The Akatarawa River is a
boisterous stream that Fish and Game describe as a "mountain
stream". It flows through a steeply sided valley for
most of its length and the river flows through some largely
inaccessible sections at times when steep rock walls confine
the river and provide restricted access for anglers. The best
access is found in the middle reaches around the small settlement
of Cloustonville. The best fishing to be had is downstream
from the Wellesley camp at Cloustonville as few fish seem
to move further upstream. The river is relatively stable but
prone to huge floods at times.
Generally the river flows swiftly and clear over a shingle
and rock bed. The water is generally clear and so it is a
good river to sight fish though this will require some walking
between fish. As the numbers are low and it is best to target
individual fish where ever possible.
Fish numbers and size
Low numbers of fish but those
fish in the river are of a good size around the 2kg mark. As
this river only supports a small fish population, catch and
release is strongly recommended to protect the stock it holds.
Access is limited in many places
due to the steep densely vegetated banks. The best access points
are in the valley section at Karapoti and Cloustonville. The
river at these points has the highest fish numbers and the most
This is an ideal dry fly and
nymph water but when the fish are deep some weight is required
to get the nymphs down quickly in the short runs of swift water.
Rods of between 4 - 5 weight
are ideal. As there can often be some wind down this valley
a fast action rod such as the CD XLS series is ideal to cut
through the wind. Leaders of 12 feet plus are recommended to
avoid spooking the fish by a fly line landing too close to them.
(throughout the season) and caddis
patterns (from early summer). And of course the ubiquitous
Copper is always a good standby, particularly when tied
in a dark and rough pattern.