HomeAuckland – WaikatoAuckland-Waikato: Where to fishWaitawheta River

Waitawheta River

A beautiful back-country river that provides excellent fishing yet is close to Auckland and other main centres.
Fish type Rainbow trout in good numbers averaging around 1 – 1.5kg.
Situation The Waitawheta River rises in the Kaimai ranges and flows north to enter the Ohinemuri at the small old gold mining settlement of Karangahake in the Karangahake

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast.

The Waitawheta is a very scenic river, particularly in the upper reaches and headwaters where it flows through bush land. In the lower and middle reaches it flows over open farmland but is still an attractive river to fish.

It has a stable stony bed which provides a good base for a continued food source for the fish. It also is generally clear and fish can be spotted in some of the shallower pools and runs. Often however, the fish are in the deeper water and so harder to see. During the warmer months the fish are known to rise freely especially during the cicada
season and so the river provides good dry fly as well as nymphing water. For those anglers prepared to walk even a short distance, the river offers a wonderful sense of solitude which can greatly add to the fishing experience.


The Waitawheta can be accessed by crossing the Ohinemuri at the road bridge between the settlements of Karangahake and Waikino.

The lower section of the river has difficult access but after a kilometre or so flows over open farmland and through small stands of bush.

Access to the river can be reached in the middle sections by taking Dickies Flat Road, Dean Rd or Franklin Rd.

The upper reaches are only accessed by walking along the well defined track. See Waitawheta River access map.

Methods This is great nymph and dry fly water though those wishing to try their luck with a wet fly or spinner can also do well
Recommended tackle Lighter rods capable for reasonably delicate presentation of dry flies or nymphs. Best around 9 foot in length and weight 5 or 6 is ideal. 10 foot plus leaders with approx 2kg or 5lb tippet.
Recommended lures

Dry flies: In the early summer Dunn patterns. Around mid Nov onwards, brown beetles followed by green beetles and then cicada patterns during the day. In the evening trout will rise for sedge patterns as well. And when all else fails to induce a rising trout to take anything, try a Daddy-Long Legs pattern. It may not be what they are eating at that time but they can't seem to resist one when it floats past.

Nymphs: Small lightly weighted Pheasants Tails, Halfbacks and Hare and Coppers (size 14 or 16)

Wet flies:
Woolly Buggers, Mrs Simpsons or Hamills Killer patterns during the day and darker patterns late in the evening such as a black Fuzzy-Wuzzy. Fish these through deeper pools and under banks and vegetation. Otherwise try small wee wets, especially those with soft hackles such as spider patterns and fish them through the faster water

Spinners: Small bladed spinners such as veltic (in green or red) and Mepps or small Rapalas for the bigger pools.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Waitawheta below the end of Franklin Rd
Region Auckland/Waikato regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2
Size limit (cm) 30cm
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Waitawheta above the end of Franklin Rd
Region Auckland/Waikato regulations
Season Oct 1-Jun 30
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2
Size limit (cm) 30cm

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