Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 19 October 2023

  • Taranaki Wellington
  • 16/10/2023

Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 19 October 2023

Pictured - A stunning day yesterday for targeting 'sea-runs' in the lower Ruamahanga River (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).  

Cracker Forecast  for Long Weekend Fishing 

Anglers have finally got the weather they have been waiting patiently for since the start of the season!

Clear skies and warm sunny conditions are forecast across the entire lower North Island and Taranaki region right into Labour Day, Monday, which should really set the season alight.

If you’ve been holding off buying your licence until conditions settle, there’s no reason to wait any longer - get your new season licence now and get into it over the long weekend.

The small streams and headwaters have continued to fish well, but the bottom of the catchments are coming into their own now too.

Good whitebait runs are being reported, and as a result trout fishing in many lower river reaches has been firing for spin and streamer anglers when conditions are clear.

This means plenty of options, top to bottom, for your long weekend angling adventure ahead. 

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and Tributaries

Click here for live weather updates.

The pulse of rain earlier in the week saw the Hutt River come up quite high but it has fallen rapidly. Currently the mainstem has a heavy hint of tannin but will be perfect for Labour Weekend anglers having just come of this fresh. The Akatarawa, Pakarutahi and Whakatikei are well worth a look - they are fishable today and the sunny, warmer conditions should kick the bug life into action and see trout actively feeding.         

The Hutt River at Avalon this morning (Credit: John Miller).


Kapiti Coast 

Click here for live weather updates.

The WaikanaeOhau and Otaki have higher flows following the rain event on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, as you can see from the image of the Otaki below, the Kapiti Coast rivers are stunning this morning and will remain this way over the long weekend with clear skies forecast. We've had reports of kahawai chasing whitebait in the lower reaches of some of the Coast rivers and streams - presumably the trout will be in there too.    

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



Click here for live weather updates.

The WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau are carrying extra flow but are clean and clear and ready to go for any angler lucky enough to be out on this stunning Wairarapa day. There's an isolated shower or two expected on Sunday but otherwise it should be an awesome long weekend for angling in this part of the Wellington Fish & Game region. The lower Ruamahanga is starting to fire too - check out our Tip of The Week below.      

The Waiohine River at SH2 this morning. Credit: Hamish Carnachan.



Click here for live weather updates.  

The Manawatu River is big and brown after the week's rain; likewise the Oroua and Pohangina which won't be fishing this weekend unfortunately. The Mangatainoka River, however, is dropping rapidly after a fresh on Wednesday and should be in great shape for the long weekend. The Makakahi could be worth a shot too as spawning fish will still be holding happily in this trib and flows will be perfect for fly anglers.                                       

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



Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei River isn't looking that flash this morning but the live river flow graph shows it is falling very quickly. Your best bet again is going to be the reaches around Mangaohane and Springvale and above. With only isolated showers forecast there could be some very good angling in these mid-upper reaches over the long weekend, and camping at Springvale is always an excellent option.      


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


Taranaki Ringplain

Click here for live weather updates

All rivers and streams were in moderate fresh early on Wednesday morning, but flows are already well on the way down and most waters will be clear, fishable and wadeable by Saturday. With a fine weekend forecast and the fish in feeding mode following the fresh, it’s a good time to go fishing. With higher flows in the headwaters, the Patea dam will likely be generating and the river between McColl’s Bridge and the dam may be too high for good fishing, at least in the early part of the weekend. Check out the live flow data to help you plan your weekend outing.

The Waiwhakaio River at Merrilands Domain this morning (Credit: Allen Stancliff).



The Mangawhero River at Pakihi Road has colour following the rain mid week but it is dropping nicely and should be in super shape by the time the weekend rolls around. Most of the other Ruapehu rivers were also in fresh on Wednesday but, similarly, should be back to being clear and fishable come Saturday.

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


Tip of The Week - Spring Fishing the Lower Ruamahanga River 

A lovely lower Ruamahanga River estuarine brown trout destined for the smoker (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).

If you're looking for an angling adventure this Labour Weekend, the lower Ruamahanga River is running hot. 

This stretch of the river traditionally fishes well in spring, and current season is no different. This weekend ahead, in particular, there are several stars aligned for anglers though.

First, the river is finally starting to run clear for the first time this season. 

Second, the forecast ahead is ideal, with clear skies and no more rain on the horizon until next week.

Third, Lake Onoke, at the very bottom of the catchment, has been opened to the ocean after weeks of being blocked. 

The opening of Onoke means a large pulse of whitebait will be rushing up river and likely whipping the resident fish into a feeding frenzy. 

Along with kahawai, there is a very good trout population in Onoke and the lower river reaches. These species will be chasing the whitebait hard, putting on condition after spawning season.

It makes for super exciting angling, and suits spin fishing or fly angling with streamers, meaning there's quality sport for all ages and abilities.

Many anglers use boats to access the broad slow-flowing lower river reaches. However, there are ample places to access the river by foot too.

You can check out our Ruamahanga and Wairarapa Moana access information to find fishing spots that suit by clicking the highlighted links.

Our interactive access maps are also useful - just click the map below to explore.  

Lake Onoke was opened to the sea earlier this week (Credit: GWRC).
If you're coming from further afield for the long weekend, there are great camping sites at Lake Onoke/Lake Ferry, Martinborough, and at the Lake Domain which is at the top of Lake Wairarapa.      

Plan Your Labour Weekend Angling Adventure

Click the map below to explore the Wellington and Taranaki Fish & Game regions.

You can view interactive maps, download and store fishing access information and maps for our top fisheries.   

If you notice any access points that need updating, please let us know


Have Your Say On The Next Steps For Freshwater

Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) is seeking community feedback on the vision for each of the six Taranaki Freshwater Management Units (FMU’s) and the environmental outcomes that the Council will be aiming for.

Community feedback from anglers and hunters is vital, as the vision and outcomes will shape how TRC plans to look after freshwater now and into the future.

The six FMU’s include the Patea and Waitara River catchments, the Volcanic Ringplain, the Northern and Southern Hill Country and the Coastal Terraces.

To find out more about the FMUs, TRC has created webpages for each of the six areas. There you'll find discussion documents with in-depth detail about each FMU and the science behind TRC’s plans to look after freshwater as well as links to a survey which closes on October 27.

We urge anglers to take the survey for the areas that resonate with you and share your thoughts with TRC. Click here for more info.  


Family Trout Fishing Day

Grab your fishing gear and your kids or grandkids and come along to Lake Rotomanu in Fitzroy, New Plymouth, on Saturday October 28 for the fourth annual Family Trout Fishing Day.

Taranaki Fish & Game is funding the release of 500 rainbow trout into the lake for the event, which will run from 8am to 1pm in conjunction with the Inglewood Rod, Gun & Recreation Club and Taranaki Hunting & Fishing.

For children under 12 on October 1, head to the Fish & Game website to obtain their free fishing licence. Children 12 and over can register at Taranaki Hunting & Fishing stores in the Valley or Oceanview Parade, New Plymouth (Ph. 06-7579676) and we’ll write them out a permit that allows them to fish at Lake Rotomanu until August 31, 2024.

Permits can be collected on the day from the Rod & Gun Club marquee tent located on the grass near the boat ramp.

Bring what fishing gear you have to the Rod & Gun Club tent and volunteers will assist with gear set-up, lures, bait etc.

Families will then be able to distribute themselves at suitable fishing sites around the lake. If you have a supply of garden worms, they are a great bait for trout and perch.

Fish & Game has 100 spinners to give away to get you going, and Taranaki Hunting & Fishing will have ready-to-go spin fishing sets available for purchase from $40.

There will also be free chocky fish and BBQ sausages available at the tent courtesy of Hynds New Plymouth, so come along and have an enjoyable day with the kids.


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.

The weekly activity schedule can be found here.


Notice Board

  • Fly Box Found - One of our anglers has found a fly box on the banks of a tributary of the lower Ruamahanga River. If you think this is your, please get in touch with the office (link below) and we'll put you in contact with the gentleman who found it.   
  • Baring Head carpark and track closure - Through October and November contractors will start constructing firebreaks in the Wainuiomata River Valley. This may result in temporary closure to carparks and tracks impacting those using the lower river reaches. Please contact Greater Wellington Regional Council for more details.     
  • Lake Mangamahoe near New Plymouth (fly fishing only) has just received a new release of hatchery rainbows and there are also a few nice browns cruising the lake margins.
  • Lake Ngangana at Waitara is temporarily closed to fishing owing to an algal bloom. We'll keep you updated about conditions and when it opens again.
  • Lake Namunamu will be closed to public access from early November 2023 for logging operations. Access to the lake is likely to be restricted for at least three years, however, Earnslaw-One has promised to let us know if there are opportunities to access the lake during breaks in harvest.

 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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