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Waihao RiverTrout Fishing

The Waihao River is a wee gem: a small stream offering good blind fishing for sea-run brown trout near the mouth and sight fishing for brown trout in the crystal clear waters further upstream.

View Waihao River photos

View access map

View topo map

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Situation

The two branches of the Waihoa River arise in the Hunter Hills  (foothills of the Southern Alps) and flow in a south-easterly direction until they converge at Waihao Forks near Waimate. From here, the river flows east towards the coast where it becomes a braided river. On reaching the coast, the river turns northwards and finally accesses the sea via a culvert known as the Waihao Box.

Maps

Access map

Topographic map

LINZ topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260 series)

Check conditions

River flow

View river flow graphs at the Environment Canterbury website of river flow at the:

Waihao at McCulloughs

Waihao at Bradshaws

Rainfall

View graphs at the Environment Canterbury website of recent recent rainfall at Kimbrace, Waihairunga and Poingdestres.

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for Timaru

or call Met phone on 0900 999 03 (charges apply).

Description

There is good blind fishing for sea-run brown trout from the mouth upstream to Bradshaw's Bridge with bait a popular choice of lure.

The lower gorge has deep stable pools with willow-lined banks and further upstream there is sight fishing for brown trout in crystal clear water.

It can be dry in summer.

Access

Mouth: There is road access to the 'Box'

Lower reaches: SH1 crosses the river.

Above Bradshaws Bridge: From Gum Tree Flat Road (where it meets the river) and at McCullough's Bridge. Near Waihao Forks, a walkway follows the river for about 5km.

Upper reaches: A stretch of the river is on private land within Kaiwarua Station. Access is available to guests over well-formed tracks.

See the lower Waitaki River map.

Recommended lures

Dry fly:

Nymphs:

Wetflies:

Spinners:

Regulations (1):
Applicable to Waihao River upstream of Waihao Forks Bridge
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Trout: 2
Salmon: N/A
Size limit (cm)

Trout: No limit

Salmon: N/A

Regulations (2):
Applicable to Waihao River downstream of Waihao Forks Bridge
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit

Trout: No limit

Salmon: Minimum 300 mm

 

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