HomeAuckland – WaikatoAuckland-Waikato: Where to fishWaimakariri River

Waimakariri River


The Waimakariri is a crystal clear spring-fed stream that holds a huge number of small to medium sized rainbow trout.
Fish type The river supports a huge population of rainbow trout, mostly under 1 kg in size though some grow to reasonable sizes .
Situation The Waimakariri Stream is spring fed and rises in the hills north east of the township of Putaruru. In the upper reaches, upstream from where it is crossed by State
Highway 5, the river is small but the current is surprisingly powerful and cold. Downstream to the confluence with the Waihou River it tends to meander over open farmland offering open access to many kilometres of fishable water.

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast.

The Waimakariri is a cold spring fed stream that remains clear except after the heaviest rain. In the upper reaches the river tends to run between heavily vegetated banks making wading necessary. Anglers should beware that the current is deceptively strong and caution is needed to avoid a cold dunking.

In the lower reaches below the State Highway 5 bridge, the river flows more sedately over open farmland. Fish can be easily spotted in the clear water (but the fish can also easily spot the incautious angler). There can be a lot of weed in the stream which provides good cover and a good source of food for the huge fish population. Fishing
along these weed-beds can be very productive even when fish are not visible.

The river was used for the 28th Worlds Fly Fishing Championships in 2008. It also has the great advantage of remaining clear and clean when many other rivers discolour.
It is also open all year providing good winter fishing. Fish are so plentiful that the daily limit has been removed for fish smaller than 30cm in length.


Upstream from State Highway 5, the stream runs alongside the Waimakariri road allowing good access at a number of points. There is also an esplanade reserve that extends up form the bridge for approximately 2kms.

Downstream from the SH5 bridge, an esplanade reserve extends along both banks for approximately 2kms. Otherwise seek permission from the landowners along Sommerville Road. See the Waimakariri River access map.

Methods The Waimakariri is ideal nymph and dry fly water.
Recommended tackle The clarity of the water and the relatively small size of the stream necessitates the use of light tackle. Rods of 4 -5 weight are ideal though wind along the valley can sometimes be a problem. Long fine tippets are also necessary. For those wishing to spin fish this water, very small bladed spinners such as mepps or veltics are best.
Recommended lures

Dry flies: During the early summer beetle patterns and cicada patterns in late summer work well during the day. Throughout the season mayfly patterns such as an Adams are good. Otherwise try smaller patterns such as a Dads Favourite,  Adams or Blue Dun or a Twilight Beauty or during the change of light in the evening.

Nymphs: Small nymphs such as Hare and Copper, Pheasants Tail and Halfback patterns are all effective.

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.

Spinners: Very small bladed spinners such as veltics or Mepps.

Tributaries The major tributary of note is the Waipare Stream
Applicable to Waimakiriri Stream
Region Auckland/Waikato regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limits

Smaller than 30cm: No limit

Over 30 cm: 2 fish

Other fishing waters of the region


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