Retaruke River is a small back country river that provides many
kilometres of fishing for a good population of both rainbow and
brown trout in the upper reaches. The lower reaches tend to be often discoloured from the silt washed down from the high cliffs but still give good spin fishing.
The stretch of the Retaruke River above
the confluence with the Kaitieke Stream provides superb dry
fly and nymph fishing in a remote back country setting where
there are few obstructions to impede casting. Wading is easy
and safe. There is excellent fishing for a good population
of both rainbow and brown trout.
During the day, a weighted nymph fished
upstream or a small wet fly presented down and across will
take fish. Dry fly fishing is effective during the evening
rise on warm summer evenings when the trout are gorging on
The river in the upper reaches runs through
open grassland, scrub and sections of bush over a gravel and
rock bed. The water is generally tannin stained though fish
can still be spotted during bright sunny conditions.
Below the confluence with the Kaitieke Stream
Below the confluence with the Kaitieke
Stream there is 20 km of water that is better suited to spinner
fishing. The use of weighted nymphs in dark colours can also
produce fish. The river here flows through a gorge and the
banks can be quite slippery due to the papa (mudstone) which
makes up much of the base. It does hold good fish and one
way to access it is by kayak of which there are a number of
operators around that will supply one for you.
There is some good water just upstream
of the Whanganui confluence though getting down to the river
is very difficult for much of the lower and middle sections.
From State Highway 4 travel
take the sealed Whakahora-Kaitieke Road, which turns off SH4
just south of Owhango, or if travelling from the south take
the unsealed road further south of SH4 at the small settlement
of Raurimu. Both these roads lead to the Oio road that takes
you alongside the river all the way to the confluence with
the Whanganui. Much of it is unsealed.
The best water for angling is accessed by turning of the
Oio at the monument and taking the singposted Upper Retaruke
When fishing the upper reaches
an 8-foot 6 to 9 foot rod with a weight 4 - 6 line is ideal.
As the water generally holds some colour leaders do not need
to be especially long with 9 to 10 feet being usually sufficient.
nymphs, especially horned caddis work well throughout
the season. Otherwise try
Pheasant Tail in sizes 12 to 16. In the deeper water some
weight may be needed to ensure that the nymphs get down through
the water to where the fish are feeding.