HomeEastern – RotoruaEastern-Rotorua: Where to fishWaioeka River

Waioeka River

The Waioeka River provides anglers with the opportunity to fish for a good population of large fish in a variety of settings amidst great scenery.

Fish type, number and
Mostly rainbow trout with some brown trout present. Fish average around 1.5 to 2 kg, though many are much larger especially in the headwaters.
Situation The Waioeka River rises in the Kahikatea ranges in the Urewera National Park. It flows in a northerly direction, joined by a number of tributaries on the way before entering the sea at Opotiki.

Access map

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Upper reaches

The upper reaches of the Waioeka River provide excellent wilderness fishing for those anglers prepared to walk some distance. Parts of the Waioeka River headwaters are accessible only over private land and it is necessary to contact the owner before crossing it. Two huts in the headwaters allow anglers to experience some excellent evening and early morning fishing conditions. Highly recommended to the more adventurous angler looking for a wilderness fishing experience.


Wairata Rd (which leads into Redpath Road) turns off State Highway 2 and follows the river for approximately 5 km. After this there is a walking track leading to the Nikau
Flat Hut another 8-10 km upstream, and to the Koranga Forks Hut a few kilometres further upstream. This is a beautiful walk with ample fishing opportunities along the way. See the Waioeka River access map.

Middle reaches

The middle reaches of the Waioeka River provide ideal trout habitat and are easy to access. The water is generally very clear though sometimes has a tinge of colour from the surrounding vegetation. The river here is a sequence of ripples, glides and deep pools flowing between well vegetation banks. Its bed is a mixture of shingle and stone with plenty of open spaces for the angler. The trout population is high and despite its proximity to a major highway, anglers will still find plenty of opportunity to fish in solitude.


Access to the middle reaches of the Waioeka river is easy as State Highway Two follows the true right bank for its entire length. See the Waioeka River access map.

Lower reaches

The lower reaches of the Waioeka river are best for spin fishing as the river here is much wider and slower. There are still good fish numbers however mostly in the 1 to 2 kg range.


State Highway Two follows the river for some distance. However in the lowest reaches it is necessary  to cross private land and so farmers permission must be sought. See the Waioeka River access map.

Methods The river is suited to both spinning and flyfishing. Upstream of the Opato stream it is ideally suited to nymph and dry fly fishing.
Recommended tackle

Spinning tackle should be capable of casting 7 to 10g lures.

In the headwaters, rods capable of casting a four to six weight line are recommended. In the middle and lower reaches anglers can get away with using slightly heavier lines

Recommended lures

Dark weighted nymph patterns in sizes 12 to 16 such as Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph and Halfback all work well particularly in the upper reaches

Dry flies:
During the summer large size 10 to 12 flies fished over the faster water can be very effective. Dry Royal Wulff, Parachute Adams and Humpy work well throughout the season. During the summer, cicada patterns, beetle and cricket patterns all work well and in late summer Daddy Long Legs (crane flies) and lace flies are very effective.

Wet flies:
Small wet flies such as Invicta, March Brown, Greenwell's Glory, Grouse and Claret and Mallard work well particularly in the evening when fish are taking emerger patterns just subsurface. When fishing deeper try Hamill's Killer, Mrs Simpson or Red Setter.

Spinners: In the lower reaches larger spinners such as black and gold Toby or a Rapala pattern work well though in the upper reaches small bladed spinners such as Veltic or Mepps fished upstream and retrieved near the river bed just faster than the current works best.


The Waioeka river headwaters has a number of tributaries including the Opato Stream which is easily accessed from State Highway 2. The Koranga River and the Kahanui Stream are major tributaries which provide true wilderness fishing for large trout in beautiful, scenic surroundings.

There are a number of other small tributaries in the middle Waioeka river including the Waiata Stream, Oponae Stream, the Omaukora Stream, the Okurata Stream, the Wairata Stream and the Te Pato Stream all of which provide top-quality fishing on small scenic streams.

Note that some of these waterways cross private land and so anglers are requested to obtain permission from the landowner before fishing them.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Waioeka River above the Tauranga Stream  confluence
Region Eastern region regulations
Season Oct 1-Jun 30
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Trout: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Waioeka River below the Tauranga Stream confluence
Region Eastern region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Trout: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit
Regulations (3)
Applicable to Waioeka River below SH2 bridge
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