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Ngaruroro River Trout and Fly Fishing

The Ngaruroro River is a large fishery of around 100 kilometres of fishable water. From the remote backcountry waters in the upper reaches down to more easily accessible waters, this river provides opportunities for all types of fishing at all levels.

View Ngaruroro River photos

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Fish type The river is made up predominantly of rainbow trout with some brown trout that average 1.5 kg but with many fish in excess of 4 kg. There are some sea run trout in the lower reaches, some of which can reach very good sizes.
Situation The Ngaruroro River rises in the Kaimanawa Ranges and flows south before turning east to enter the sea near the small settlement of Clive just south of Napier. This river and its many tributaries drain a very large area and as the headwaters mostly run through forest and open tussock land, the water in the upper reaches remains fishable except in the most adverse weather conditions.
Maps

Upper Ngaruroro maps

Access map and access points
Access map with topography

Lower Ngaruroro maps

Access map and access points
Access map with topography

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

F&G pamphlet Ngaruroro River Fishery access pamphlet >>>
Check conditions

River level

View graphs of the Ngaruroro River level:
- at Kuripapango (upper reaches)
- at Whana Whana
- at Ohiti
- at Fernhill (lower reaches)

Rainfall

View graphs of recent rainfall:
- at Otutu Bush (upper reaches)
- at Whana Whana (Kohatanui)

- at Ohiti Pa
- at Chesterhope Bridge (lower reaches)

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for Hastings.

Description

The Ngaruroro River is a large waterway that offers over 100 km of accessible fishing water. The upper reaches which drain the Kaimanawa and Kaituna forests provide anglers with the opportunity to fish for large rainbow and brown trout in a remote backcountry setting. The middle and lower sections of this river are much more accessible and provide waters suitable for all types of fishing from nymphing, wet and dry fly and spinning. Mostly the river, with a gravel and stone bed, is wadeable. As there is an excellent food source for the trout and good shelter along much of the banks this fishery provides ideal trout habitat. This is reflected in the quantity, quality and size of the fish that can be caught.

Upper reaches

Description

The upper reaches provide anglers with a remote backcountry fishery and the opportunity to catch trophy size fish in a pristine environment. The river flows through a series of small gorges, most of which can be navigated with care though some sections should not be attempted except when the river flow is very low.

The section upstream from where the Taihape-Napier road crosses the river tends to have the most inaccessible water. Downstream from the Taihape-Napier bridge the river flows firstly through a gorge before opening out to flow mostly through forest and open tussock land. This section of the river has a number of deep pools and long runs that flow over a stable gravel and stone bed. Although there are a number of very deep pools, there are places where the river can be crossed with care. When fishing this section it is often necessary to cross the river many times as only one bank provides reasonable fishing access. The water is clean and clear, allowing fish to be spotted and stalked.

There are a number of tributaries in this area that are also worth exploring. Throughout the section there is top-quality fishing for the energetic angler who wishes to fish for a good population of fish that can reach trophy size

Access

Due to the remote location, anglers wishing to fish the upper reaches need to either walk in along the well-defined tracks (if doing so, plan to spend at least a few days as this is a considerable walk) or fly in by helicopter. There is also a landing strip for fixed wing aircraft near the Boyd Hut. The Taihape-Napier highway crosses the river near the small settlement of Kuipapango.

See the upper Ngaruroro access map and the list of access points.

Middle reaches

Description

The middle reaches provide many kilometres of accessible water as the river turns east and flows over the Heretaunga plains. The river flows mostly over a gravel and stone bed and in many sections it is braided and flows through more than one channel. Directly downstream from the Taihape-Napier Road the river flows into a gorge which is very difficult to navigate. After leaving the gorge the angler encounters excellent fishing conditions with open banks providing access to long glides and runs. The river is generally wadeable and as there is good bankside vegetation, there is plenty of the cover for the fish.

Access

This section of the river has a large number of access points though in many places the landowner's permission must be sought to fish the river as it runs across their property. Some parts of the river are best reached by boat or kayak.

See the upper Ngaruroro access map, the lower Ngaruroro access map and the list of access points.

Lower reaches

Description

The river in the lower section is wide and much more difficult to fish and so of less interest to the angler. The water here carries more colour and in summer, weed can be a problem. During the whitebait runs from October to early December however, there can be some very good wet fly fishing with smelt fly imitations and in autumn there can be a good run of sea run fish.

Access

There is reasonable access to the lower reaches along a track which runs down the true left-hand bank, and also by a number of roads that run alongside or cross the river.

See the lower Ngaruroro access map and access points

Methods The river is open to all methods of fishing though in the upper reaches dry fly and nymphing are the most popular and productive methods. There is reasonable spinner water in the middle reaches although again this section has excellent nymph and dry fly water. The lower reaches are best suited to spin fishing although there is also good wet fly fishing with smelt patterns when the whitebait are running around October-November.
Recommended tackle In the upper reaches, light-weight rods of around 4 to 6 weight are best, though in the lower reaches heavier weight rods and line may be better when distance rather than delicacy is important.
Recommended lures

Nymphs: Use weighted nymphs such as Hare and Copper, Hare’s Ear, Pheasants Tail, Stonefly and Prince nymphs.

Dry flies: Adams, Kakahi Queen, Caddis, Humpy, Royal Wulff and Cicada patterns in sizes 12 to 16.

Wet flies / Streamers: In the upper reaches use soft hackle or palmered flies such as Bibio, Zulu or Palmer Red and winged emerger patterns such as Invicta, March Brown or Greenwell's Glory. In the lower reaches try smelt patterns such as Great Ghost, rabbit patterns, Parsons Glory, Ginger Mick and Jack Spratt during the day and dark patterns such as Fuzzy Wuzzy or Black Marabou during the evening.

Spinners: In the upper and middle reaches cast small bladed spinners such as Veltic or Mepps upstream into the pools and runs and use wobbler patterns such as Ticers and Toby's in silver or gold or try Rapalas or Tasmanian Devils.

Tributaries There are a number of important tributaries that feed the Ngaruroro river. These include the Taruarau River, the Ohara/Poprangi, the Tutaekuri-Waimate Stream and the Karamu. There are a number of other small tributaries along the length of this river, many of which can provide excellent fishing.
Regulations (1)
Applicable to Ngaruroro River and tributaries above the Kiwi Creek confluence
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 June
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) 550mm maximum
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Ngaruroro River from Kiwi Creek to Whanawhana cable, excluding tributaries
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) 550mm maximum
Regulations (3)
Applicable to Ngaruroro River tributaries above the Whanawhana cable
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 June
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) 550mm maximum
Regulations (4)
Applicable to Ngaruroro River below the Whanawhana cable, excluding tributaries
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2
Size limit (cm) None
Regulations (5)
Applicable to Ngaruroro River tributaries below the Whanawhana cable
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 June
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2
Size limit (cm) None

 

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