Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 2 November 2023

  • Wellington Taranaki
  • 30/10/2023

Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 2 November 2023

Pictured - Lovely calm conditions in Wairarapa this week made for idyllic fly fishing (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).  

Dry Fly Action Heats Up  

Most of the rivers in the two regions are looking stunning this morning - clean and clear with good flows. 

The weather is looking pretty good for the weekend too. 

Although there's a brief pulse of rain coming through tomorrow, it should clear quickly. 

And the blustery winds on Saturday are expected to ease as the day goes on, making way for light southerlies on Sunday. 

The warmer weather this week has certainly sparked the insects into life! 

In Wairarapa the brown beetles were out in force the last two nights, so they shouldn't be too far off hatching out in other parts of the region soon. 

And the warm, slightly muggy conditions this morning saw an amazing hatch of small mayflies coming off the Ruamahanga.

This increase in insect activity is a good indication summer is approaching, so get your licence and get out on the water to make the most of it.

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and Tributaries

Click here for live weather updates.

The Hutt River is reportedly looking in fine shape this morning and is expected to fish well over the weekend provided the rain holds off. Hut Valley Angling Club members report seeing good numbers of fish with some good catches too. Recent drift dives y Fish & Game staff around the Melling interchange also revealed good trout numbers, with some very big specimens too.                

The Hutt River at Tototara Park this morning (Credit: Al Markham).


Kapiti Coast 

Click here for live weather updates.

Lovely conditions on the Coast this morning - calm and clear skies and warm too. The WaikanaeOhau and Otaki are all running low and clear and set up beautifully for fishing today. A pulse of rain could see a brief elevation in flow, but it should push through quickly. Those who are hitting the right tides are still getting some great action in the lower river reaches as fish chase whitebait. So, with blustery winds Saturday morning, flicking spinners in the estuaries could be the go.           

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



Click here for live weather updates.

All the Wairarapa rivers are sitting pretty at time of writing this morning. The Ruamahanga is an absolute picture - good flow but clean, clear and emerald green. Around half a dozen good fish were rising to a big hatch of mayflies when the photo below was taken. As, you'd expect the WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau are good to go too which could mean a good opportunity to get into the backcountry this weekend - just check the weather in the Tararua Range before heading off.         

The Ruamahanga River at Gladstone this morning (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).



Click here for live weather updates.  

The Manawatu, the Oroua and Pohangina rivers are all carrying heavy colour this morning. Upstream of the gorge the mainstem is also dirty from rain that fell in the Ruahines mid-week. The Tararuas escaped the weather, however, meaning the Mangatainoka and Mangahoa are low and clear and looking very fishable.                                          

The Manawatu River at Weber Road this morning (Credit: Horizons).



Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei River is clear and fishable at Pukeokahu this morning. At Mangaweka, however, it is carrying heavy flow and sediment load. This suggests the fresh is coming in from the Kawhatau and other tribs, meaning the rain fell in the Ruahine Range, not the Rangitikei headwaters. That's good news because it means the upper reaches might remain fishable - just check the flows before heading out, though, because there is a little rain forecast for tomorrow.  

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


Taranaki Ringplain

Click here for live weather updates

All Streams are currently at low flow and very fishable. While rain is forecast Friday, the weather for the weekend is not too bad, with just a few showers. Stream flows may be a little elevated, which will suit spin and bait fishing, but they’ll clear quickly, and the minor pulse of higher flow will ensure trout are actively feeding. So, it's definitely worthwhile spending a few hours on your favourite stream this weekend. If you are a visitor to the region, public access points for the numerous ringplain streams can be found here. Check out the latest live flow data.

The Te Henui Stream at Devon Road this morning (Credit: Allen Stancliff).



Click here for live weather updates.

The rivers and stream flowing off Mount Ruapehu are at low flow and in great condition for angling. There will be a short pulse of rain on Friday afternoon as the front goes through, but the weekend is looking fine with just the occasional shower, so any extra flow should clear quickly. The Mangawhero River at Pakihi Road has a just hint of colour but is a good indication that most streams in the Waimarino are well fishable today.    

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


Tip Of The Week - Finding Fishable Water

Spring fishing can sometimes be challenging with unsettled weather patterns and frequent fronts.

It can make finding fishable water a little challenging sometimes. There are, however, some tools to help. 

Fish & Game staff use various websites and data for working out if we can drift dive rivers. We need at least 3m of underwater visibility which, topside, will give you plenty for spotting fish.


Horizons Regional Council has a dedicated website for webcams for some rivers in the region.

The main catchments are covered so, even if the water you are interested in fishing isn’t shown, you can still get a good idea of fishability by looking at images for neighouring rivers.

The most useful for fishing are:

- Manawatu (Weber Rd)
- Mangawhero (Pakihi Rd near Ohakune/Raetahi)
- Oroua (Almadale Reserve between Fielding and Cheltenam)
- Rangitikei (Pukeokahu – east of Taihape and Mangaweka)

These images are refreshed every few minutes so they essentially give you a live view of what the rivers are looking like. are up-to-date.

If you can see the riverbed through the water, it is likely fishable. 

Even if conditions aren't ideal, you can generally find some fishable water if you know how and where to look (Credit: Nick King).  

River Height & Rainfall

Both Horizons and Greater Wellington regional councils have live river data available offering an incredible gateway to some really useful information.

From this Horizons webpage you can either zoom in on the map, or type the river you're looking to fish into the field at the top left hand corner. 

GWRC's website is very similar. Use the 'Select site' field to pick your river, then 'Select measurement' field to find either 'flow' or 'stage' - flow being the volume of water passing the gauge and stage being the river height.     

You will be presented with a line graph which clearly shows whether the river is up or down.      

Turbidity is also a useful measurement - roughly equating to how clear the river is running. High values mean dirty, lower values cleaner. 

 Note – you can change the amount of data using the interval (we normally use 7 days or 1 month). By viewing longer periods, you can make out flow levels where the river is likely fishable.

 Over time you'll get better at making assessments about fishability based on the data presented. 

Weather Websites

Our go-to weather forecasts are MetserviceYR, and Windy.

This is more predictive rather than actual data, however, cumulative rainfall can be helpful once you know your catchment and it's ability to assimilate rain.

Have a play around using these sites to assess your favourite fishing spots - it becomes more intuitive the more you use the site.

In no time you'll be an adept amateur weather and fishing forecaster. 

Manawatu Family Fishing Weekend

Pack a picnic, grab your fishing rod and licence, and bring the family down to the annual Manawatu Family Fishing Weekend at Hokowhitu Lagoon, Palmerston North.

Around 750 rainbow trout will be released into the lagoon, so the chances of success are very high.

There are also 50 tagged trout amongst them and prizes if you catch one of these.

Licences are free for under-12s. Go online to grab one or see the team at Manawatu Hunting & Fishing.

Manawatu Hunting & Fishing's expert staff, along with members of the Manawatu Freshwater Anglers Club and Wellington Fish & Game, will be on site to help out.

Don't miss this great family friendly fishing opportunity!

A big shout out to New Zealand Community Trust and Pub Chairty for making this event a reality for our families again this year!


Take a Kid Fishing - November 18


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

  • 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) recently received a 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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