Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 26 January 2023

  • Wellington
  • 26/01/2023

Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 26 January 2023

Cicadas Buzzing - Trout Biting              

Pictured - Hunter Stewart-Weeks helping his Dad net a fine brown from a Manawatu River tributary (Sam Stewart-Weeks)     

More good angling weather is on the cards this weekend, and with most rivers in the region in top shape be sure to get out on the water.

Cicadas have been making their presence known for the last few weeks - from Wellington all the way up to the Central Plateau they've been out so these big bugs will now be firmly on the trout diet. 

This can be one of the most exciting times of the season, with large fish smashing large flies off the surface. 

The added bonus is that cicada season can make normally wary trout throw caution to the wind and feed readily. Make sure you get amongst the action!                                              

Grab your licence - we'll see you out on the water.         

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and tributaries

Click here for live weather updates.

The HuttAkatarawa, Pakarutahi and Whakatikei are all looking stunning, as is the Wainuiomata. Low flows and sunny skies today; the odd shower is forecast over the next couple of days but nothing to put a dampener on what has been great fishing in this part of the region. Cicadas have been prevalent so make sure you have a good selection in you fly box and get your cast well in under cover such as overhanging vegetation.         

The Hutt River at Silverstream Bridge this morning (Credit: John Miller)  


Kapiti Coast 

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It is another stunning day on the Kapiti Coast with more calm conditions and blue skies forecast for the weekend. The odd shower may push through but won't come to much. The WaikanaeOhau and Otaki rivers are clear and low and could actually do with a touch of rain to top them up. That doesn't look like it's going to happen in the foreseeable future so the fishing is all go.                        



Click here for live weather updates.

The RuamahangaWaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau are running clear and near normal summer low flows. A few showers are forecast but there won't be enough precipitation to bring the rivers up, meaning ample opportunity to explore any of the region's waterways this weekend. The backcountry has reportedly been fishing reasonably well but trout need a little more condition - that'll likely come on with the excellent cicada hatch over the last two to three weeks.      

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


Click here for live weather updates.  

The Manawatu River is finally clearing, although there is some colour in the Oroua which may affect the mainstem below the confluence. With only the odd shower forecast, this should clear by the weekend. Upstream, though, it looks to be fishable, including through the Palmy section. The Mangatainoka continues to fish well from the SH2 ridge up to Pahiatua. The Pohangina is clear and good to go.                       

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


Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei River has a touch of colour below Mangaweka but is set up well for spin fishing today. Further upstream it is running clear enough for fly anglers. There's rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday unfortunately, although the forecasters say it will be 'scattered'. This leaves a window for fishing if flows don't come up too much, however, the best bet is going to be higher up in the catchment including the smaller rivers and streams.     

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


Video Of The Week

Join the Pure Fly team as they head into the Waitaki Watershed - a massive catchment that  includes Lake Ohau, Lake Pukaki, Lake Tekapo, Lake Benmore and Lake Aviemore.

The system is full of trout, both brown and rainbow, and there is also a small run of Chinook Salmon that come in from the sea.

The tributaries of the Waitaki are numerous and are mostly small, clear streams that have a reputation for producing big, strong trout.

Click the screenshot below to watch.


Tip Of The Week- Size Matters

Now that we're into the cicada season, I thought I'd share some personal insight into what is arguably the most exciting period on the angling calendar.

Cicada season gets anglers into such a frenzy of excitement that over the decades all manner of concoctions have been been created to try and imitate these insects.

It can be mindboggling for the average angler to discern which pattern to go for, with the ubiquitous Clark's Cicada often the default selection because it is the most life-like.

What I've found over the years, however, is that size, not pattern, is often the most important element.

Let's face it, most cicada imitations essentially have the same shape - big and bulky. Whether it's a PMX, a Clark's, a Stimulator, or any other of the multitude of variants, aside from a few added appendages and flashy bits they all look like blobs on the water.

All natural cicada species have the same body shape, however, not all species are the same size.

This can often be the cause of many anglers' frustration when they find themselves in a trout cicada-feeding frenzy but the fish won't take their offering.

Nine-times out of ten the problem will be that they are using the wrong size.

Some seasons in the lower North Island, the predominant cicada on the wing (and on the trout menu) is a small species, completely black, and only about 20mm long.

Most cicada imitations are tided on hooks much longer than that, and the result is the fish just won't take the stock standard store-bought fly.

They will, however, go for a good match in size, no matter what manner of fluff and tinsel is attached to the hook.

So, size matters, even during cicada season.

- By Wellington Fish & Game officer Hamish Carnachan.


Angler Access - Your One Stop Shop

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:

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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