Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 9 February 2023

  • Wellington
  • 9/02/2023

Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 9 February 2023

Perfect Set Up for Fishing This Weekend                

Pictured - A lower North Island backcountry gem (Photo: Tim Angeli) 

Nothing but good news for the fishing prospects - the rain that brought rivers up last weekend has pushed through and is going to clear just in time for Saturday.

The rivers have had a great recharge after a period of low flows and warm water temperatures that has seen algae become a problem in some places. 

Everything is fresh now and nicely reset, with lovely weather condition also forecast to last over the weekend.

The cicadas are well into breeding mode and should soon start dying off and hitting the water. And as John Miller details in our 'Tip of the Week' below, it  pays not to overlook passion vine hoppers at this time of year.

It's all go. Make sure you get out on the water this weekend while the weather and river conditions are perfect because it is going to rapidly deteriorate from Tuesday with the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle. 

Here's the outlook for the weekend:


Hutt River and tributaries

Click here for live weather updates.

The HuttAkatarawa, Pakarutahi and Whakatikei are all set up perfectly for the weekend. As John Millar reports, the Hutt was been high and dirty early in the week but is dropping and almost at ‘summer level’ with just a very slight tinge of colour and looking very fishy. The Cicadas are now in full song after the recent wet spell which would have softened the clay soils here, enabling them to emerge. 

The Hutt River at Manor Park this morning (Credit: John Miller)  


Kapiti Coast 

Click here for live weather updates.

Reports from the Kapiti Coast say the WaikanaeOhau and Otaki rivers are all looking great after the fresh earlier in the week scoured off the algae which was accumulating after a period of low flows. The big bugs are about - the clatter of cicadas being deafening at times. With plenty of large food items around for the fish, and rivers falling ack to normal, there should be some great angling over the coming weekend.                                



Click here for live weather updates.

Don't let the image below deceive you, the Wairarapa weather is pretty benign today with a gentle southerly pushing just a few light showers through this morning. That is tipped to improve and change to clear sunny skies for the rest of the weekend. The RuamahangaWaiohineWaingawa and Tauherenikau are all falling back to 'normal' flows for this time of year, meaning the fishing is going to be set up perfectly for the weekend when combined with the warm fine forecast.       


Click here for live weather updates.  

The Manawatu River is again carrying plenty of colour and local advice is that it likely won't be fishable for at least another 24 to 36 hours. The Oroua is carrying colour but is fishable at time of writing; given the proximty of their catchments, the Pohangina is likely to be the same though may take a little longer to clear given its larger size. The rate at which their falling, though, suggests good fishing conditions come Saturday. The Mangatainoka seems to have avoided most of the rain, has dropped back quickly, and is good to go.                        

The Oroua River at Almadale this morning (Credit: Horizons)


Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei River has a touch of colour again below Mangaweka but should fish well for spin anglers or those casting across and down with large streamers. It should continue to clear over the next  few days with no foreseeable rain, and the higher up in the catchment you can get the clearer the water will be - try Mangaohane or Springvale if you want some great fishing this weekend. No reports in on whether the Kawhatau has cleared after what was likely a large slip - we'd love to hear from you if you have any local intel on this.      

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


Video Of The Week

Here's a nicely put together video from Hatch Productions - a sojourn into a famous Fiordland wilderness river.

Click the screenshot below to watch.


A Major Threat to The Future of Fishing 

The Government's proposed replacement for the Resource Management Act (RMA) has major ramifications for the future of angling and access to our outdoor resource. 

To find out more, and have a say, click here.   


Tip Of The Week - Tiny Trout 'Candy'

While only 10-12mm long, trout develop a taste for passion vine hoppers at this time of year and can feed very selectively on them. 

While the noisy cicadas a hogging the limelight at the moment, John Miller shares an anecdote that reminds us not to overlook the more obscure terrestrial insects that are prevalent at this time of year.     

I recall three seasons ago, I was with three mates on a fishing trip to the Mohaka River in March. One mate and I decided to fish upstream from the road bridge at McVicars Rd. He had his rod set up in the car and I had to assemble mine so he locked his car and set off downstream while I got ready.

It took me about 10 mins and I expected that he would pass me by very shortly because when he and I fished together he always passed me to get to the virgin water. Over a number of years I had resigned myself to fishing behind him because otherwise it would become a race and good water would be overlooked.

I started nymphing upstream and fished for several hours without seeing him so assumed he had leapfrogged me along the way, or worse than that had injured himself or drowned. I headed back downstream to the car and as I approached I saw him coming towards me.

Well, he looked OK, so that was a relief, but he looked very angry. When within earshot he blurted out some French about carrying on ahead without him and stated that he had fished in the same spot for about three hours. Then he told me that in that pool the trout had been rising continuously all the time and he had tried 49 different flies but never had a rise.

I thought he was exaggerating until he showed me the flies on the fly patch on his vest. Unbelievable, but true. He insisted that I go downstream with him to see for myself. It was mid to late afternoon and a warm bright day. We came to the pool and, yes, trout were still rising steadily.

I had on a weighted nymph and Cicada indicator. I changed the nymph to a size 16 emerger pattern and covered some rising trout. These were all browns in the size range from 2.5-3.5lbs as far as I could see.

No takers so I had a quick look at the flies he had used and by a quick process of elimination I figured that since we could not see what the trout were feasting on the flies were either emerging or may have been passion vine hoppers that would lie flat on the water.

I put on a small CDC emerger which I then trimmed to emulate a hopper i.e. delta wings. My second cast brought up a fish that took the fly without hesitation. It was smallish at about 2.25lb but it gave a good fight before coming to the net.

My friend asked if I had another similar fly in my box that he could use. I found another that was not exactly the same but after giving it a haircut it looked passable so he tied it on and continued fishing.

I hooked and landed a bigger trout very soon after, it was certainly over 3lb. Trout were still rising but were harder to hook now. After a while my mate hooked another trout that put up a good fight before self-releasing. I was standing by with a landing net and when he checked his hook I noticed a fish scale meaning that the trout was foul-hooked and not in the mouth.

So, the moral of the story is not to overlook passion vine hoppers at this time of year.


Important Survey - Please Have Your Say

Horizons Regional Council is currently collecting data on freshwater recreation in the region.

It is part of the broader Oranga Wai Freshwater Futures project Horizons is completing to set policy and regulations for freshwater management in the region.

This includes iconic fisheries like the Upper Rangitikei, Manganuiateo, Upper Whanganui which we're sure many Wellington Fish & Game anglers enjoy.

We urge you to complete the survey for each river you fish in the Horizons region.

However, it is a little cumbersome and requires some level of skill with mapping and GIS software. If you have trouble with the survey, let Horizons know and ask that they record your concern about how it has been set and that it is inappropriate way to gather public input. 

Thanks for your time taking part in this - it could have a bearing on your future enjoyment of the region's fisheries.    


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.

 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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