HomeAuckland – WaikatoAuckland-Waikato: Where to fishLittle Waipa River

Little Waipa River

The little Waipa is a clear spring fed river that flows between watercress covered banks to enter the Karapiro lake. It often remains clear after rain and is an excellent river suited to dry fly, nymph and small wet fly fishing. Due to its stable flow and constant temperature it supports a large fish population.
Fish type A high population of mainly rainbow trout with a few brown trout mostly in the stretch below Pearce's waterfall.
Situation The Little Waipa rises from a spring to the west of Tokoroa and flows north to enter Lake Karapiro.

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast.

See the river level and rainfall.

Description The Little Waipa is a spring fed river that runs over a stable pumice and sand bed. The water is generally very clear and the banks are covered with thick aquatic vegetation making it a challenging river to fish. Upstream from the mouth the river flows through a steep gorge which holds few fish and is indeed very difficult to access. The water above Pearce's Falls however flows over open land giving several kilometres of excellent fishing water.

Fish numbers are high, particularly above Pearce's Falls where drift dives by Fish and Game have shown there to be several hundred fish per kilometre. Fish are not large on average but are also challenging to catch. Despite flowing into Lake Karapiro, all the fish are resident as there is an impassable gorge about 1km above the confluence with the
lake. There is excellent fishing to be had around the mouth however as fish take advantage of the very cold water that flows from this river.

Access Four roads cross the river. The Horahora Rd crosses near the mouth giving access to the lower section and the lake. The upper sections can be accessed from the Arapuni-Putaruru, Pearsons and Old Taupo roads though most of the river flows over farmland requiring anglers to seek permission from the landowners. A good area to try is over private farmland accessed from the Huihuitaha Rd. See the Little Waipa access map.
Methods The Little Waipa is a superb dry fly water in the warmer months as fish rise freely to the abundant insect life. Fishing with emerger patterns and small wet flies is also likely to produce results.
Recommended tackle Light 4 - 5 weight rods with as long a leader as you can cast. These fish are finicky about who they will let catch them but once hooked will head for the weeds of which there is plenty so have enough strength in the tippet to be able to put some pressure on them to avoid any trailing flies catching in the vegetation.
Recommended lures

Dry flies:
 During the early summer beetle patterns and cicada patterns in late summer work well during the day. Otherwise try smaller patterns such as a Royal wulff, Dads Favourite,  Adams or Blue Dun or a Twilight Beauty or during the change of light in the evening. Caddis patterns will work well particularly in the evenings.

Nymphs such as Prince nymphs, Hare and Copper, Pheasants Tail and Halfback patterns are all effective in small sizes (14 - 16).

Wet flies:
Small wee-wets such as  a Greenwells Glory or March Brown fished across and down through the faster water can induce some very hard takes from these feisty fish.

Small bladed spinners such as veltics or Mepps.

Tributaries There are no tributaries of note or interest to the angler.
Applicable to Little Waipa Stream (the Horahora Rd Bridge is deemed to be the mouth and so the section below this bridge is part of Lake Karapiro)
Region Auckland/Waikato regulations
Season Oct 1-Jun 30
Methods Artificial fly only above the Horahora Road bridge
Bag limit 5
Size limit (cm) 30cm

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