|Fish type, number and
brown and rainbow trout in very good numbers throughout the
rivers length with fish regularly breaching trophy size in the
remote upper reaches and headwaters.
||The Waiau River rises in the
rugged Urewera National Park and flows southeast to join the
Wairoa river near the small township of Frasertown approximately
12 km before the Wairoa enters the Pacific Ocean.
map with topography
topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260
||View the MetService
weather forecast for Gisborne.
upper reaches, the Waiau is a spectacular wilderness water
that holds a very large number of hard fighting, mainly rainbow,
trout, many of which reach the trophy size of 10 pounds or
4.5 kg. This section of the river flows through the unspoilt
Urewera National Park so providing the angler with pristine
surroundings as well as some of the best fishing to be found
The river in this section is a series of
long runs, deep pools and fast water. The fish can be spotted
in the generally clear water which makes for very exciting
fishing. There are a number of small tributaries that enter
the Waiau in this section all of which also provide superb
wilderness fishing. This section can be waded though care
should be taken as the water can be deceptively powerful (and
it is certainly very cold).
Access to the headwaters requires either
a very long hike along well-defined DOC tracks or the hiring
of a helicopter to get to the best fishing quickly. There
are a number of huts spaced at regular intervals that provide
a degree of comfort when fishing this section. These huts
are fairly basic however and people venturing into this remote
region need to take other forms of shelter plus some good
wet weather gear. Do not underestimate the New Zealand bushland
- it can be very wet and cold even during the summer.
reaches of the Waiau River mostly flows over open farmland.
Although more accessible than the headwaters, the river here
still provides good remote back country fishing. The middle
reaches has a greater flow and consequently wading is more
limited. The section holds a good number of fish, both brown
and rainbow averaging around 1 1/2 to 2 kg. The better fishing
is to be found upstream where the river runs through bushland
in a series of long runs punctuated by deep pools. The water
is generally clear they will colour up after rain. Fish can
be stalked along the edges of this section during summer.
To access the middle reaches turn off State
Highway 2 at Raupunga. The Waiau River follows State Highway
38 for several kilometres of its lower reaches.
||The lower reaches of the Waiau
River is of less interest to the angler but still hold good
numbers of fish. It is much more accessible though wading in
this section is difficult. After rain these lower reaches can
colour up quite quickly. Spinning is a very good option when
fishing this area.
||The headwaters and middle reaches
provide ideal nymph and dry fly fishing. Casting small wet flies
and swinging them through the faster water can also induce a
furious take from a large fish. Fishing of the lower middle
and section upstream from the confluence with the Wairoa river
favours the spin fisherman. Throughout the river however, early
evening can produce some wonderful rises during the warmer weather.
the upper reaches a 9 foot rod with a weight six or seven
line (floating will cover most fishing conditions) is best.
Something like the Composite
Developments XLS fly rod is ideal. As the fish in this
section are large and the current powerful, good strong leader
material is essential. These are powerful fish that will test
your equipment so make sure when venturing into this remote
region could take everything you need as it is a long way
to get more.
The middle and lower reaches are best fished
with similar rods and lines though there is a very good place
for the wet fly enthusiast. Spin fishing is best carried out
with a rod capable of casting 7 g to 10 g lures.
This water responds well to any mayfly
fly imitation such as a Halfback
Tail style nymph. During the day these may need to be
of reasonable size and weight to ensure they get down to where
the fish are feeding in the deeper water.
During the summer try an Deers
Hair Sedge or a Goddards
Caddis during the evenings. In the early summer Beetle
patterns are effective with cricket
and cicada patterns
working well when these insects are about from late summer
Often when the fish appear to be feeding on the surface they
are actually taking small emerging insects and so small wee-wets
can prove deadly at this time. Small soft hackled flies or
as they are often called, around size 12 to 14 cast just upstream
of a rising fish is often the most effective method.
spinners such as the Toby
or Rapala in
the lower reaches.
River is very large and has a number of important tributaries.
In the upper reaches these include the Whangatawhai Stream,
Moerangi Stream, Mangakahika and the Wairoa Streams all of
which offer excellent if somewhat challenging fishing for
large trout in small waters.
The middle and lower reaches also have
a number of tributaries which include the Waitaretaheke River.
||Waiau River above Waikaretaheke
||1 Oct-30 Apr
||Artificial fly, spinner
|Size limit (cm)
||Waiau River below Waikaretaheke
||Artificial fly, spinner
|Size limit (cm)