Thousands of anglers around the country are getting set to turn out for the opening of the new sports fishing season on Tuesday, and the Wellington region will be no exception.
Fish & Game Wellington regional manager Phil Teal said the summer drought and relatively dry winter had seen trout feeding, rather than avoiding the winter freshes [falls of rain].
"Recent monitoring has also shown healthy numbers of trout in the rivers, and their condition's good, so prospects are looking great," Mr Teal said.
"Recent rains will have freshened things up but most rivers should be running clear relatively quickly."
An important step this year had been the relaxing of regulations for the Hutt River from one to two fish per day, he said. Monitoring had shown the trout population to be in "pretty good shape".
Although it came as a surprise to some, the Hutt River was "a great trout fishery with excellent access which runs through a major population centre. Anglers have dubbed the river the 'coolest little capital trout fishery in the world'."
Excellent fishing was also to be had in the Ruamahanga, Rangitikei and Manawatu catchments, within an hour's drive of major population centres.
"Wellington, Wairarapa, Kapiti Coast and Manawatu have some fantastic trout fishing opportunities right on the doorstep - and a growing reputation for quality river fishing."
For many it was becoming a tradition to go fishing on opening day and Mr Teal said he wouldn't be surprised if a few anglers took a "sickie" on Tuesday to take advantage of the promising conditions.
"We don't advocate pulling a sickie but, however you manage the time off, it's certainly a good opportunity to reduce the stress levels from work and from watching the America's Cup."
The sports fishing season will run until the end of April for most rivers, with extended seasons in several rivers and lakes. A sports fishing licence is required that is valid for the whole of New Zealand except Taupo.
A licence can be bought at fishing stores or online from Fish & Game: www.fishandgame.org.nz; click on "licences" at the top right of the homepage.