HomeEastern – RotoruaEastern-Rotorua: Where to fishWhirinaki River

Whirinaki River


The Whirinaki is a superb river in scenic surroundings. It provides wonderful stretches of wilderness fishing for a large population of both rainbow and brown trout.

Fish type, number and
There are good stocks of both rainbow and brown trout averaging around 1 1/2 to 2 kg.
Situation The Whirinaki River rises in the hills within the Whirinaki forest and flows north through the small townships of Minginui and Te Whaiti before joining the Rangitaiki River just north of the township of Murupara.

Access map

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The Whirinaki River is one of the largest tributaries of the Rangitaiki River and provides excellent fishing for a large population of both rainbow and brown trout in very clear water that flows over a rock and stone bed. Large sections of the river flow through native forest providing high quality wilderness fishing conditions. Fish can be spotted in the clear water especially on brighter days.

The Whirinaki finds great favour amongst anglers because of the quality of the fishing and the beautiful scenic nature of the river and its surroundings.

In the headwaters, above the township of Minginui, fish numbers are lower as the riverbed tends to be less stable and not able to support a large food source.

Between Minginui and the Okui Rd: There is excellent access to this section of the river, particularly for those who do not want to stay overnight.

Downstream of Okui Road: The most favoured section however lies in the downstream section from Okui Rd to the confluence with the Rangitaiki River. Most of the section flows through forest land and requires some walking to reach the superb fishing it provides.

Confluence: The section just above the confluence with the Rangitaiki River is mostly willow lined but still provides excellent fishing conditions. The water quality is very  high providing excellent sight fishing for trout that average just under 2 kg.


There is good camping throughout the length of the river.

Upper Reaches:
River Road runs along the true left bank of the river for several kilometres. Anglers can then cross the river and follow a walking track right up to the headwaters. There are a number of huts able to be used by anglers in this section.

Middle reaches:
Between the township of Minginui and Te Whaiti the Minginui Road follows the river upstream along the true right bank.

Lower reaches:
Most of the lower reaches flow through forest. The Okui Rd (actually an old logging track) just downstream from Te Whaiti follows the river along the true left bank for approximately 4 km. Approximately 7 km from the confluence with the Rangitaiki River, the Troutbeck Road crosses the river providing an access point.

See the mid Rangitaiki access map.

Methods The Whirinaki River is ideally suited to flyfishing and especially the use of dry flies and nymphs. Sight fishing is the preferred method of most anglers, particularly in the middle and upper reaches.
Recommended tackle It is recommended that rods of approximately eight-foot six to 9 feet in length that are capable of casting a five or six weight line are used. Leaders need to be 10 foot or longer and tapering to around four to six pounds (2 - 3 kg). During the summer when the river is very clear even longer leaders with fine tippets are recommended.
Recommended lures

Lightly weighted Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tail and Halfback work well throughout the season. Willow grub patterns can be very effective in the lower reaches.

Dry flies:
During the early summer, try beetle patterns. Cicada patterns during late summer when these insects can be heard all through the forest. Otherwise patterns such as Royal Wulff or Dunn patterns are effective.

Wet flies:
During the day, well sunk Woolly Buggers and Mrs Simpsons are effective with wee wets such as a Greenwell's Glory. Soft hackle tied flies (in sizes 14 - 16) and March Browns fished just subsurface can work well when trout are rising in the evenings or taking insects just subsurface during cloudy warm days.

Spinners: Very small bladed spinners such as a Mepps or Veltic in the upper reaches or a black or green Toby  or Rapala in the lower reaches

Tributaries Although many small tributaries join the Whirinaki, only the Okahu Stream (which joins the Whirinaki between Te Whaiti and Minginui) holds any interest to anglers.
Applicable to Whirinaki River
Region Eastern region regulations
Season Oct 1-Jun 30
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2 trout
Size limit (cm) None

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