Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 7 December 2023

  • Taranaki Wellington
  • 5/12/2023

Lower North Lowdown Weekly Fishing Report - 7 December 2023

Pictured - Ben Ellison with a prime Wellington backcountry brownie (Credit: Ben Ellison).   

Great Time to ReWild Yourself   

The rivers are looking superb pretty much right across both the Wellington and Taranaki Fish & Game regions. 

Fine weather and sunny skies prevail for most of the weekend until some drizzle moves in on Sunday but this won't be enough to impact your weekend angling. 

The spring winds are still hanging around so packing a spinning rod in case you find fly casting tough going is an excellent insurance policy and the flows are still high enough for successful threadline fishing. 

We know it gets hectic around this time of year with the race towards the Christmas finish line and fishing might not be front and centre. 

Just remember, though, getting out in nature and on the water - ReWilding yourself - is one of the best things you can do for your stress levels. 

So, with a good forecast for the weekend, it's a great opportunity to recharge the batteries for the last few weeks of the working year.            

Grab your season licence now.   

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and Tributaries

Click here for live weather updates.

The Hutt River and tributaries - the Akatarawa, Whakatikei and Pakarutahi - are low and clear and looking very fishy under sunny Capital skies this morning. It is going to get blustery on Sunday so today and tomorrow are likely to offer the best conditions for fly anglers, otherwise the flows are still good for spin angling if you want to fish through Sunday too.                           

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


Kapiti Coast 

Click here for live weather updates.

No issues here on the Kapiti Coast - the WaikanaeOhau and Otaki all look a picture with low flows and clear water. The northerly is quite strong in exposed places this morning but it is expected to back off as the day goes on. A few spots of rain return Sunday, however, it is unlikely to affect river condition.                       

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



Click here for live weather updates.

The Ruamahanga look as good as it ever will this morning. It is a little breezy lower in the valley but up around Masterton and angling conditions are best described as idyllic. The main tributaries - the WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau - are all good to go and may present backcountry opportunities for the adventurous on Saturday.              

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



Click here for live weather updates.  

The ManawatuOroua and Pohangina are finally all running clear after a week of negligible rain. The Mangatainoka River spiked overnight Monday from weather in the Tararuas but it is back to a good fishable flow. The Mangahao is looking great too and there's the odd report of some good fish holding - likely due to trout moving up out of the Manawatu to get away from the sustained high sediment load it has been carrying.                                               

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



Click here for live weather updates.

The Central High Country fishery is probably the best it has been all season, so now's your chance to get amongst what has been simply awesome angling in the mid-upper reaches of the Rangitikei River. There's a hint of colour at Mangaweka but it should fish well for spin anglers; upstream is low and clear and a fly angler's dream!

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


Taranaki Ringplain

Click here for live weather updates

Following a minor pulse in flow on Monday, all Ringplain streams and rivers are at low flow and very fishable now. Saturday is looking like a cracker of a day - fine and sunny - and Sunday has just the possibility of a shower during the middle of the day which shouldn't disrupt your fishing plans. The latest live flow data for Ringplain rivers can be found here.

The Waiwhakaiho River at Merilands Domain this morning (Credit: Allen Stancliff).



Click here for live weather updates.

Similar to the Ringplain, all the Waimarino streams and rivers had a fresh overnight Monday but they are at fishable levels at time of writing. There are a few spots of drizzle and cloud around up on the Central Plateau this morning, however, that should clear through the day with largely fine weather until a few showers move in on Sunday. The Mangawhero is falling quickly and should be firing by tomorrow.  

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


Tip of The Week - Change of Season, Change of Diet

With all our waterways open for a couple of months now, many fish have seen their fair share of flies and lures!

The first couple of weeks saw some very high catch rates on all manner of artificials, with the bright and shiny often performing best.

Now that the trout have been fished to a bit, anglers would do well to use more natural imitations to fool these increasingly educated fish.

Nymphs such as Hare and Coppers, Copper Johns and Pheasant Tails, and small soft baits or Rapala type lures in natural browns and blacks are recommended over the typical garish, bright, and loud flies and lures that were so effective at the start of the season.

You can also increase you success by reducing indicator size or replacing it with a small dry fly in order to present naturally and discreetly.

A classic for the Wellington region rivers is a small Royal Wulff (as the indicator) paired with a size 14 Flash Back pheasant tail nymph or bead-head Hare and Copper. 


Newsletter - Angling Intel for the Season 

Packed full of news, tips and prospects for the season ahead, the Wellington-Taranaki Angling Newsletter is out now. 

Didn't receive a copy in the post? Click on the cover above to download it or get in touch and we'll send one out to you.    


Tip of The Week - Catch and Release

As the weather warms, even more care needs to go into fish you intend returning to the water (Credit: Nick King). 

With summer fast approaching, now is a good time to touch up on the best practices for catch and release in order to ensure that your fish has the best chance of survival once returned.

  • Cool your hands and landing net by wetting them before touching the fish.

  • Keep the fish in the water while removing the hook.

  • Do not squeeze the fish and never touch the gills.

  • Photograph the fish in or over the water and make it quick – the fish should not be out of the water for more than 5 seconds.

  • Face the fish into the current, gently holding it, long enough for it to regain its swimming strength.

If the fish you catch is unable to be released and it’s legal to keep, you should keep it as part of your bag limit and utilise it for the table.

If requiring any tips on how to process or cook your catch, click this link.


Plenty of Perch for the Plate

Wellington and Taranaki have numerous places where perch can be targeted, many of which are close to the main town centres. 

These include:

  • Lake Wairarapa and the lower Ruamahanga River
  • Henley Lake, Masterton
  • Hokowhitu Lagoon, Palmerston North
  • Marton Reservoir, Bulls
  • Lake Rotomanu, New Plymouth
  • Lake Ratapiko, north of Stratford
  • Lake Rotokare, near Eltham

Click the screenshot above to watch Fish & Game's short video on tips and techniques for catching perch. 

Although filmed on the West Coast, it is relevant to perch fishing anywhere in the country.


Successful Stratford Kids Trout Fishing Day!

Success at the Stratford Kids trout fishing day. (Credit: Bart Jansma)

The Patea River Scout Den Pool at King Edward Park in Stratford is still holding good numbers of rainbow trout from last Saturday’s kids fishing day. 

It will remain a good place to take the kids for a fish (or practise with a fly rod) with a good chance of success.

Fish & Game would like to sincerely thank the Taranaki Electricity Trust for supporting the event, along with the Stratford Fishing Club, Stratford Lions and local volunteers.


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:

    • 12-13 Dec, 21:00-06:00
    • 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
  • The algal bloom at Lake Ngangana, near Waitara, has now subsided and 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.

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