Lower North Lowdown - September 23, 2021

  • Wellington
  • 23/09/2021

Lower North Lowdown - September 23, 2021

The Countdown is On!

Picture caption: Cohen McCormick with a lovely bar of Hutt River gold taken recently (Credit Andrew Harding)

Welcome to the first angling report for the 2021-22 season, freshly rebranded the 'Lower North Lowdown'.

This coming season you can look forward to some other new elements we'll be introducing to (hopefully) continue to make it interesting, informative and, above all, helpful for planning the fishing adventures that lie ahead for you.

In the meantime, the countdown to Opening Day is well and truly on with only seven days 'til the season starts on Friday, October 2021.

Now's the time to grab your licence and makes sure all your gear is in tip-top condition. 

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. 


Season Prospects 

After a lousy winter and another dose of lockdown, it's hard not be excited about the coming season. And there's certainly plenty to look forward to with fisheries in great shape and not an overseas angler in sight. 

Given the new season coincides with the start of the school holidays, it's great news that some of the standout fisheries from last season were those closest to home and easily accessible. Instant school holiday boredom buster! 

The lower Waiohine River is often overlooked by anglers as they head for the scenically stunning upper reaches, however, the section downstream of SH2 produced outstanding fishing mid- to late season and became something of a hotspot for those in the know in 2020-21. 

The Ruamahanga appears to have well and truly bounced back too and the quality of the fishing last summer and through winter bodes well for the coming season.

Further north the Manawatu has fished exceptionally well in recent months in the middle reaches, producing some very big 5lb-plus rainbows that have put on condition quickly after the rigors of  spawning. 

IMG 5844

And the smile says it all for young Georgia Maclean (pictured above) with one of many Rangitikei rainbows she and her dad Nathan nailed on the river around Taihape last season. You can be sure that this stand out fishery will be superb again in 2021-22.           

So, enjoy the season ahead – it will be a cracker. 


Lowland Fisheries Firing

Can't wait to get out - why not make the most of the last few days on your current licence and hit the water that is open?

The whitebait are on the move and the fishing in the lower reaches of many of our rivers is running hot.

With lots of kahawai around in the lower estuarine reaches too, there's plenty of opportunities for a hook-up.  

A Wellington region estuary brown trout caught on a whitebait imitation Credit Hamish Carnachan

A Wellington region estuary brown trout caught on a whitebait imitation (Credit Hamish Carnachan)    

If you haven't been out for a while, going for a fish this weekend in the water that has remained open will help iron out those kinks in your technique before the season opens next Friday.    


Top Tip for Early Season Angling

A great technique to help you start your season off well with high chance of good catch rates is soft bait fishing. 

With whitebait on the move around the lower and middle reaches of our rivers, soft baiting is an ideal way to imitate these little fish and cover plenty of water in the process. 

It is also a brilliant technique that comes into its own when the rivers are higher and have a little more flow and colour which is typical of early-season conditions.

Finally, if you're introducing a new angler to freshwater fishing, or taking the kids out these coming school holidays, it is a cheap and effective way to get them started. 

Check out this great 'how-to' video by clicking on the image below.      

Video screenshot


Great Aid for Your Angling Adventures

The NZ Walking Access Commission (NZWAC) has launched a mobile version of its popular and ever helpful Walking Access Mapping System.

Pocket Maps, as it's called, is available now via the Google Play Store and iOS Apple Store, and allows users to view accessible areas and public conservation land at the press of your fingertips.

Screenshot 20210923 140939 Pocket MapsWAMS pocket edition is going to be a useful tool for anglers.

Maps can be viewed online with a Wi-Fi connection or downloaded to be viewed offline.

NZWAC acted on feedback that map users struggle to understand public access boundaries when outdoors - now, with the help of Pocket Maps, people can check their location and their access.

Pocket Maps lets you search your exact location by region and through the map layers, understand what type of access land you are currently on or looking to fish or walk through.


Fish & Game Elections  

If your enrolled to vote in the Fish & Game council elections you should have received your voting papers by now. 

Please take the opportunity to read about the candidates and select those you want to help shape your angling over the course of the next political term.

The Wellington Fish & Game Council provides an essential role in our ‘user pays, user says’ democratic management of sports fish and game birds. 

The councilors’ tasks include setting regional fishing and hunting regulations, often in response to submissions from licence holders, developing policy, and prioritising management direction through work plans for staff. 

Voting close at 5pm, October 8.


Join Us on Instagram 

Keep up to date with the Wellington Fish & Game crew, and what's happening in the region by following us on Instagram - wellingtonfishgame


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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