HomeHawkes BayWhere to fishEsk River

Esk River

The Esk is a small stream that provides reasonable fishing for an average stock of rainbow and brown trout.

Fish type Brown and rainbow trout
Situation The Esk River rises in the Maungahaururu Ranges and then flows south to enter Hawkes Bay approximately 10 km north of Napier.
Map and conditions Access map by Google

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The Esk River is small and flows through hilly country over a shingle and stone bed. In the upper reaches it generally remains clear but environmental mismanagement by farmers in the area have caused it to deteriorate over the past two decades. Consequently it will colour up very quickly after rain and this has had a very detrimental effect on the fishing over the years as not only does it cause the fishing water to deteriorate but it also causes a major decline in food for the fish. When the river is clear however, both rainbow
and brown trout can be spotted in the water and these respond well to both dry flies and nymphs. The best sections to fish are the middle and upper reaches.

Fish numbers and size Low numbers with fish averaging around 1 kg
Access The lower reaches can be accessed from SH 5 with the middle reaches of being accessed from the Ellis Wallace Road which turns off SH5 at Eskdale. The upper reaches can be accessed from Berry Road (which is of Ohurakura Rd). Permission to cross farmers land must be sought however before fishing
this section.
Methods This small river is best fished by dry fly on nymph (with the exception of the lower tidal reaches which are best fished with a spinner or large wet fly).
Recommended tackle An 8 1/2 to 9 foot rod and weight four to five line. Floating lines in neutral colours are best.
Recommended lures

Small lightly weighted Hare and Copper and Pheasant Tail nymphs. Also try any pattern that has been tied with Peacock Herl such as a Theo's Bomber.

Dry flies:
In the early summer as the river clears, try beetle patterns and from midsummer cicada and cricket patterns.

Wet flies:
Small spider patterns fished down and across through some faster water can be effective especially in the evenings.

Spinners:  In the tidal reaches use silver or black and gold Toby's. Otherwise very small bladed spinners of the veltic or mepps type.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Esk River upstream of Waipunga Road Bridge and all tributaries
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season Oct-30 Jun
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) 550 mm maximum
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Esk River downstream of Waipunga Road Bridge
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) None

Other fishing waters of the region


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