Wellington Weekly Report 19 September 2019
Welcome to our first Weekly Fishing Report for 2019-20, with less than two weeks to go 'til the start of the new season.
And what a great season we have in store!
While the late arrival of winter was worrying, the cold did finally turn up and with it came good snow falls and consistent rain - this is just what the rivers and aquifers need for recharge and to ensure good sustainable flows through the hotter months to come.
On the eve of the new season all the rivers across the region look great as far as water flow goes. The fish have fared well too, with stable spawning conditions and several settled months to put condition back on after the rigorous spawning period.
All in all the season is shaping up to be a superb one with our monitoring work showing very good numbers of trout holding in lower North Island waters, and this year there's the added bonus of XOS specimens likely to be on the cards too (for more on that, read on).
So, if you haven't yet secured your licence, get a wriggle on. It's easy to get it online, you can use the email receipt as proof of purchase until the proper credit-card style licence arrives in the post.
Pictured Right - Hooked up to a big backcountry brown early last season (Copyright: Nick King)
The Year of The Mouse (Trout)?
DOC are very concerned about a significant rodent plague after what has been the biggest beech 'mast', or seed-producing episode, in decades.
This event is occurring in the lower North Island river catchments, with many of our higher altitude waterways flowing through beech tree forests.
A trophy brown trout that has been gorging on mice (Copyright: Nick King)
Sadly this doesn't bode well for our native birds, but it does means there will be plenty of large protein packs for trout to eat and put on weight very quickly.
The so-called mouse-trout phenomenon is peculiar to New Zealand and only happens once in a blue moon.
Could this be the year? It certainly seems that way.
Towards the end of last season we had reports of trout being caught that were full of rodents, and this was before the full extent of the plague.
Some of the mouse-trout we heard about were taken in lowland waters in Wairarapa and the Hutt catchment too, so there's the very real prospect of anglers finding trophy trout literally on their doorstep when the season opens October 1.
Lowland or Backcountry
While many anglers make a bee-line for the backcountry over Opening, they are often disappointed by the weather or how busy it is with angling pressure.
Yes, the fisheries in the remote hills and mountain catchments are stunning places to visit and cast a line, but invariably they fish much better later in the season anyway when the weather is more settled and the masses have dispersed.
The Wellington region backcountry is more rewarding later in the season (Copyright: Hamish Carnachan)
Often overlooked by anglers in their haste to get into the hills are our bountiful lowland fisheries.
Sure, these are generally open year-round. However, they really come into their own in October and November as the whitebait start running.
It can be super exciting targeting big-estuarine trout that are chasing whitebait, baby kahawai and herring.
Netting a solid sea-run trout in the lower Ruamahanga. Note - Foot access for angling is very good in these reaches too (Copyright: Andrew Harding)
The lower Ruamahanga has been my go-to at this time of year for the past two seasons. But any number of the larger river systems in the lower North Island will offer the same rewards in the lower reaches early season.
Why not turn Opening on its head go for the lowland experience?
A Heap On Offer for lower North Island Anglers
Ever wondered why they refer to the Wellington Fish & Game region as the greatest trout fishing capital in the world?
Check out this short video and be inspired by your local angling resource!
Regs Changes for 2019-20
Wellington Fish & Game has new rules around the use of treble hooks (Copyright: Hamish Carnachan)
There have been four changes to the fishing regulations for the coming season in the Wellington Fish & Game region:
1. Bait fishing will be prohibited in all waters that close for winter in the Wellington Fish & Game region.
2. The use of treble hooks is prohibited in these waters. Spin fishing with single hooks is still permitted during the open season.
3. The daily bag limit of trout has been reduced to two fish on the Manawatu River downstream of Maunga Road Bridge (upstream of
4. The daily bag limit of trout has been reduced to two fish on the Ruamahanga and its major tributaries downstream of
SH2, and the length of the Tauweru River.
Please make sure you're familiar with all the regulations and bag limits before heading out on Opening Day!
Full Fishing Report Next Week
Our normal Weekly Fishing Report, with all the up-to-date weather forecasts, live river webcams and river flows, will be in next week's issue to help you plan your Opening Day foray. Don't miss the best angling intel available!
And if you think a friend would like to receive the Weekly Fishing Report, get them to sign up.
- Anyone planning on fishing the Rangitikei backcountry fishery is required to purchase a special licence endorsement to cover public liability insurance that the neighbouring landowners now require of anglers - See here for more details.
- Proposed dates for the Moawhango Dam flushing flow have been announced. These flushing events will cause the rivers downstream (including the Rangitikei) to rise:
10/11 December 2019
28/29 January 2020
18/19 February 2020
17/18 March 2020
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 - please ensure you check the latest weather and river flow information before you head out on the water.