HomeAuckland – WaikatoAuckland-Waikato: Where to fishTawarau River

Tawarau River

The Tawarau River is a remote, very scenic river providing high-quality fishing for a large population of rainbow trout in a remote back-country setting.

Fish type The Tawarau River holds a large population of rainbow trout averaging over 1 kg.
Situation The Tawarau rises in remote King Country bushland and flows westward to the confluence with the Mangaohae River. It then turns north to join the Marakopa River just downstream from the Marakopa Falls.

Access map

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The headwaters of the Tawarau River are very remote and require some considerable walking. There is a DOC track along much of its length though this tends to be some distance from the river and will require a little bit of bush bashing to get to the best fishing spots.


See the Tawarau River access map.

Upper reaches

Just upstream from the confluence with the Mangaohae River, the Tawarau river flows through a steep sided valley over a rocky bed. The river tends to be quite channeled and fast moving in this section making fishing difficult. Further upstream there are many more open sections providing both good spin fishing and fly-fishing opportunities. Fishing here requires you to spend some time as access is difficult and a reasonable degree of fitness is essential. The scenery however is quite spectacular and worth the effort.


See the Tawarau River access map.

Lower reaches

Downstream from the confluence with the Mangaohae River to the end of Speedies Road, the Tawarau is still a remote back country water but is considerably easier to access. The best fishing requires some walking along the DOC track. While walking the track anglers would usually need to push down through the bush to get to the water. As the river in this section tends to run through reasonably steep banks it is often necessary to move back onto the track to find other sections of the river to fish. The scenery is very attractive and the fish hard fighting. For those looking for some back country fishing, the Tawarau is highly recommended.


See the Tawarau River access map.

Methods The Tawarau is open to all forms of fishing and is many sections are best suited to spinning due to the close vegetation that lines both banks. Those with time to explore this remarkable river will find plenty of opportunities and places for fly-fishing. It is superb nymph water and has excellent evening rises especially during the warmer months.
Recommended tackle

Spin fishing requires rods capable of casting lures around 7 g in weight. As the water carries some colour, and there are a number of snags in the river, use lines in the 2 to 3 kg range.

As anglers must push through bush to reach much of this river, shorter fly rods capable of casting a weight five line or similar are recommended. Leaders of around nine to 10 foot are all that is required as the water generally carries some colour providing some protection for the angler.

Recommended lures

NymphsHare and Copper, Pheasant Tail, Halfback, and caddis patterns in sizes 14 to 16.

Dry flies: Small flies such as Kakahi Queen, Twilight Beauty, Royal Wulff or Adams work well throughout the year especially in the evenings. During the day, Brown Beetles work well in early summer and Daddy Long Legs and cicada patterns from mid-to late summer.

Wet flies: Small wet flies such as March Brown, Greenwell's Glory and Invicta are particularly effective especially when trout are rising. Often these flies fished just subsurface work better than a dry fly when the fish are rising in the evenings.

Spinners: Small bladed spinners such as Mepps or Veltic are  best especially when fished through the deep pools or brought under overhanging vegetation. Best colours tend to be red and gold.

Tributaries The major tributary and an important fishery in its own right is the Mangaohae River.
Applicable to Tawarau River
Region Auckland/Waikato regulations
Season Oct 1-Jun 30
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 5
Size limit (cm) 30cm minimum

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