One of the most under-fished areas in
the country is surprisingly that closest to the main population
centres of Auckland and Hamilton. In this region there is a wonderful
diversity of fishing available from large deep mysterious lakes
through to small pristine spring fed creeks.
The Auckland Waikato region although a large is dominated by four
major river systems. These are
• the Waikato
river with its series of man made lakes
• the Waipa
• the Whanganui
• the Waihou
Each of these rivers has a number of tributaries many of which are
important fisheries in their own right. There are also a number
of smaller river systems ensuring the angler is spoilt for choice.
With the absence of any large mountain ranges
and its temperate climate, most rivers in the region are rain fed.
Consequently they can discolour after heavy rain. There are a good
number of spring fed rivers and streams throughout the region however
that generally stay clear ensuring there is good fishing available
throughout the season. And for the still water enthusiast, it would
be hard to beat the man-made Waikato Hydro lakes or the number of
small lakes close to Auckland city.
What is special about this region
While principally a rainbow trout fishery, the
Auckland Waikato region provides fishing for all levels of skill
and all methods of fishing. The fish numbers can be very high (for
instance, some of the spring creeks in the central Waikato region
are known to have over 900 fish per kilometre). Added to this is
the ease of access for anglers. Most rivers can be easily accessed
by car and walking along the river banks is generally easy. And
although this is the most populated area of New Zealand, it is also
easy to find remote back country and wilderness fishing for the
No matter what type of fishing you favour, there
are places where you can practise your preferred method in this
region. From trolling or harling a lure on a lake through to drifting
a small nymph through crystal clear spring fed water or casting
a dry fly to rising fish on a remote back country stream, there
is something for everyone. Those who enjoy spin fishing will also
find plenty of opportunity to pursue their sport.
Many people regard the Waimiha
Stream as one of the top dry flyfishing waters in the North Island
while the large and pristine Whakapapa
River is one of the countries finest trout fisheries.
All the rivers selected for the 28th Fips-Mouche
World Fly Fishing Championships in 2008 were in the Auckland/Waikato
region. They were the Whanganui
Waimakariri Stream and the Ohinemuri
Many rivers are underfished in the region despite
having excellent stocks of fish around the 1 – 2lb mark with
some larger fish also present. Anglers can expect to catch between
10 and 20 fish per day with a bag of over 30 fish in a day not being
unknown in these waters.
Fishing close to Auckland
Pupuke is situated within the city in Takapuna on the North
Trout waters that are within a short drive of
Auckland city include:
- the Wairoa
- Parkinsons Lake
- Ohinmuri River
- Waitewheta River
All of the above waters can be easily accessed from Auckland. Several are great learning waters for young anglers while the Ohinemuri and Waitewheta offer a challnge for the more experienced anglers.
Fishing in the Coromandel Peninsula
While the fish numbers in the rivers of the Coromandel
Peninsula are neither high nor the fish large, the quality of the
surroundings, bird life and (despite being close to Auckland), the
solitude you can get makes up for this.
The main rivers are the Kauaeranga,
and the Waiwawa
though most rivers of any size have fish. The Tairua
has the best stocks and the best size fish though the Kauaeranga
is also very good. Any small river that enters the sea at Whitianga,
such as the Waiwawa,
has fish (the fish get washed out to sea during floods and when
they return can pop up the wrong river) but these are smaller and
can be challenging to fish as access in the upper reaches is limited.
Most of these rivers are open all year (see the
regulations for details) and tend to fish better in the cooler
months and less well as the rivers warm up during summer and early
autumn. They are all good dry fly waters and are best fished with
very light tackle. They can be spotted and fished to after a dry
spell when the water is clear. Cloudy days and the evenings are
The Auckland- Waikato fishing year
Spring (October to December)
The trout fishing season in this region opens
on October 1st and from the beginning of the season through to mid
December the fish feed well and aggressively. October can be rather
cold but through November and early December is possibly the prime
time in this region. As the weather warms the fish in the smaller
streams and rivers rise freely. Many of the rivers and streams tend
to have a slight amount of discolouring through this time and so
when fish are not rising, it is best to fish blind using other methods
such as a nymph or wet fly (or a small spinner).
Summer (mid December through to the end of February)
The summer months are the warmest and driest times
which can mean the river flows are much lower and the water clearer.
During these months it is sometimes difficult to fish on hot bright
sunny days as the fish move under vegetation or into the pools and
can become sluggish. During the late afternoon / evening period
however, the fish often become very active and feed voraciously.
Pools that a few hours ago appeared devoid of piscatorial life suddenly
erupt into a feeding frenzy as the fish gorge on the insects that
appear in the long twilight period.
Autumn (March through
April and even May where the regulations allow fishing)
Autumn sees the beginning of the cooler weather
with the fish often feeding throughout the day trying to put on
weight before the winter months (when the larger fish begin to spawn).
The weather can be very settled at this time of the year. Towards
the end of this season the fish begin to move into spawning habits
and it is not unusual to see fish chasing each other around a pool.
During these times they can appear to be disinterested in feeding
and more in staking out their territory and pairing up.
Winter (June to September)
In the winter months most rivers and streams,
particularly in the headwaters, are closed allowing the fish to
spawn undisturbed. There can still be very good fishing however
in the Waikato River hydro lakes and the smaller lakes around Auckland.
Also, many larger rivers allow fishing in the lower reaches over
the winter months. This is the wettest time of the year however
and so rivers, especially in the higher flowing lower reaches can
have a lot of discolouring from the run-off.
The Waikato offers a number of good coarse fisheries.
See coarse fishing
in New Zealand.