Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 15 December 2022

  • Wellington
  • 15/12/2022

Happy Festive Fishing Season!    

Most of the region is covered in drizzly clouds this morning but plenty of the rivers still look stunning!

Pictured - Merry Christmas and happy holiday season from Wellington Fish & Game. 

If you're lucky enough to have finished up work early for the year, today and tomorrow offers some awesome angling opportunities!

The warm, muggy conditions have kicked the insects into overdrive, and a major hatch was underway on the Waiohine River this morning.         

We've had reports from elsewhere around the lower North Island about great mayfly and ca

ddis action too, so make sure you've got plenty of imitation options in your fly box. 

The weekend weather is, unfortunately, looking a little indifferent with scattered rain.

At time of writing it looks like it will bring the mainstem rivers up but, fingers crossed, some of the smaller tribs could still be okay.

This is the last full Lower North Lowdown report for the season. You'll still receive an abridged version over the coming weeks, with all the useful live river flow and weather links to help you plan your holiday fishing adventures.

Our full reports will resume early mid-Januray. 

We hope you have a happy and safe and Christmas, and enjoy some time on the water with family and friends over the holiday period.                                   

Don't forget to grab your licence - we look forward to seeing you out there!          

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and tributaries


Click here for live weather updates.

The HuttAkatarawa, Pakarutahi and Whakatikei are all low and super clear at time of writing this morning. We could see a hint of colour coming through the Hutt later today as the scattered rain starts to accumulate in the flow, but this could make spinning and streamer fishing very productive. More rain moving in on Saturday could confine fishing to the smaller tribs for the weekend, but  just check the flows before heading out.   

The Hutt River at Totara Park this morning (Credit: Al Markham)  


Kapiti Coast 

Click here for live weather updates.

The WaikanaeOhau and Otaki are very low this morning as the photo below clearly indicates. The scattered rain coming through today and Saturday could actually be  beneficial to the rivers and fisheries by increasing flow and reducing water temperatures. Expect to see fish a bit more active when the flows come up, as there have reportedly been some great hatches lately, although they're quite sporadic. Check the flows in case the conditions change with the forecast weather.                      

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



Click here for live weather updates.

All the main rivers are low and clear in this patch too. The RuamahangaWaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau should be fishing great today - there was a thick mayfly hatch coming off the Waiohine this morning when the photo was taken. Some heavy falls are forecast for Saturday and Sunday so it could pay to turn you angling attention to the smaller rivers and stream in the region. With such low flows the rain is actually a good thing and will set conditions up superbly for when it clears.                  

The Waiohine River at SH2 this morning (Credit: Hamish Carnachan)


Click here for live weather updates.  

The Manawatu River is looking pretty clear above the gorge and Horizons flow forecast is for it to drop further over the rest of the day. This might mean it's okay to fish tomorrow before the rain squalls move in Saturday and Sunday. The Mangatainoka is a chance if not too much rain falls in the Tararua Ranges; the Pohangina and Oroua are the best bets if the mainstem Manawatu River colours up.                      

The Manawatu River at Hopelands this morning (Credit: Horizons)


Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei River is okay higher up in the catchment but is already showing a hint of colour around Mangaweka. It is set up well for spinning in the mid reaches at time of writing but you'd best be in quick as there's quite a bit of rain forecast for the central high country. The Hautapu and Kawhatau have fished okay recently but these too will likely come up. As with last week, an option for locals is to make a run down to Marton to get amongst the rainbows we've released in the Tutaenui Reservoir (more info below).                     

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

Video Of The Week

Catch some South Island magic on the latest issue of Pure Fly. Click the screenshot below to watch.


Tip of The Week - New Stillwater At Marton 

Perch are abundant in the Tutaenui Reservoir as are rainbow trout. 

Wellington Fish & Game recently released 400 rainbow trout into the Tutaenui Reservoir near Marton for a whanau fishing day. 

The release bolstered the existing sport fish population. 

These fish were two-year-olds so they're a good size and there are still plenty swimming around waiting to be caught.

There is also a good population of medium-sized perch which are exciting to catch.

Perch are also a prized table fish and arguably eat better than trout!

The reservoir now offers anglers in the region a great stillwater fishing opportunity, an excellent fallback when rain has rendered the rivers unfishable.

For details on how to get to the Tutaenui Reservoir, please get in touch with the team. 


Tip of The Week - Target Those Backwaters        

A lovely backwater on the right hand side of the gravel bank provides lovely habitat for cruising trout (Copyright: Hamish Carnachan)

Many less-experienced anglers walk straight past slower backwater reaches of rivers, unaware of the fishing they're passing up. 

Don't make this mistake!

With fluctuating river levels like we experience early in the season, backwaters form up and fresh flow pushes food into these sections of our larger rivers. 

When the water temperatures start to climb, many backwaters will dry up or become too hot. 

At the moment, though, there is enough flow for some superb sport getting in close to browns cruising the quiet backwaters looking for an easy meal.

Rivers like the Ruamahanga, Manawatu and Rangitikei offer great backwater stalking in their mid/lower reaches. 

Remember that trout are even more alert in these parts of the river because often they are shallower, making the fish more exposed to predators.  

Your approach must be careful and quiet as the calmer water also means the clarity is improved, and thus so are the chances of any resident fish spotting you.

Make sure you use bank-side vegetation to sneak a peak, and approaching from gravels beds may even require you crawling into position on hands and knees.

Once you've located a fish, take some time to observe it. More often than not it will work a defined 'beat' or circuit.

When you think you know the trout's movements, carefully flick out a small nymph (no indicator) into its path. When it approaches next time it's working its route, a short pull on the fly line to lift the fly off the bottom should be enough to entice an inspection and, hopefully, a take. 

If you see a flash of the fish's white mouth opening, set immediately.

Backwater stalking is challenging but also heart-in-mouth angling. Next time you see a calmer stretch of water off to the side of the main flow, go and take a look - you might be surprised by what you find. 

By Fish & Game field officers Hamish Carnachan. 


Angling News - Read The Latest Issue Online

For the latest season prospects, tips and techniques, and updates on what the Wellington Fish & Game team has been up to, click here to download a copy of the new season's Angling News. 

Angler Access - Your One Stop Shop

Looking for somewhere to fish over the Christmas holidays?

Look no further! Click the map below and visit the one-stop shop for all your angling access information.    



  • Treble Hooks - New regulations for the 2022-23 season ban the use of treble hooks on waterways where there are maximum size limits on trout i.e., fish over a certain size must be returned. These rivers are identified in Note 3 on page 39 of the regulations book. This measure was adopted by the Wellington Fish & Game Council to help the survival of large fish, the breeding specimens, when released after being caught. Please consult the Wellington section of the regulations guide, particularly Note 5 which details where trebles are permitted. All other waters only single hooks are allowed. 
  • Wellington Fish & Game has been advised of the following dates for flushing flows from the Moawhango Dam:

24 Jan, 21:00-02:00

14 Feb, 21:00-02:00

14 Mar, 21:00-02:00

25 Apr, 21:00-02:00

  • 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.
  • Upcoming fishing competitions:

    January 29-30, 2023: Sport Fly Fishing New Zealand Inc (SFFNZ) Ruamahunga Regional Competition is to be run 29-30 January 2023 from Kokotau Rd (Gladstone) to Te Whiti Rd (Masterton).

 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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