HomeEastern – RotoruaEastern-Rotorua: Where to fishWaikato River (Eastern region)

Waikato River (Eastern region)


The stretch of water from the Huka Falls to Lake Ohakuri provides year-round fishing for a large population of brown and rainbow trout. It is a mixture of river and man made lakes. This stretch is managed by Fish & Game Eastern region.

Fish type, number and
This part of the Waikato River holds brown and rainbow trout in very good numbers with some very large trout present.
Situation The Waikato River drains Lake Taupo and from the hydroelectric Lake Aratiatia to where it enters Lake Ohakuri, flows as a natural river for many kilometres.

Access map - Taupo to Ohakuri

Access map -Waikato hydro lakes

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast.

The upper section of the Waikato River is still a very large waterway. Wading is all but impossible and so most fishing is done either from the bank or from a boat.  Nevertheless, this under fished waterway holds a surprisingly large number of fish and anglers prepared to explore it should be rewarded with a good catch rate.

As the stretch of water is below a hydroelectric power station and the Lake Taupo flood gates, it can be subject to fluctuations in water level. During the summer months,
the river temperatures tend to rise forcing many trout to congregate in the cooler water around a number of spring fed tributaries. During this time there can be excellent fishing using a spinner or a nymph especially during the evenings.

Access There are a number of good access points particularly off Broadlands Road where a number of side roads lead to the river. For those wishing to launch a boat, there is a boat ramp on River Road. There is also access to the section below the Aratiatia Dam from Wairakei. View the access maps Taupo to Ohakuri and Waikato hydro lakes.
Methods The most popular method of fishing this section is by spinning, either from the bank or from a boat. Trolling is very popular and the use of a boat opens up a lot of water that would otherwise be inaccessible. There is however a very good wet fly fishing, particularly around the stream mouths were cooler water is entering the river. During the evenings fish can often be seen feeding on the surface or just sub-surface and unweighted nymphs or dry flies can work well.
Recommended tackle Those wishing to spin fish this area require reasonably long rods (6 1/2 to 8 feet) capable of casting approximately 7 to 12 g lures. For those flyfishing, line weights of between six and seven with 9 to 10 foot leaders of six pound breaking strain are recommended.
Recommended lures

Weighted nymphs in sizes 12 to 14 such as a Pheasant Tail, Halfback or Hare and Copper are needed during the day but unweighted nymphs for the evenings when surface activity is seen.

Dry flies:
This is not a noted dry fly fishing area but during the summer trout will rise to caddis hatches and during the day they sometimes cannot resist a cicada or cricket pattern.

Wet flies:
Mrs Simpson, Hamill's Killer, Red Setter and smelt patterns during the day with a darker pattern such as a Fuzzy Wuzzy or Scotch Poacher late in the evening or at night.

Spinners: Black and Gold Toby spinners and Tokoroa Chickens (that look rather like a large Hamill's Killer). When trolling try and keep the lure moving just faster than the current and try a large bladed spinner such as a red or green Veltic or a Rapala (they need to be down near the bottom but beware of snags).

Tributaries This section of the Waikato has a number of tributaries that fish well, particularly early and late in the season. These include the Pueto Stream, the Kaiwhitiwhiti Stream, the Otonga Stream and the Torepatutahi Stream (which also has the Rautawiri stream as a tributary). All are spring fed and generally run clear though can get weedy during the hotter months.
Applicable to Waikato River from Huka Falls to Maraetai
Region Eastern region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit No limit
Size limit (cm) None

Other fishing waters of the region


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