Fish & Game is encouraging lower North Island residents to shake off their cabin fever and get out fishing on their local
rivers and streams.
With the country now at Alert Level 3, freshwater fishing for trout and perch is a great option for safe recreation with
an added bonus of putting healthy food on the table, says Wellington Fish & Game manager Phil Teal.
“Thanks to our geography, people living in the lower half of the North Island have some of the best and most easily
accessible trout fisheries in the country right on their doorsteps,” he says.
“Most of our cities and towns are in the shadow of the Tararua and Ruahine ranges, the source of countless rivers and
streams, and these are generally teeming with trout – a source of healthy outdoor recreation and a readily available
food supply much like an outdoor supermarket.”
Given the tough times many people are going through, Mr Teal says getting out on the water alone, or with members of
one’s bubble, is a great way to reset and destress, at least for a few hours.
“The mental and physical benefits of outdoor recreation are very well understood. We strongly encourage individuals or
families who have been cooped up for the last five weeks to make use the amazing fishing resource they have close to
Winter season licences are already available, and at a cost of only $80, adult anglers can fish from May through to the
end of September for around 50c per day (under-12s fish for free).
“That’s incredible value for the quality of the fishing we have available locally and all the other benefits that come
with getting outside, particularly kids who have been spending probably more time on screens than normal recently,” says
A quick check of Fish & Game’s regulations book, free with a licence, lets anglers know where they can go fishing over the winter season, which
starts May 1.
Those new to the pursuit, or wanting to give it a go, can find a wealth of helpful information and online tuition on the
Fish & Game website – www.fishandgame.org.nz
Top tips for local, easily accessible angling spots are:
Wellington and Hutt Valley residents – The Hutt River holds very large numbers of big brown trout from the estuary reaches in Wellington Harbour to the
upper most section at Kaitoke Regional Park (remember only the main stem Hutt River is open over winter, the smaller
tributaries are closed for spawning).
Kapiti Coast residents – The Otaki River remains open over the winter downstream of the Tararua Forest Park boundary. Good runs of fish can
move through this section on their way to the spawning grounds in the headwaters, and these always the chance of some
large sea-run trout in the lower end.
Wairarapa residents – The Rumahanga and its main tributaries downstream of SH2 offer many miles of high quality angling for brown and
rainbow trout for Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Featherston locals.
Palmerston North residents – The Manawatu River flows right through town and fishing the higher winter flows here with a spinner or large streamer
fly can really net results. The lower reaches of the Pohangina, below the Piripiri Bridge, remain open over winter and
offer slightly more scenic fishing. The Hokowhitu Lagoon is a great family fishing venue offering a good chance of
hooking a resident trout or perch.Fish & Game guidelines for freshwater fishing at Alert Level 3
1. It is possible to fish locally – that is at your closest spot.
2. All fishing must be land-based. Current restrictions from the Government mean you cannot fish from a boat.
3. Our understanding of Alert level 3 restrictions is that you can fish all legal methods from the shore of a local lake
or at a local river.
4. All Fish & Game fishing regulations on open waters, bag limits etc. remain unaltered and will be enforced.
5. Observe social distancing requirements of 2m, which means you can’t travel to the fishing spot with people outside of