Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 12 March 2020

  • Wellington
  • 12/03/2020
  • Wellington

Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 12 March 2020

Another week and yet another stunning forecast for fishing this Saturday and Sunday as the stellar run of angling weather continues for the lower North Island.  

It's isn't just the weather that's outstanding either, the fishing just gets better and better and many anglers are now calling this the best season in years, perhaps even the last decade.

Trout in the lower part of the region - around the Wellington and Wairarapa catchments - are still happily feasting on cicadas, and they are in great condition too, with one angler noting the Hutt brownies are shaped "like golden rugby balls" this season.

We've also been sent some pics of very big browns (in top nick too) from the Manawatu and tribs.

Further north, while the Rangitikei has been suffering from low flows, certainly in the mid- and upper reaches there's no noticeable impact of the drought on the fishing as they continue to look up and take dries.       

With only another six weeks or so 'til the end of the season, now is really the time to make the most of the great fishing on offer throughout the Wellington Fish & Game region!  

PS - We'd love to see any images of great catches you've made to date. Email us if you'd like to share a pic or two.                           

Pictured: Happy Aussie angler Sam Crafter with a whopping Wairarapa brown trout. 

Hutt River and tributaries


Click here for live weather updates.

No flow problems with any of the Hutt rivers at time of writing, or into the weekend. Trout will be starting to push into the tribs and smaller waters now the evening temperatures are falling and daylight hours are on the wane.           

Kapiti Coast


Click here for live weather updates.

Lovely fishing conditions again on the Kapiti Coast. Drift diving this week shows the Otaki is light on numbers in the lower reaches so it might pay to look higher up in the catchment. The Ohau and Waikanae have good fishing flows, and a drop in water temperature should see trout active and feeding happily again.                



Click here for live weather updates.

The Ruamahanga continues to fish really well despite it's low flow; look for trout to start moving now as they head to the tribs - including the WaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau - on their spawning migrations. The Waipoua confluence could see trout starting to stack up too as they wait for a decent fresh to get the trib flowing again. Note that access to The Cliffs reach of the Ruamhanga, from Dakins Road, will be closed this Saturday because of the annual Harvest Party event.          



Click here for live weather updates.     

The Manawatu and tribs - the PohanginaOroua and Mangatainoka - are all set to go this weekend. Fish should be starting to congregate at the confluences and even start moving into spawning territories anytime now. This should provide for more fantastic fishing, so make the most of it with lovely conditions heading your way over the weekend.         



Click here for live weather updates.

It's all go for angling in the central high country with the Rangitikei and Hautapu at great fishable flows. Anglers should start poking their noses around the lesser tribs too as trout will start their spawning movements from now on. Keep an eye on the flushing flow from the Moawhanga Dam scheduled for Tuesday (see the noticeboard below for more info) - this will affect fishing downstream of the confluence.                       

Tip Of The Week - Autumn Angling Tactics   

Wr Fish 5Mar2020 AH CopyAutumn trout are in the peak of their condition (Copyright: Andrew Harding)   

We've hit early autumn on the fishing calendar and that should have many anglers excited about the weeks ahead. 

With the shortening of the days, and the cooler temperatures, trout will be taking these environmental cues that an important period in their life cycle is approaching - spawning time.

Over the coming weeks trout will be focused on trying to get into peak conditions for the grueling winter reproduction period. They will be feeding frantically, and often with as little caution as when they are dialed in on large terrestrial insects like cicadas and hoppers earlier in the season . 

This is great news for the angler who has, over the scorching summer months of January and February, likely been frustrated at times by fish too lethargic to move or feed in tepid waters.

Autumn does, however, bring its own set of trials...

Fish start to move around en route to their spawning grounds, and aren't fixed to the same pools they dominated over the summer months. This means you may have to also be a little transient to catch up with them.

Pay regular visits to the smaller streams to see if they are moving in, or target the confluences where often you can find large schools of trout waiting for a fresh with which to run upstream.

Seasoned anglers will often have encountered numerous trout holding together but struggle to get them to eat as the fish seem move interested in jostling for position. This is classic pre-spawning activity and often includes displays of aggression such as large fish chasing each other around.

While it's all very intriguing to observe, it can be frustrating too!

If you encounter such a situation, tie on the biggest, ugliest, flashiest streamer you have in your box (it pays to have a couple with you at this time of year) and strip it frantically through the fray.

Invariably one on of the dominant trout in the pool will strike at it out of pure anger. 

Note too that fish are also likely to fight harder at this time of year because there's more dissolved oxygen in the cooler water, the trout are close to peak condition and, or course, they're becoming increasingly aggressive.

It therefore pays to go up in leader weight. With extra flow and subsequently more suspended sediment, the water clarity tends to drop so the fish shouldn't tend to notice.            

So, while autumn presents its own unique angling rewards, it also comes with challenges. Make sure you're prepared for them because this is a very exciting time to be on the water.                    

By Fish & Game field officer Hamish Carnachan         


Click the screen shot below to go to Horizon's website showing the list of available river webcams.


Notice board    

  • Anglers wanting to fish the Rangitikei backcountry must have a licence endorsement for this fishery. Click here to find out more. Or purchase your backcountry endorsement.   
  • Fishing regulations changes for the Wellington Fish & Game Region in 2019-2020 might affect you. Find out about the changes here.  
  • Don't get a nasty surprise by Greater Wellington Regional Council's river bulldozing ruining your day on the river. Check out the latest schedule of activity here
  • Flushing flows from the Moawhango Dam, which will cause the rivers downstream (including the Rangitikei) to rise, will be conducted on the following dates: 

Release from Dam 9:00pm Tuesday 17 March 2020 – 5 hours
Release from Dam 9:00pm Tuesday 28 April 2020 – 5 hours (subject to monitoring triggers being met)

More info on flushing flows here

 Email Wellington Communications and Field Officer Hamish Carnachan if you'd like any fishing or freshwater-related items posted to this noticeboard.

​*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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