Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 21 December 2023

  • Wellington Taranaki
  • 21/12/2023

Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 21 December 2023

Christmas Comes Early For Anglers

A cracker lower North Island backcountry rainbow on a stunning summer day earlier this week. Credit: Kerry Hibbard.

Christmas has come early for anglers with some stunning weather across the lower North Island making for perfect fishing conditions.

While a brief band of rain is going to dampen the big day in Taranaki, it is going to push through quickly and be largely fine elsewhere.

More good news is that the weather over the next few days looks pretty stable with just isolated showers in some parts. With rivers running quite low after a week of no appreciable rain, these showers won't affect flows. 

Anglers on a backcountry excursion early this week reported some of the 'best fishing in years' despite low rivers and very clear water. 

Good hatches of mayflies, caddis, beetles and the odd stonefly were also noted, along with fish in exceptional condition. 

If you're on leave already, now could be the time to get into the hills and escape the Xmas chaos for a few days.   

It's also a good time to grab your licence now if you haven't already because this season is shaping up to be one not to miss.

From all the team at Wellington-Taranaki Fish & Game, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and we look forward to seeing you on the water soon.     

Here's the outlook for the weekend:

Hutt River and Tributaries

Click here for live weather updates.

Patchy drizzle and blustery northerlies will clear in the Hutt Valley this afternoon making way for better fishing conditions tomorrow. The Hutt River and tributaries - the Akatarawa, Whakatikei and Pakarutahi - are all at good fishable flows and should remain that way into Christmas.

 The Hutt River at the Mangaroa confluence this morning. Credit: Al Markham.

Kapiti Coast

Click here for live weather updates.

The Kapiti Coast rivers - the WaikanaeŌhau and Otaki - are sitting under patchy cloudy cover which is expected to burn off as the day goes on. All the rivers are at good flows though and should be fishable through to Christmas day.     

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


Click here for live weather updates.

It is another stunner in Wairarapa - hot, not a cloud in the sky and no wind. The Ruamahanga is starting to look really low, a feature of reduced flows coming in from the main tributaries - the WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau. All rivers will be fishable into Christmas.

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


Click here for live weather updates.  

The ManawatūŌroua and Pohangina are starting to drop to summer flows after a period of low rainfall. The Mangatainoka and the Mangahao have cleared the fresh from last weekend. It is all go for anglers in this part of the region with options aplenty through to Christmas day.      

The Pohangina River at Mais Reach this morning. Credit: Horizons. 


Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei River continues to drop and is now very low in the headwaters. The stable weather has helped with clear water flowing most of its length. Vinegar Hill was looking great earlier this week and should fish up until Christmas when rain may bring a little sediment into the system again.  

The Rangitikei River near Springvale earlier this week. Credit: Hamish Carnahcan.

Taranaki Ringplain

Click here for live weather updates

All streams and rivers are currently heading towards their mean annual low flows and it’s looking like the predicted 'summer dry' is starting to bite. There is some rain forecast during Christmas, but at present it’s hard to tell what, if any, impact there will be. Trout are increasingly looking to the surface to take caddis and terrestrials such as green beetle, and cicada are also on the increase. The latest live flow data for Ringplain rivers can be found here.

The Waingorongoro River at Normanby this morning. Credit: Allen Stancliff.


Click here for live weather updates.

As with the Ringplain, streams and rivers in the Waimarino are now at low flow with the Mangawhero and Manganuioteao rivers the pick of fisheries to visit over the holiday period. There are increasing numbers of terrestrial insects about so a dry fly-dropper rig drifted down foam lines entering pools, or through pocket water, should be productive. Also look for brown trout cruising a beat in the pools and slower runs as flows decrease.

The Mangawhero River at Pakihi Road this morning. Credit: Hamish Carnachan.

Tip of The Week - Lake Mangamahoe Teeming With Trout

Rainbow trout being released into Lake Mangamahoe. Credit: Allen Stancliff.


For the fly fisher, Lake Mangamahoe will be well worth a visit over the coming weeks.

Taranaki Fish & Game staff recently liberated a good number of rainbows into the lake which is fly fishing only water.

This scenic lake, located midway between New Plymouth and Inglewood on SH3, is the region’s most popular still water fishery.

For more information on Lake Mangamahoe, click here.

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


Keep those summer holiday trout fishing pics coming in! 

Simply 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.

You don't have to reveal your secret spot, but please include the name of the angler(s), photographer's details, and general location in the Wellington-Taranaki Fish & Game region.

Click here to submit you entry.    

Tip of The Week - How to Fish The Hutt

With many Wellington and Hutt anglers staying home over the Christmas period, or people visiting from other parts, we've had numerous enquiries about fishing the Hutt River.

Teeming with large brown trout and being so easily accessible to Wellington and the bordering Hutt cities, the Hutt River is a local treasure and an outstanding fishery nationally.

Our annual drift dives consistently reveal very high numbers of large trout – the average size caught is between 5lb, with fish around 6lb not uncommon and trophy trout regularly observed.

Despite this, the river does not give up its secrets – or its fish – easily. Indeed, many anglers find the fishery an enigma because the normal rules that apply to other waterways often don’t apply to the Hutt River.

We've developed a brochure to help you crack the code and, hopefully, consistently catch the legendary Hutt River browns. Click the cover shot above to download.



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.

The weekly activity schedule can be found here.

Notice Board

  • Moawhango River Flushing Flow dates for 2024 have been confirmed:
    • 23-24 Jan, 21:00-02:00
    • 13-14 Feb, 21:00-02:00
    • 12-13 Mar, 21:00-02:00
    • 30-01 Apr, 21:00-02:00
  • Lake Ngangana, near Waitara, is now open to fishing for trout and perch.
  • 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.

More Posts