Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 1 February 2024

  • Wellington Taranaki
  • 1/02/2024

Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 1 February 2024

Pictured above: Jason Perrett with a beautifully conditioned Taranaki Ringplain brownie. Credit Jarad Mason.

Sizzling Summer Angling Action Continues!

Our drift dive programme has kicked off and immediately noticeable is the abundance of stream life at the moment.

Hot weather and lower flows don't seem to have impacted the fishing at all, which is likely because of the amount and diversity of food the trout have on offer. 

Tributaries near the lower-middle reaches of some of our larger rivers we've dived are full of big schools of whitebait. These are some of the best whitebait runs we've observed in years!

While the cicadas have quietened down from last month - possibly because of the dry hard ground - passion vine hoppers and grasshoppers are around in almost plague proportions alongside some waterways. 

Add to this the caddis hatches on warm still evenings, which have been so thick they're almost suffocating, and it's little wonder the exceptional condition of the trout this season is the talk of the angling community.

The perch fishing deserves a mention too. Anglers looking for some fast and furious angling action for the kids should head to Lake Wairarapa where it's hard to miss at the moment. 

Former Fish & Game councilor Paul Shortis showed off his perch angling prowess last week, easily out-fishing staff by catching around a dozen to our paltry four (pity his net work didn't match his fishing ability or the tally could have been even higher).       

With Waitangi Day falling on Tuesday this year, many people are taking Monday off to nab a four-day weekend. The weather looks sensational early next week too so the sizzling fishing looks set to continue.            


Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and Tributaries

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

The Hutt and Akatarawa continue to fish well but they are very low and clear. There is some rain forecast for tomorrow and, after the wind abates on Saturday, the fishing is goiung to be set up perfectly for Sunday and Waitangi Day after a slight reset. Find out more about How To Fish the Hutt River here

The Hutt River at Stokes Valley this morning. Credit: John Millar.


Kapiti Coast 

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

Conditions on the Coast mirror the Hutt catchment, with with the WaikanaeOhau and Otaki are sitting very low and clear. The strong winds attached to the front abate on Saturday evening, giving way to clear skies and lovely fishing conditions. Waitangi Day looks to be a stunner - an awesome opportunity for a day on the water.     

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



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

There's a small pulse of rain coming through on Friday but conditions improve thereafter. With the the Ruamahanga and and all its tributaries, including the WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau, sitting very low, any rain will be welcome relief and should freshen up the rivers. The perch fishing has been on fire in the shallows around the northern end of lake Wairarapa - super fun for the kids and a great way to introduce someone new to freshwater fishing.  

The Waipoua River in Masterton this morning. Credit Hamish Carnachan.



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

A couple of spells of rain on Monday and Tuesday has the the Manawatu below the gorge, along with the Oroua and Pohangina clearing extra flow. With another dose of rain tomorrow this could throw these rivers out for Saturday. By Sunday the conditions should have improved, otherwise check out the Mangatainoka and Mangahao which at time of writing are low and clear. 

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 rain on Monday has the Rangitikei and Hautapu still running milky but falling quickly. Further upstream on the mainstem at Pukeokahu the river is running clean and clear with excellent visibility through the water column. If the rain on Saturday doesn't come to too much, the mid-upper reaches could be firing. And if you've got a four-day weekend ahead, camping at Springvale is a fantastic option.

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.

Northern ringplain streams had two moderate freshes last weekend which, although very short-lived, helped clear out accumulated algae to keep them in good condition for angling. Southern streams had only minor blips in flow, but cooler nights have brought water temperatures down nicely. The middle and upper reaches of streams continue to fish well, with cicada imitations the go-to in the sometimes-windy conditions. With another front due on Saturday morning, Sunday is looking like the best day for fishing. The latest live flow data for Taranaki Ringplain rivers can be found here

The Mangorei Stream yesterday afternoon. Credit: Allen Stancliff.



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

Ruapehu streams and rivers had a moderate fresh last Sunday, but flows have receded rapidly and should be back to normal by the weekend. With showers forecast for Friday and Saturday it may be that Sunday is the best day to go fishing. 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: Hamish Carnachan.


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

Young Lucas Hadley with a nice wee rainbow for the table.     

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 - Catch And Release 

Careful catch and release is a skill all anglers should learn. Credit: Nick King. 

Taking a fish home for dinner is a fundamental part of fishing; however, there will be times, either by choice or by legal requirement, when you will release fish.

Careful catch and release is a skill you must learn to ensure any fish you intend to release doesn’t come to harm.

Here are our ‘Quick 5’ tips for handling fish with care:

  1. Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.
  2. Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook; use forceps.
  3. Do not squeeze the fish, and never touch the gills.
  4. Photograph the fish in or over the water, and make it quick - the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.
  5. Allow the fish to gather strength by gently holding it into the current until it swims off of its own accord.

In the unfortunate instance that a fish you intended to release does end up bleeding from the gills, so long as you can legally take that fish, you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it.

This YouTube video demonstrates good fish handling-skills.


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. 


Have Your Say on Waterways In The Horizons Catchment 

Please help us to help protect the waterways and fisheries in the Horizons Regional Council area.    

We've put together a very short tick-box survey here, which takes less than one minute to complete. 

Make sure you have your say if you value trout fishing in the catchment and want to see healthy waterways and sustainable fisheries into the future.      


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.

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