Notable Waters: Hutt and Rangitikei Rivers

Our capital city is built on a magnificent harbour surrounded by the rugged Rimutaka and Tararua mountain ranges. These ranges spawn gushing river torrents that spill out onto the plains as very productive freshwater fisheries.

The Wellington fisheries region encompasses the Wairarapa, Horowhenua and Manawatu districts, offering a remarkable variety of sport fishing within easy reach of the capital.

The Hutt River, on the city’s doorstep, is an important fishery with easy access via riverside parks and walkways. Top quality brown trout can’t resist a well-presented wet fly or spinning lure. Just over the hill is the Wainuiomata River, which is managed as a trophy brown trout fishery. Big browns can easily be spotted cruising the middle reaches and may succumb to a dry fly or nymph. This trout fishing bounty in the city environs also includes several productive mountain rivers such as the Akatarawa, Pakuratahi and Mangaroa, which are all close to Hutt City.

The Wairarapa provides quality angling in an uncrowded, pristine mountain environment where the slopes are clothed with luxuriant native forest. The Ruamahanga, Waiohine, Waingawa and Tauherenikau rivers drain the Tararua Ranges through spectacular gorges and idyllic grassy flats where you can enjoy an angler’s ‘El Dorado’ of classic wilderness fishing – tall, stately forest, deep, silent pools, mellifluous birdsong and perfectly conditioned fighting fish.

The Horowhenua-Kapiti Coast area has two valuable fisheries – the Otaki and Waikanae rivers, which offer rewarding fly-fishing experiences in the mountainous backcountry of the headwaters. The Manawatu-Rangitikei district also has top-shelf angling. The Rangitikei headwaters offer an angling experience that defines the very best of New Zealand trout fishing. This river is frequently mentioned in New Zealand angling literature because of the large size and quality of the resident rainbow trout. The Hautapu River is notable as it is managed as a trophy fishery for brown trout.

Guided fly-fishing trips on the Rangitikei River and tributaries are available in Palmerston North and Mangaweka.

Danny de Hek

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