Lower North Lowdown - 8 February 2024

  • Wellington Taranaki
  • 8/02/2024

Lower North Lowdown - 8 February 2024

Southerly Will Keep The Fishing Firing

The sweltering temperatures haven’t seen the fishing action fall away – in fact it just keeps getting better.

Despite the mercury hitting the mid-30s in Wairarapa and other parts of the lower North Island this week, the main rivers were running at a good cool temperature after the southerly front from last weekend.

Pictured above: Hamish Carnachan with a cracker brown taken on dry fly from the Ruamahanga River earlier this week. Credit: Fox Carnachan. 

That front benefited all the waterways throughout the region, giving them a slight recharge and reinvigorating the fish.

The trout have responded well, feeding hungrily on anything put in front of them. We recently had large browns and medium rainbows happily taking dry flies, spinning lures and softbaits, all in the same short reach of the Ruamahanga!

On that note, the middle section of the Ruamahanga is fishing as well as many of us can remember. ‘The best in years’ is cliché but it is appropriate for this season – get amongst it if you’ve time to get on the water this weekend.

The run of red-hot fishing should continue right across the lower North Island too, with another cool southerly coming through over the weekend.

There are showers forecast for some parts, but these shouldn’t affect fishing flows. In fact, it will benefit the angling by keeping the water temp in a tolerable range for the trout and keep them actively feeding.


There’s an important survey being conducted by Tararua District Council. They’re trying to gauge recreational use on the Mangatainoka and Makakahi rivers to ascertain a consent renewal (most likely for water abstraction).

It’s vital that anglers take part in the survey, otherwise fish and fishing may be overlooked when it comes to resource allocation. You can do the short survey here. Please share with your fishing friends.   

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.

Low and clear water conditions for the Hutt and Akatarawa continue. There’s a forecast for showers over the weekend with clear sunny skies too so the weather should be okay for angling. Cooler ambient temperatures may see feeding activity increase during the day. 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 are sitting very low and clear again. A good pulse of rain came through last Saturday which is just what was needed, so the rivers are fresh despite the very hot weather of late. Showers forecast for the weekend shouldn’t interrupt any angling plans.  

The Otaki River at SH1 this morning. Credit: Phil Teal.



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

The Ruamahanga and all its tributaries – including the WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau – are back to low clear flows after last Saturday’s heavy rain. The showers over the next few days, combined with cooler air temps, should keep the fisheries fresh and firing. Don’t forget the great perch fishing in the shallows at Lake Domain and Lake Wairarapa, at the moment. 

The Waingawa River at SH2 this morning. Credit Hamish Carnachan.



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

There are slightly elevated flows in the Manawatu,  Oroua and Pohangina rivers this morning after the rain from last weekend but they’re all clear and fishable at time of writing. The Mangatainoka and Mangahao also received a good flush on Saturday but these rivers are back to normal - low and clear. 

The Pohangina River at Mais Reach this morning. Credit: Horizons.




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

The rain from Saturday’s front has pushed through the Rangitikei,  Hautapu and Central High Country rivers leaving them fresh and clear. The fishing should be fine over the weekend with nothing more than showers forecast then sunny skies return on Monday. 

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


Taranaki Ringplain

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

All Ringplain streams remain at low flow. With afternoon water temperatures creeping up again, fishing the middle and upper reaches of streams and/or fishing early in the day is still the way to go. Cicada are about, and while not in the numbers they usually are, large stimulator imitations are worth trying. There are a few showers forecast for Saturday but they shouldn’t come to much.

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

The Waiwhakaiho River at Burgess Park this morning. Credit: Allen Stancliff.



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

Waimarino streams and rivers had a minor fresh last Saturday but flows are falling steadily and streams should be well back to normal by the weekend.

Water temperatures got down to as low as 10.3 degC last Sunday morning with a fresh dusting of snow on the mountains, but temperatures are now back in the 16-18 degC range, which should see trout feeding well. There may be a few showers on Saturday, but Sunday is looking perfect.

Live river flow information for the Mangawhero River can be viewed by clicking the highlighted river link. If you're after more info on the waterways in this part of the region, check out our dedicated access website where you can download maps and access instructions.  

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


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

Mel McKinnon with a stunning rainbow from the Waimarino region. Credit: Tony Cvitanovich.

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.    


Tip of The Week – Tackling Spooky Fish

Trout become wary during low summer flows and require a careful approach and lighter gear. Credit: Nick King.

A lack of rain and falling levels in some rivers and streams will see water clarity increase markedly as there’s no suspended sediment in the water column.

This means the visibility improves not just for anglers who are sight fishing, but for the fish too.

Under such conditions trout see further underwater as well as out of the water, so they become more wary and are more inclined to spook easily. 

To avoid being seen by flighty fish:

  • Wear camouflaged or dull-coloured clothing.
  • Try and stay in the shade/shadows if there is any available.
  • Avoid ‘sky-lining’ yourself i.e., use a backdrop of a hillside or row of trees to hide your movement.
  • Take time scanning the water ahead – trout can’t see directly behind. 

To avoid spooking fish when casting:

  • Consider increasing your leader length.
  • Decrease your tippet weight/diameter.
  • Fishing a single fly (dry or nymph) with no indicator.
  • Ensure your first cast is your best cast.

Anglers often don’t get more than one cast at fish that are becoming increasingly educated as the season progresses, and when there’s high visibility from low summer water levels.

Take a moment to sit and watch the fish for 5-10 minutes to understand its feeding pattern and calculate the best place to land your fly.


Angler Alert - Hutt Riverlink Project to Start

A major infrastructure project in the lower section of the Hutt River around the Melling interchange will kick off this summer. This is part of the $1b Riverlink scheme aimed at upgrading transport connections in and around Lower Hutt City.

Wellington Fish & Game is monitoring the works closely, and we have a contract with the project team to ensure that the trout fishery is not undermined in this section of river, and if it is then mitigation measures must be enacted.

Staff have carried out assessments using drift diving, spawning surveys and electric fishing techniques ahead of the project starting so we can ascertain the baseline trout population. Surveys will be undertaken during the works and again after Riverlink is completed.     

While it is being built there will be a section of several kilometres around the site that is unfishable. We understand this is a nuisance for anglers, but we advise casting further afield – some of the best angling and highest fish numbers are in the middle and upper reaches of the Hutt anyway. 


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:
    • 13-14 Feb, 21:00-02:00
    • 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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