Wellington Weekly Fishing Report - 20 February 2020

A pulse of rain early Saturday morning is welcome news for struggling rivers and trout in the region but it makes forecasting angling conditions a tad tricky.    

But because the ground is so dry at the moment, and the rivers so low, there's every chance that the rain won't impact your fishing plans too much. 

The take home message, though, is to watch the weather forecast and flows closely using the links we provide below.  

A good fresh is still exactly what we need after weeks of no rain in parts. It should really liven up the waterways and give the fish some welcome relief from low flows and warm water temps. 

The small flush that went through the Hutt last week kicked the fishing into top gear, here's hoping the short burst of widespread rain will do the same for the rest of our fisheries.   

Pictured: A beautiful backcountry rainbow for Wellington Fish & Game field officer Hamish Carnachan.  

Hutt River and tributaries

Hutt20Feb2020

Click here for live weather updates.

The Hutt is carrying some desperately-needed extra water from a rain event in the ranges yesterday. The cool water and additional flow have already kicked the fish into action with excellent fishing on offer as the river falls! The Akatarawa and other smaller feeder streams are fast dropping the higher flows and should be well set for the weekend depending on the amount of rain that falls Saturday morning.    

Kapiti Coast

Waikanae20Feb2020

Click here for live weather updates.

The WaikanaeOtaki and Ohau rivers are still dropping the rain that fell in the ranges. Most of the rivers got to well above the low flows of the last few weeks but are fast returning to normal. With this in mind they'll be set up perfectly for fishing if Saturday's rain doesn't come to too much.          

Wairarapa

Wairarapa20Feb2020

Click here for live weather updates.

The Ruamahanga and other main Wairarapa rivers - including the WaipouaWaiohine and Kopuaranga - have barely registered any increase in flow. Rain that fell this past week has either been too localized or too light. That said, staff on environmental call out yesterday noticed good numbers of fish at key access points in the mid-Ruamahanga reaches. The fish are there but probably most active during the cooler parts of the day.      

Manawatu

Manawatu20Feb2020

Click here for live weather updates.     

The rivers are low and slow in the Manawatu region. The Manawatu River mainstem is still fishing surprisingly well, according to reports, despite the warmer water temps. Like the mainstem, the Pohangina and Oroua and other tribs desperately need rain so this brief event on Saturday morning will hopefully offer some relief. Check the flows before you head out to make sure the rivers haven't coloured up too much though.   

Rangitikei

Rangitikei20Feb2020

Click here for live weather updates.

The Rangitikei and Hautapu are running really low at the moment, as low as we've seen them for some years. While both have been fishing exceptionally, the fisheries would certainly benefit from some rain to freshen them up - so here's hoping the forecast weather for Saturday morning arrives. Because of the size of the Rangitikei catchment, please make sure you're up to date with the latest river flows before heading out on the water.              

Tip Of The Week - Finding Fish in Drought Conditions

LakeWaia CopyRiver deltas like this one at Lake Wairarapa are great places to find congregations of trout during the summer (Copyright: Hamish Carnachan)   

With the long run of fine weather, staff have been spending plenty of time on, in and under the water conducting our sportfish population monitoring programme.

It gives us the opportunity to observe fish movements and, particularly this year, how drought influences trout distributions. 

As we've seen in previous dry years, there are patterns of movement which anglers can use to boost their catch rate. The key is to target the right areas where trout are holding during periods of low flow and higher water temperatures. 

Some tips to keep in mind:

- Shade - trout will often seek shade just like we do on a hot day... to get out of the direct sunlight and heat. Look closely under overhanging vegetation or in parts of the river where high banks or gorges offer respite from the sun. 

- Tributaries - often in-flowing tributaries are cooler than the mainstem river, particularly the large braided river systems which heat up as the water flows over exposed rocks. We've noticed temperature drops of four or five degrees which can be a life-saver for trout in summer. If you can find a spring-fed stream flowing in, even better, as springs are cooler still.

- Flow - look to parts of the river where water velocity is increased, such as the head of the pool, narrow passages like gorges or even where man-made structures such as flood control measures restrict the natural riverbed and speed up the water. More flow equals more oxygen passing over the gills. 

Depth - ever wondered why you often see schools of normally solitary trout moping around together at the bottom of deep pools in high summer? They're there for the simple reason that the deeper you go in water column the cooler the temperature. Fish deep and increase your chances of hooking up. 

- Deltas - We don't have many lake fisheries in this part of the world but Rotorua anglers will tell you the place to find large numbers of trout in shallow lakes when the water temperature is high is at the river mouths. This is true of our Lake Wairarapa where fish move out of the main water body to the stream and river inflows because the water is cooler there and also more oxygenated.           

By Fish & Game field officer Hamish Carnachan         

Webcams

Click the screen shot below to go to Horizon's website showing the list of available river webcams.

Webcams3 

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 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.