Lower North Lowdown - September 22, 2022

  • Wellington
  • 19/09/2022

Lower North Lowdown - September 22, 2022

Exciting Season On The Cards!

Picture caption: Fish & Game officer Hamish Carnachan with a beautifully conditioned lower North Island rainbow trout (Credit Matt Kavermann)

Welcome to the first Lower North Lowdown fishing report for the 2022-23 season.

Time to put last season behind us and focus on the cracker that lies ahead. There are a number of reasons we're excited about this coming season and why anglers should be to...   

While the 'big wet' last summer was challenging for anglers throughout the country, there's a silver lining in that it has set up this one superbly!

The low flows and warm water that can often take a toll on trout populations never eventuated last summer, resulting in elevated survival rates.

Also, frequent freshes last summer prevented water temperatures reaching the threshold where trout will stop feeding and, resultantly, drop condition. This meant most fish were super fit heading into the grueling winter period.           

Those of us who indulged in winter fishing will attest to how healthy the trout were... it takes months to put condition back on after spawning but the trout we've been catching are top notch.  

So, with more fish making it through summer, and more fish in healthy condition for the rigorous spawning period, recruitment will almost certainly be higher than normal in many catchments which bodes well for future years.

Grab Your Licence And Get Amongst It

The countdown to Opening Day is well and truly on, with only eight days 'til the season starts on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

Seldom does the season kick off on a Saturday, so this year there's a really great excuse to make an special occasion out of the start of the season - team up with family and mates, hit some water you might not otherwise get to so early on, plan an overnighter... 

However you choose to make the most of the new season, don't leave it to the last minute to get your licence

Here's a checklist to help get you set for Opening:

- 2021-22 Whole Season Licence.
- Clean fly-line and check for cracks (replace if required).
- Check spinning monofilament or braid for wear/strength.
- Replace lost flies and lures from last season
- Sharpen hooks.
- Test waders for leaks.
- Practice your casting - getting out on the lawn and throw some loops!
- Plan your Opening Day or first weekend outing. 


Top Picks For 2022-23

There were some standout fisheries last season and we’re picking these to fire again for 2022-23. Here are our top picks and some potential options for Opening weekend: 

-         The Manawatu River: It fished superbly last season, particularly above the gorge. While the fish aren't generally huge, there are plenty of browns and rainbows in the 2-4lb range and they were super healthy.

-         The Rangitikei River: This fished well throughout its length in 2021-22 but the middle reaches upstream of Vinegar Hill are scenically stunning and have excellent fish numbers. Our trout counts up around Springvale and Mangaohane were very good  again.   

-         Lower Ruamahanga River: This highly modified stretch of water isn't the prettiest trout fishing spot but in terms of sheer numbers and variability of catch it would be in the top 10 in the country.

-         The Otaki and Ohau rivers: The trout populations in these neighbouring rivers have really bounced back after a couple of lean years which is great to see! Our  drift dives  last summer revealed the section below SH1 on the Otaki holding excellent numbers of large trout. 


Major Access Info Upgrade 

Looking for a new fishing spot this season or after access information? You're in luck.

Wellington Fish & Game  has just completed a major upgrade of our access pamphlets and maps. They are all online, interactive, downloadable in digital format, and mobile friendly. 

Store the maps and access info on your mobile device, take them with you when you're fishing, and there's no need to use data or have mobile service.

Click the screenshot below to check it out...

Maps WR 22Sept2022 

Women On The Fly  

WOTF WR22Sep2022

Let’s face it, fly fishing can seem intimidating to beginners or new anglers.

So what better way to get involved in this fabulous pursuit than by coming together with like-minded women for an educational and social weekend celebration of fly fishing? 

Whether you are an absolute beginner wanting to give it a go, or are already experienced but want to gain knowledge, this weekend workshop is for you.

Click here for more info, or register here.  

Upper Rangitikei Deer Management  

Anglers are advised that deer control operations are to be undertaken in the upper Rangitikei Remote Experience Zone (REZ).   

As a part of the Central North Island Sika Foundation’s Adaptive deer management programme, with support from the Game Animal Council and enabled by funding from DOC, hind-focused deer management in the form of professional ground hunters in the REZ will be carried out from mid September through till late November - early December (dependent on the timing of fawning).

The habitat in this part of the Kaimanawa Forest Park is in a poor state, impacting mountain beech forest regeneration (following natural canopy dieback) and resulting in a lack of palatable understorey.

Animal control will work towards improving forest health, add to the current REZ dataset comprised from Sika Foundation’s Management hunts, the 2022 recreational hunter roar opportunity and recent aerial management. It will provide valuable understanding to help us fine tune the adaptive deer management and research programme for 2023.



- Sport Fly NZ will beholding their regional competition on the Manawatu River between Bluff Road and Kumeroa on October 8 and 9. Spectators are welcome. 

-   Family Fishing Days: Keeping an eye on the Lower North Lowdown for details of upcoming fishing events to be held in October and November.     


Full Report Next Week 

We'll catch you next Thursday when we'll be back with a full version of Lower North Lowdown report, including the latest weather updates and river flows to help you plan your Opening Day outing!

*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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