Wairua River Fishing
Wairua River is Northland's largest river trout fishery with over
50km of good fishing water.
and rainbow trout are present in the system (the only major
fishery in Northland to have brown trout), with fish averaging
between 1 to 2 kg though some larger fish are taken throughout
the system. Fish numbers are high and angling pressure is low.
Wairua River rises in the hills north of Whangarei and flows
westwards, picking up a number of tributaries as it goes before
it enter the Wairoa River, which flows into the northern arm
of the Kaipara Harbour south of Dargaville.
map with topography
topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260
|| Wairua River Catchment access pamphlet
In the upper reaches, the Wairua River
is small but quickly gains volume as it moves westward as
a number of small tributaries join the river system. Several
of these tributaries also offer good fishing, particularly
in the cooler months. The upper reaches are mostly a series
of small rapids and runs interspersed by some long and surprisingly
deep pools and is easily wadeable. Bankside vegetation gives
good cover for the fish and the water is generally very clear.
Due to the size and clarity of the water great care must be
taken when fishing this section to avoid spooking the fish.
Access is limited in some areas although if permission is
sought from the landowner it is generally given. . This section
offers delightful small stream fishing in very attractive
country that is best suited to dry fly and nymph.
In the middle reaches the river volume
is greater although the flow is generally slower moving than
in the upper reaches. There are however stretches of faster
water that punctuate the many long gliding runs. As the river
here flows over open farmland, access and fishing is generally
easy. The lower reaches are tidal but still holds reasonable
numbers of fish. Much of the lower stretch of the river is
tree-lined however, so access and casting is often restricted,
making it best suited to spinning.
||See the Wairua River access
map and the list of access
||The upper reaches are best suited to nymph
and dry fly fishing while the middle and the lower reaches suit
wet fly or spinning.
In the upper reaches, lightly weighted stoneflies and mayfly
patterns such as Pheasant Tail and caddis patterns, and Hare
and Copper in sizes 14 to 18.
Popular patterns include Royal Wulff, Adams, Blue Dun, Coch-y-Bondhu,
green beetle patterns (during the early summer), and cicada
and cricket patterns late in the summer.
Wet flies / Streamers:
In the middle and lower reaches use large wet flies such as
a Grey Ghost, yellow or green Rabbits, Jack Spratt and other
whitebait patterns. Also worth trying are bully patterns such
as Mrs Simpson or Hamill's Killer during the day, and dark
patterns such as Craig's Night-time and Scotch Poacher during
the evening and at night. In the middle and upper reaches
use small wee-wets such as March Brown, Red Governor and Hardies
Favourite, especially during the evening rise when fish are
often taking emerging insects just subsurface.
and gold Tobys and silver Tobys in the wider lower reaches,
and small bladed spinners such as Mepps or Veltic in both
the faster water and pools in the middle reaches.
There are a number
of small streams that are tributaries to the Wairua and offer
good fishing, especially during the early part of the season.
These include the Waiotu River, the Waiariki River, the Kaikanui
River, the Otonga River, the Mangahahuru River and the Kaimamaku
||Wairua River (excluding tributaries) downstream
from the confluence of the Waiotu and Whakapara Rivers
||Artificial fly, spinner
|Size limit (cm)
||Trout: 300mm minimum
||Anglers trolling from boats must stay at
least 50 metres from any anglers fishing from the shore.