Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 18 March 2021

  • Wellington
  • 16/03/2021
  • Wellington

Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 18 March 2021

All systems are go for the weekend ahead - excellent fishing flows, sunny skies and little wind.

The big high moving across New Zealand should see the fish happy and back on the bite after a slow start to the week amid higher flows and cooler temperatures. 

It has certainly been a month of abundance in the lower North Island so far though with superb trout numbers, wonderfully conditioned fish and some of the best surface feeding activity we’ve seen in years.

The cicadas are still going in some pockets but they will taper off as the temperatures start to fall. However, the caddis hatches are still coming off in clouds on calm evenings, particularly on the Ruamahanga and Rangitikei and their tribs.  

The cooler evening temperatures and shorter days will soon flick a switch and a change in trout behaviour so be prepared to cover all bases. As we head towards April a shift in your angling technique might be required and, with trout becoming more aggressive and territorial, streamer fishing or spinning can really pay dividends.

The action is still running hot so get into it!     

Here's the outlook:   

Pictured: A big old rainbow jack from a small Wellington region headwater stream (Credit: Hamish Carnachan).   

Hutt River and tributaries 


Click here for live weather updates.

The Hutt, Akatarawa and Pakarutahi are all going to be back to normal flows by tomorrow and should fish well over the weekend after the rain that's run through. This fresh could be the first to trigger the spawning runs so start to pay attention to the tribs from now onwards.            


The Hutt River at Heretaunga this morning (Credit: Steve Doughty)


Kapiti Coast 


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Just a little pulse of rain has gone through the Kapiti Coast rivers but it will be enough to freshen everything up and could even start to trigger spawning movements. Flows for the OtakiOhau and Waikanae will certainly be fishable from today right through the weekend; anglers out and about would do well to focus some attention on smaller tribs and confluences where trout will be starting to congregate for spawning.          


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



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The Ruamahanga is carrying a bit of extra flow and colour from its swollen tribs - the Waiohine and Waingawa - but it will be back to its best by the time Saturday rolls around. Anglers can expect fish to start turning up in numbers in the smaller tribs from now on so it could pay to take a walk up the Waipoua, Huangarua and Kopuaranga.                    

Waiohine SH2 11.6cumecs Gorge

The Waiohine River at SH2 yesterday (Credit: Hamish Carnahcan) 




Click here for live weather updates.     

A nice little fresh has gone through the Manawatu system but all rivers should be set up beautifully for fishing this weekend. The Manawatu River is up a touch, this might increase briefly with a bit more flow coming in from the Mangatainoka but will be short lived. The Pohangina and Oroua are up slightly but running crystal clear. All in all the fresh will be a good trigger to start spawning runs.                            

Pohangina Piripiri 561mmStage

The Pohangina River at Piripiri yesterday (Photo: Horizons)



Click here for live weather updates.

At last, after several consecutive weekends of washouts, we've got stunning conditions for all the central high country rivers. Fish & Game staff will be conducting annual drift dive counts in this part of the region over the next few days - we apologise in advance if this interferes with your fishing plans but any disturbance we may cause will be very short lived.                                             

Rangitikei Mangaweka 2961mmStage

Rangitikei River at Mangaweka yesterday (Photo: Horizons)

Tip of The Week - Confluences Are The Hotspots

The cooler evening temperatures and shorter days we're now experiencing are some of the environmental cues that signal to trout spawning time is approaching.

Subsequently, trout should soon be starting to move towards their natal spawning streams. 

You might notice fish starting to school up, chase each other around instead of feeding, and getting more aggressive and territorial. These are all indications that they're moving into breeding mode.

Often the fish will hold off running into the shallow and narrow spawning tributaries until the last minute - this is a survival mechanism because the smaller waters leave trout susceptible to predation with less cover to seek refuge. 

The result of this delayed run to the headwater streams is often large congregations of trout forming at confluences.         

These fish can seem tricky to catch as they are more interested in chasing each other than feeding. 

However, because they are increasingly territorial, they will often snap at a large streamer fly or spinning lure out of aggression.

The preoccupation with other fish also means you can sneak in really close without the fish spooking. 

Next time you're out on the water over the coming weeks, be sure to keep an eye on any confluence waters - you might strike it lucky.                

     - By Wellington Fish & Game officer Hamish Carnachan. 



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


Notice board

  • Fishing regulations for the Wellington Fish & Game region can be found here.  
  • 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.

  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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