Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 5 March 2020

  • Wellington
  • 5/03/2020
  • Wellington

Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 5 March 2020

Autumn has arrived right on cue with rain and a dramatic drop in temperatures across the region. 

While the long-range outlook has more cool weather and some rain forecast for the next few weeks, the good news is this weekend is looking all clear and will provide some awesome angling conditions.

The extra flow in the rivers and the cooler water will have reinvigorated the fish, perhaps even spurring some into pre-spawning mode. 

The change in the seasons will certainly see trout starting to feed ferociously as they try to put on as much weight as possible before the grueling winter spawning period.

That means now's a great time to be on the water as much as you possibly can because there'll be a noticeable increase in trout feeding activity.

So, with the weather playing it's part this weekend, make the most of what's on offer. 

PS - We know from our drift diving that there are some sensational fish about this season, and we'd love to see any images of great catches to date. Email us if you;d like to share a pic or two.                           

Pictured: Field officer Matt Kavermann with a lovely brown trout from one of the small lagoons adjacent to Lake Wairarapa (Copyright Hamish Carnachan).  

Hutt River and tributaries


Click here for live weather updates.

The Hutt is up at 10 cumecs (usually running at 3 cumecs) after yesterday's welcome rain dump. It is dropping out quickly but expect a bit of colour in the river this weekend - this should play to the angler's favour though. With the cooler weather and dwindling daylight hours, it might be time to start checking out the smaller spawning streams in the coming weeks.     

Kapiti Coast


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The Otaki is carrying twice the flow it's had over the recent dry spell along with a hint of colour, but it should be spot on for the weekend. The Ohau and Waikanae have had a good little fresh however they are both almost back to base flows today. Cicadas are still very active in this part of the region so hitting the rivers with big flies after the recent reset could prove very productive.               



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There's still been very little rain on the plains in Wairarapa but a good dump in the Tararuas yesterday has seen the Ruamahanga spike, along with the other major tribs - the Waiohine, Waingawa and Tauherenikau. Expect a bit of residual flow and colour over the weekend but all should be fishable and fishing well. Even the      Waipoua has recorded a small amount of flow - somewhat of a minor miracle given it's been running dry for weeks!       



Click here for live weather updates.     

The Manawatu tribs - the PohanginaOroua - are still heading up after the recent rain, suggesting the mainstem downstream of the gorge might still have some water and colour to clear before the weekend. Check the flows before hitting these reaches. Meanwhile the Mangatainoka has spilled most of its rainfall and is quickly dropping to the low flow level of the last few weeks - the Manawatu upstream of the confluence looks clear and good to go.        



Click here for live weather updates.

Some welcome rain for the high country has seen the Rangitikei rise quite a bit. At time of writing it is carrying colour at Mangaweka but looks to have peaked and should soon start to fall. The Hautapu has also seen a spike in flow but is falling back to base levels pretty quickly.                   

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

  • Greater Wellington Regional Council has issued an advisory about toxic algae in the Waipoua River - read more here. Please note that this does not mean that you can't fish, however trout in affected waters are likely to be stressed so care should be taken if you plan to release them.      
  • 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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