Weekly Fishing Report - 17th January 2019

A big high is about to park itself over the country for the weekend bringing warm and settled conditions and sunny skies! 

If you've been frustrated by the wind over the last little while now's the time to get out and make the most of the fine weather. 

The other good news surrounds results of our drift dives to date.

In one fishery within easy striking distance of the Wellington CDB we recorded twice as many large brown trout as we've ever counted in over a decade of monitoring. Some of these trout were of enormous proportions too, eclipsing the magic 10lb mark!

Further north, the floods that hammered the Manawatu region over winter appear to have taken a toll on the populations of smaller rainbows - but the good news is the browns have thrived with more larger specimens counted than ever before. 

All the rivers we've been investigating look to be in good shape too for this time of year with much less algal growth then is normally encountered, a welcome feature of the regular freshes we've been having over summer.

All up, the fishery is in good shape - the only thing left is to put yourself in the picture.            

Buy your licence online here if you need one and get into the action this weekend.   

Pictured above right: Cicadas are putting in an early appearance this season (Credit: Andrew Harding).   

Here's the outlook:

Hutt River and tributaries

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Last night's rain has the Hutt River running at around three times its base flow of the last few months. The rain has stopped though and the river is dropping so it should be fishable by the weekend. If you find it is still too coloured, consider throwing a spinner (very effective in higher flows in the Hutt) or look to the smaller tribs - the Akatarawa, Whakatikei and Pakuratahi - which clear faster.                    

 

Kapiti Coast

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The Otaki is running high from the rain in the headwaters and could take a while to fish... an outside chance of getting a 'green light' for the weekend; the Ohau and Waikanae, however, are falling very quickly and should be a sure bet for Saturday. Check the flows before heading out and have a back-up in case your preferred option is still running high. That said, with no further rain forecast we're optimistic there'll be some fine fishing to be had on the coast this weekend.  

 

Wairarapa

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At time of writing the Ruamahanga is taking a while to receive the rain from last night as it still isn't registering on the flow graphs. There's a spike up at Mt Bruce which suggest the extra flow is yet to push though. This means it could take longer to clear and be up for the weekend, but by how much we don't know right now. We'll give it a tentative 'orange', meaning check the flow to see what's changed by the time you're ready to head out. Meanwhile, the larger tribs are falling fast and should be in tip top shape by midday Saturday.                               

Manawatu

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The Manawatu is clear right the way through this morning and should be fishing great over the weekend. The Pohangina is looking sensational today and recent drift dives are very encouraging. Although numbers are down overall with fewer small rainbows counted, there are far more large browns in the river and they are in superb condition. Hint: head higher up in the catchment.          

Rangitikei

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The Rangitikei is a picture today - a big clean edge with just a hint of colour mid-stream at Mangaweka, making it perfect for spin anglers. This suggests higher up is only going to be cleaner and clearer. A great weekend to get into the angling with warm sunny skies ahead! Please note that there's a flushing flow from the Moawhango Dam next Wednesday evening.      

Note that we are conducting ongoing compliance in Rangitikei backcountry fishery to enforce important changes that have been brought into force this season. See the Notice Board below for details.


Tip of the Week - Trout Behaviour Changes As Water Warms 

The constant freshes we've had in the lower North Island this summer have certainly helped keep some of the nuisance aquatic weed growth at bay but our data recording shows water temperatures are still high. 

The mercury reaching 18 to 22degC in some of the front country rivers and streams is getting pretty close to critical for brown trout survival and as such it will force them into self-preservation mode. 

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Into a good fish taken from the riffles (Credit: Andrew Harding) 

The change in behaviour trout exhibit when water warms has a direct impact on where and how you should target them. 

What we noticed recently while drift diving some of the lowland rivers in the greater Wellington area was the number of fish stacked up in the shallow riffle water. Often we'd encounter half-a-dozen large browns in barely enough water to cover their dorsal fins. 

The reason they do this is to get into better oxygenated flow. The tumbling action of the water over the stones helps the oxygen diffuse into the water. 

Many anglers would walk right past such sections of the river thinking it's simply too shallow to hold fish. Think again.

As summer continues, and water temps climb higher, it pays to be a little more strategic when it comes to locating and luring fish to the bite. 

More on this in later issues. Tight lines!

By Wellington Fish & Game officer Hamish Carnachan.

Video of the week

Click the screen-shot below to check out Andrew Harding's latest video clip of Wellington region trout fishing awesomeness.   

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We Need Your Eyes On The Water

P1090632 editedWorked recently carried out by Greater Wellington Regional Council in Wairarapa turning a meandering braided river into a lifeless channel.  

We interested what you see on the water. Photos of atrocious river bulldozing or bad farming practice... there's no reason for rivers to be treated badly in this day and age, particularly by regional councils which professes to be looking after the environment.

If you encounter any such activity please email the pics and details to us. 

Webcams

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

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Notice board

  • Important changes to the regulations for the Rangitikei backcountry fishery come into force at the start of this season - click here for more. 
  • River bulldozing - Click here to see where Greater Wellington Regional Council is ripping your rivers apart. Email Debbie.Kelly@gw.govt.nz to register your complaints about this appalling practice.  

  • Ruamahanga access at Gliding Club (Greytown). Anglers are being directed to the Tilsen Road access.

  • We've just been advised of the flushing flows from the Moawhango Dam which will cause the rivers downstream (including the Rangitikei) to rise: 

    Water Released from the dam Tuesday at 9pm:

    Wednesday 30 January 2019 – 5 hours

    Wednesday 20 February 2019 – 5 hours

    Wednesday 20 March 2019 – 5 hours

    Wednesday 1 May 2019 – 5 hours

     

 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.