Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 30 September 2020

  • Wellington
  • 2/10/2020

Season-Opening Stunner On The Cards!

A big backcountry rainbow from last season plenty more of these to be caught in 2020 21 Credit Matt Kavermann2

A big backcountry rainbow from last season - plenty more of these to be caught in 2020-21 (Credit Matt Kavermann)

For the first time in many years the Opening Day of the angling season is going to be an absolute stunner for Wellington Fish & Game anglers.

While the start of the fishing season in the lower North Island is often marred by adverse weather, this year October 1 will offer up sensational conditions for those lucky enough to get out on the water tomorrow.

Rivers are falling back to fishable flows following rain and snow early in the week, and the southerly system that brought the rough weather has been replaced with sunny skies and light winds.

Add into the mix trout that haven't seen anglers for some months – certainly in the backcountry – and you've got a recipe for stunning angling.

If you're not able to hike into the hills, don't worry, the easily accessible lower reaches of our larger rivers are firing with good runs of whitebait proving a magnet for hungry fish recovering from the spawning season.

We appreciate not everyone can get the day off tomorrow to celebrate October 1, however, the weekend forecast is looking pretty good too.

The team at Wellington Fish & Game wishes you a successful start to the season whenever you manage to get out and wherever you choose to go in this bountiful fishing region.

Grab your licence and make sure you keep in touch and let us know how you're getting on over the course of the season.

All the best for season 2020-21!


Here's the outlook:

Hutt River and tributaries 

Hutt30Sep2020 resized

Click here for live weather updates

The Hutt is carrying flow and colour but is dropping back nicely. It will still be high tomorrow but should superb for spin angling and fly fishing with streamers. The tributaries will have a little colour but are clearing faster than the mainstem and will be well worth a look having been closed for the winter.


Kapiti Coast 

Kapiti30Sep2020 resized

Click here for live weather updates.

The Waikanae is still discharging a lot of flow from Monday's weather system but, being the smaller of the main Kapiti Coast rivers it will naturally return to fishable flow faster. This is our pick until the Otaki drops a lot of flow. Alternatively, a look up into the headwaters upstream of Otaki Forks could prove very fruitful if the two tributaries have dropped back enough.



Wairarapa30Sep2020 resized

Click here for live weather updates.

The Ruamahanga has seen two large floods in as many weeks and is still carrying a lot of water downstream of Masterton. Top picks for the Wairarapa are the backcountry rivers – Waiohine, Waingawa and Tauherenikua (check the flows here) – while lowland anglers should encounter some good fishing in the smaller spawning streams with recovering trout yet to drop back into the main river systems.



Manawatu30Sep2020 resizedClick here for live weather updates.

The Manawatu is still very dirty and will take some days to clear to a fishable state. With the season starting tomorrow, however, the best fishing is going to be in the smaller tributary and headwater streams that have been closed over winter. These will be holding good numbers of recovering trout that will eagerly take flies or lures having not seen anglers for many months. The Pohangina is a good indication of how the tribs will be tomorrow – it is carrying colour but clearing quickly and should be in great shape by the time tomorrow rolls around.



Rangitikei30Sep2020 resized

It is going to be some time before the Rangitikei drops its flow and snowmelt. However, looking at the webcam at Pukeokahu it could be fished with spinning gear higher up in the catchment. The Hautapu is also and, while it is dropping quickly, will likely fish best in the weekend. Anglers looking to get out tomorrow should target the smaller Rangitikei tribs.


Park and Cast 

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If you're on the road travelling these school holidays, why not take a break and hit the water with a fishing rod on the way to or from your destination?

It's a great boredom buster for kids who are going stir-crazy in the car on long trips and generally making life miserable for mum and dad.

We've designed a web-based package of resources to make it super simple for travelers to find a local river to cast a fly or lure into with a very good chance of catching trout. We call it Park & Cast.

Likewise, if your staying at home with the kids these school hols, Park & Cast has all the info you need to make trout fishing easy. Check it out!


Tip of the Week

While we've got a lovely settled forecast for the next couple of days, the lower North Island spring winds will surely kick in again soon.

Fishing in such conditions can make for very trying fly casting, so here are my top tips for beating the bluster...

  • Go up in line weight - Even if you're fishing small water, your big lake rod or Taupo gear can often punch through the wind. It won't be pretty, but it'll get a fly on or in the water.
  • Consider the spin option - Short rods and heavy spinning lures are infinitely better when it's blowing a gale, no question.
  • Seek shelter - Some stretches of river will be more sheltered than others, making it much easier to cast a fly. Target sections that have high banks or high tress lining the river's edge as these will break up the wind and reduce its velocity.
  • Go heavy - If your heart is set on the so-called purist pursuit, think about using heavy nymphs. These will unfurl the leader much better than a lighter pattern or a large wind-resistant terrestrial dry fly.
  • Don't cast - Rather than trying to cast into a headwind, put on a stream fly and strip line out downstream i.e. let the current do the work. Streamers work well at this time of year in certain lowland reaches too as there are an abundance of migratory fish around.

Think outside the square, mix things up, and you'll always get a shot at a fish no matter what the conditions throw at you.

By Wellington Fish & Game officer Hamish Carnachan.



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Notice board

  • Fishing regulations for the Wellington Fish & Game Region in 2020-21 can be found 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

If you'd like any fishing or freshwater-related items posted to this noticeboard over the course of the season, please get in touch.

*This report was accurate at time of writing - please ensure you check the latest weather and river flow information before you head out on the water.

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