing with just a hint of colour in the water. This sets the rivers up perfectly for the weekend with flows returning to normal on Saturday. It's a good time to start prospecting the Hutt tribs for fish running early to their spawning grounds. Find out more about 'How To Fish the Hutt River' here.

The Hutt River at Totara Park this morning. Credit Al Markham.

Kapiti Coast

Click the weather icon above for live updates and forecasts for the Kapiti Coast.

The WaikanaeOhau and Otaki all recorded a slight blip in extra flow from the brief period of drizzly rain yesterday. There's nothing to interrupt your angling over the weekend though - rather, it will benefit the rivers and trout by dropping the water temp and freshening up the fisheries.      

The Otaki River at SH1 yesterday. Credit: Phil Teal.



Click the weather icon above for live updates and forecasts for the Wairarapa region. 

The Ruamahanga and larger tributaries like the Waiohine and Waingawa have barely registered any extra flow from yesterday's light rain, suggesting the parched ground absorbed the moisture as fast as it fell. The Ruamahanga is still the top pick but anglers could start to prospect the spawning tribs, at least near the confluences with the parent streams to find fish congregating before they run.    

The Waiohine River this morning. Credit Hamish Carnachan.



Click the weather icon above for live updates and forecasts for the Manawatu region.

The Manawatu had a spike in flow overnight but this is forecast to fall back quickly and should be fine for fishing from tomorrow and into Saturday before more rain arrives. With spawning season getting closer, anglers could look to the Oroua and Pohangina, along with other smaller tributary streams to target trout ahead of their winter runs. The Fish & Game team drift dived the Mangatainoka last week and can report excellent numbers of browns and rainbows in the vicinity of the Tui Brewery. Yeah right? No, for real!  

The Manawatu River at Teachers College this morning. Credit: Horizons.




Click the weather icon above for live updates and forecasts for the Rangitikei region.

The Rangitikei has extra flow around Mangaweka but is still fishable; upstream at Pukeokahu it looks low and clear and is a picture of angling perfection. Be sure to hit the Rangitikei if you haven't already done so this season, it is fishing superbly! There are also some excellent fish coming from the Hautapu, and the other Rangitkei tribs should soon see trout starting to move in ahead of spawning too.         

The Rangitikei River at Pukeokahu this morning. Credit: Horizons.


Taranaki Ringplain

Click the weather icon above for live updates and forecasts for the Ringplain region.

With warm afternoon temperatures and low stream flows, the middle and upper reaches of streams will provide the best fishing, with Saturday looking like the day to be out there. In the smaller streams, fish will mostly be located in the pools – often one large trout per pool, and a careful approach from downstream is required. Cicada or passion-vine hopper imitations, or a #16 lightly weighted Deleatidium mayfly nymph will be the way to go.

The latest live flow data for Taranaki Ringplain rivers can be found here

The Manganui River at Croydon Road this morning. Credit: Allen Stancliff.



Click the weather icon above for live updates and forecasts for the Waimarino region.

Waimarino Streams are also at low flow, with the Manganuioteao and Mangawhero rivers well worth a visit. The Whanganui River will also be a good bet for the spin angler. Live river flow information for the Mangawhero River can be viewed by clicking the highlighted river link. 

The Mangawhero River at Pakihi Bridge this morning. Credit: Horizons.


Hunting & Fishing Photo Competition - Win $300 To Spend in Store

Proud grandad David Dye took this pic of grandson Oscar Gleeson with his rainbow trout caught taken on the Ruamahunga River near Martinborough.

Send in your favourite fishing photos from this season and you could be in to win a $300 voucher to spend in store at Wairarapa Hunting & Fishing.

We won't blow your secret spot, just include the name of the angler(s), photographer's details, and general location in the Wellington-Taranaki Fish & Game region.

Click here to submit your entry.    

You can send us as many fishing photos as you like. By submitting images to enter the competition you acknowledge that Wellington Fish & Game can publish and use the photos for publicity material.

Entries must be in by 5pm Tuesday, April 2, 2024. The winner will be announced in the Lower North Lowdown report on Thursday, April 4, 2024.    


Angler Alert - Hutt River Stopbank Upgrade At Melling

From late February to early October, work will commence to upgrade the existing stopbank between Melling Link Bridge and just north of Mills Street.
The existing stopbank between Melling Link Bridge and just north of Mills Street currently has the lowest level of flood protection in the area. The existing stopbank provides protection from a 1-in-65-year flood event.
In any year there’s a 1.5% chance of a flood that size happening.
The upgraded stopbank will be mostly in the same location as the existing stopbank but will be approximately 1.5 metres higher, allowing more water to pass safely during floods.
When all the works under Te Awa Kairangi programme are completed, the Hutt Valley will be protected from a 1-in-440-year flood event including for future climate change (with a 0.2% chance of a flood that size in any year).

Click here for more information.  


GWRC Weekly River Bulldozing Schedule

Don't get an unwelcome surprise by Greater Wellington Regional Council's river bulldozing impacting your day on the river.

For information on the weekly activity schedule, click here to see where and when they'll be working.


Notice Board

  • Moawhango River Flushing Flow dates for 2024 have been confirmed:
    • 12-13 Mar, 21:00-02:00
    • 30-01 Apr, 21:00-02:00
  • The algal bloom at Lake Ngangana, near Waitara, has now subsided and open to fishing for trout and perch.

If you have any information you'd like to have considered for addition to the notice board, please get in touch with us.

*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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