Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 21 September 2023

  • Wellington Taranaki
  • 21/09/2023

Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 21 September 2023

Exciting Season Ahead!

Picture caption: A highlight from a tough season for Fish & Game officer Hamish Carnachan - a beautifully marked brownie from a small Taranaki stream caught last Autumn (Credit Steve Haslett).

Welcome to the first Lower North Lowdown fishing report for the 2023-24 season, which ushers in some exciting changes. 

Wellington and Taranaki Fish & Game are working closely together as we move towards a formal amalgamation, meaning we will now expand our coverage to include fishing forecasts, weather and river flow information from both regions.

There'll be easy access to information and fishing in the neighbouring region, which we hope will enable anglers to expand horizons and explore new opportunities you may not have considered that are just 'across the border'.

To our returning anglers from Wellington - it's great to have you back for the season. For Taranaki fishers who may not have come across the Lower North Lowdown - welcome to your one-stop-shop for angling information. 

As mentioned, from next week onwards and throughout the season, every Thursday we'll email you the latest angling news and events from the two regions, as well as weather and river flow forecasts for the weekend ahead.

The aim is to arm you with the best information available to make your outings a success. And we always encourage and welcome feedback and pics of your fishing success.         


Season Prospects Looking Great          

Let's put last season behind us... it sounded much the same for both Wellington and Taranaki region anglers with the weather putting a dampener on affairs! 

The good news is the more stable El Nino pattern is firmly ensconced now. 

This should see a return to 'normal' drier conditions with weather predominantly from the west rather than the easterlies that brought the rain and storms last summer.

A stunning rainbow caught in the Manganuioteao late last season by Taranaki angler Michael Bakker.   

In the Wellington region were already noticing rivers clearing and dropping quickly from their winter flows. 

The Rangitikei - which barely ran clear in the middle and lower reaches for most of last season - looks superb at time of writing. 

Likewise the Pohangina, which has finally cleared the silt from the slips brought down by Cyclone Gabrielle. 

Angling on the Hutt River has been great over winter and this will only improve as the fish become more active and start to put on condition after the spawning season.

The Ruamahanga will be coming into its own soon too as the whitebait run upstream; trout and kahawai congregate in the lower river to make the most of the abundant food in these reaches.

Over in Taranaki, the winter months have been drier than average and there were no damaging floods.

Flows have been trending downwards for quite some time and at this stage it’s looking like all trout streams will be low and clear for the opening.

The famous ringplain fisheries are in great shape and should be firing fly anglers who like the challenge of sight fishing for large trout in small water.

Jack Ogden with a solid Waignongoro River brown. 

The regions larger rivers, such as the Manganui and Waingongoro (pictured above) are looking good and should fish well for spin anglers.

Up on the Central Plateau, the Mangawhero River fished well last summer and this should continue into the new season with plenty of snow-melt to keep the river in good shape.     

All in all, plenty to look forward to this season!


Grab Your Licence And Get Amongst It

The countdown to Opening Day is on, with only nine days 'til the season starts on Sunday, October 1, 2023.

Yep, that's right, the season kick off on a Sunday this year which means you've got a day off to make a special occasion for the start of the season - team up with family and mates and enjoy the day together! 

Please don't leave it to the last minute to get your licence, jump online now and get sorted. 

If you've already bought your licence, we'd like to sincerely thank you - Not only is it your passport to adventure this season, you're making a direct contribution to the freshwater angling resource and investing in the future of the pursuit you love. 

Here's where the funds from your licence are directed:

Pre-Season Checklist

Here's a checklist we've made to help you get set for Opening and make sure your first outing of 2023-24 is a success:

Wellington and Taranaki Access Maps Merged 

Looking for a new fishing spot this season or after access information? Want to find a spot in the Taranaki or Wellington region that you'd like to give a shot?

You're in luck!

Wellington and Taranaki Fish & Game have updated and merged their online access mapping.  

We'll be looking at ongoing development and even more upgrades in the future. 

However, if you notice any access points that need updating or have changed, please get in touch. 

Meanwhile we encourage anglers to explore further afield this season and trust this resource is helpful for your upcoming adventures. 

Click the map above to start planning your next angling outing!


Planning On Fishing the Upper Rangitikei? 

Anglers fishing the Upper Rangitkei will need a Designated Waters licence.  

The Upper Rangitikei River is now part of the Designated Waters fisheries management system. 


This replaces the Backcountry system and is designed to see Kiwi anglers get a fairer share on some of the waterways that Fish & Game’s research has shown are subject to too much pressure.


The new licence category will help us manage angling pressure by spreading angling effort around so that it isn’t concentrated in certain areas, which detracts from the angling experience and also has the potential to negatively impact the fisheries.

It will also allow us to gather better data on fishery use in the Upper Rangitikei River. 

For more information on Designated Waters and the requirements for anglers, click here.    

Ever Fished the South Island Canals?

If you have ever fished the canals in Central South Island, please keep an eye on your emails for a survey that is to be sent out in the coming weeks.

Fish & Game, in conjunction with Otago University, are looking to ascertain the economic value of the canal fishery. 

Should you receive a survey, we'd greatly appreciate you taking a moment to complete it - the result will help us with our advocacy for freshwater sportfish in New Zealand.        


Catch The Latest Angling News, Tips and Info 

The latest issue of Fish & Game NZ magazine is out now. 

If you purchased a licence last year, you should have received a copy in the mail.

Those who didn't fish last year can still catch up on all the action and get primed for the awesome season ahead by reading the magazine online - just click on the cover above.    



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 angling-related information you'd like posted to this noticeboard, please get in touch with us.  


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 from the Wellington and Taranaki regions 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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