Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 5 October 2023

  • Wellington
  • 2/10/2023

Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 5 October 2023

Favourable Fishing Propsects This Weekend

Pictured - A cracker Wellington small stream brown to kick off Dan Thomas’ season. Credit: Andrew Harding. 

It’s a case of ‘take two’ this weekend for many anglers who were thwarted by some wild spring weather conditions for the start of the season last Sunday.

Better angling prospects are on the cards, certainly for Saturday before rain returns to some parts on Sunday.

All the rivers in the lower North Island have had three or four days of no rain though, so they should have dropped from last weekend.

That said, Opening Day had its highlights with many parts of the Wellington and Taranaki Fish & Game regions bathed in sunshine and balmy conditions.

Anglers who got into the headwaters in Taranaki found cleaner water and some excellent fishing, with rangers encountering one lucky chap who’d bagged a 3.3kg brown!

Not a bad way to start the season.

Further south the Ruamahanga tribs, along with some of the smaller waters in the Hutt catchment, were the pick for Wellington region anglers.

Despite torrential rain on Saturday, it appears most fell as snow in the Tararuas because the rivers were actually in pretty good shape on Sunday.

One common theme from right across both regions is the excellent condition of the fish. Clearly they’ve benefited from a relatively stable winter with few majors floods.

It all bodes well for the season ahead, starting with this coming Saturday.

If you haven’t already done so, get your new season licence now and get into it.

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and Tributaries

Click here for live weather updates.

The Hutt is falling back nicely from rain earlier in the week though it is still carrying a little tannin that is filtering in from the side streams. The Akatarawa, Pakarutahi and Whakatikei are all fishable and should be holding good numbers. A few forecast showers shouldn’t hinder anglers targeting the newly opened small streams. 

The Hutt River at Melling Bridge yesterday. Credit: John Miller.


Kapiti Coast 

Click here for live weather updates.

The WaikanaeOhau and Otaki have had small freshes go through earlier in the week but are settling back nicely after several days of sunny skies and some pretty warm temperatures. Again, a few showers are expected on Saturday but nothing major and the Nor-wester will back off throughout the day.

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



Click here for live weather updates.

The WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau were probably the pick of the fisheries in the lower North Island outside the Taranaki ringplain. Anglers who got into the headwaters on Opening would have been greeted with lovely conditions including nicely clearing rivers. The rain stopped early this week and there have been some really warm days so the fishing should be firing again in these Ruamahanga tribs.

The Waiohine River at SH2 yesterday evening. Credit: Ben Ellison.



Click here for live weather updates.  

The Manawatu River is running large again with plenty of colour coming in from the Oroua and Pohangina unfortunately. Those smaller streams running into the Manawatu on the true left are going to be the best bet. And given the rain cleared early in the week the Mangatainoka could be well worth a shot too.                                   

The Pohangina River at Mais Reach yesterday. Credit: Horizons



Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei River is still large and loaded with sediment at Mangaweka; further upstream at Pukeokahu, however, it is a lot clearer suggesting the colour is coming in from the Kawhatau or Whakaurekou. Just like Opening Day, if the river continues to fall, the reaches up around Mangaohane and Springvale could be worth a look before the next spell of rain arrives.        

The Rangitikei River at Pukeokahu yesterday. Credit: Horizons.


Taranaki Ringplain

Click here for live weather updates

All river flows are falling nicely following a fresh late Monday and most waters are now very fishable with weighted nymphs. Spin and bait fishing should also take fish, as some streams are still holding a bit of tannin stain. While there is some drizzle forecast for Saturday morning it’s unlikely to affect stream flows significantly. Check out the Taranaki Regional Councils live flow data to help you plan your weekend outing.

The Patea River at Stratford yesterday afternoon. Credit: Allen Stancliff.



It’s a similar story in the Waimarino, with river flows currently falling from a fresh on Monday night. Flows in the Mangawhero River at Pakihi Road may still be a little elevated come Saturday so fishing further upstream near Ohakune may be the go.

The Manganuioteao at Ruatiti Domain will likely fish best with spinners and softbaits, although a Tongariro-style two nymph rig will also be worth a try.

The Mangawhero River at Pakihi Road yesterday evening. Credit: Horizons.


Kids Fishing Event Next Weekend

The Capital Trout Centre is holding a fishing day for kids aged 2 to 11 years old on Sunday, October 15.

The event will run from 9:00am to 3:30pm at the centre – Landfill Road, Owhiro Bay, Wellington.

All gear is provided but kids need a Capital Trout Centre licence/registration form.

These can be obtained from Capital Fishing, 49 Ghuznee Street or Hutt Valley Hunting & Fishing, 8 Te Puni Street, Petone.

The Capital Trout Centre is operated entirely by volunteers from the Wellington Fly Fishers Club and is funded by donations.

Your donations are appreciated. 


Tip Of The Week – Combatting The Wind


At this time of year, when the equinox winds are in full force, one of the best tools to have in your angling arsenal is being able to cast in all conditions.

There’s nothing more frustrating than spotting a feeding fish, trying to lay out a cast to it into the wind, only to have your fly and leader land in a heap not far from your feet.

Don’t despair, help is here!

Epic Fly Rods’ Carl McNeil has put together a brilliant video showing you how making some adjustments to your gear and your casting plane can be hugely beneficial in blustery conditions.

He recommends going up a weight in fly line to help punch into the wind, shortening you leader/tippet making it easier to lay out, and putting on a heavier fly so the extra weight helps extend the leader out on the presentation cast.

Jack Ogden with a lovely rainbow that fell for a fly drifted under a bubble float while threadline fishing. Credit: Jack Ogden.

If conditions are too challenging, there’s no reason why you can’t pull out the spin fishing gear too.

Spinning lures are much easier to punch into the wind, but if the wind is really strong consider throwing you casts flatter and closer to the water – this will certainly gain you a few extra metres.

If the fish aren’t taking large spinning lures, as can sometimes be the case, using a fly and bubble rig gives you the best of both worlds.

The bubble which is partially filled with water allows weight to cut through the wind while the fly is naturally dead-drifted back down the current.

You can check out this and other advanced spin fishing tips here.


Grab Your New Season Licence Now! 

Just another reminder to grab your new whole season fishing licence before heading on the water for Opening Day. 

Click the image above to get your online, the quick and easy way.


Plan Your Opening Day Adventure

Click the map below and visit the one-stop shop for all your angling access information, which combines Wellington and Taranaki fishing access points.

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


Have You Fished the Canals? 

If you’ve ever fished the Central South Island hydro canals, please keep an eye out for a questionnaire in your email inbox.

We’re trying to ascertain the level of angler spending in the area, and will use this information to better manage the fishery and help with our advocacy of trout fishing in general.

Please keep an eye on your email inbox, and check your junk folder too in case it has landed there.


Important Biosecurity Notice

Adult gold clams. Credit: MPI.

The unwanted organism freshwater gold clam has been found in the Waikato River system and Biosecurity NZ is trying to limit the spread of the invasive species.  

There are new requirements for how to Check Clean Dry your boat and fishing gear so you do not spread them - click here for details. 

Fish & Game NZ has also put out a statement about the biosecurity incursion. You can read it on our website here.



  • 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.
  • River Bulldozing - Don't get an unwelcome surprise by Greater Wellington Regional Council's river bulldozing ruining your day on the river. The upcoming activity schedule can be found here.


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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