HomeHawkes BayWhere to fishWaipunga River

Waipunga River

The Waipunga River is fast flowing water that contains a good number of well conditioned and hard fighting rainbow and brown trout in a clear challenging water to fish. Best fished by experienced and energetic anglers..

Fish type Brown and rainbow trout averaging around 1.5kgs with fish up to 4 kgs at times. Fish are generally in very good condition.
Situation The Waipunga rises in the Kaingaroa Forest and flows south and east in its final few kilometres to join the Mohaka near SH 5
Map and conditions

Access map

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Description The Waipunga is a challenging river to fish. Its clear water flows over a rock and stone bed in a series of turbulent rapids and short pools. In the upper reaches above the Waipunga waterfall that effectively divides it into two fisheries, it flows mostly over open tussock land. This upper section contains only brown trout and an access permit from the Fletcher Challenge Forests Visitor Centre in Rotorua (ph 07 346 2082) is required to access it. Fish in this section are not numerous and are very wary in the clear water.

Below the Waipunga Falls the river flows through bush-land and scrub providing around 15 - 20 kms of fishable water. That said, this is challenging water to fish however. The river is not always easy to get to and generally flows swiftly over a rocky bed. Fish in this section are hard to spot as the water can have a little colour and is quite turbulent. It does hold a reasonable stock of fish however that can really fight in the well oxygenated water.

Fish numbers and size Low numbers of brown trout in the headwaters above the falls. Mostly rainbows with some brown below the falls in reasonable numbers with fish averaging around 1.5 - 2 kg.
Access Access above the falls is best from the Pohokura Rd and then turn left onto Koromika Rd which follows the true left hand bank. (Remember permission is required to access this section from the Fletcher Challenge Forests Visitors Centre in Rotorua (ph 07 346 2082)The lower section below the falls can be accessed from SH 5 (though this can mean bashing your way through scrub and bush to get to the river in many places).
Methods In the upper section fish either dry flies and / or lightly weighted or unweighted nymphs  to sighted fish. Below the falls use a large bushy dry fly and nymph combination.
Recommended tackle In the upper reaches use very light weight rods (wind permitting) and long flourocarbon leaders to avoid spooking these wary fish.Below the falls the water is rougher and heavier tackle is in order. Use relatively heavy breaking strain leaders as these fish can really move when hooked and the nature of the river makes it hard to follow them. You may need to put some pressure on a hooked fish to turn it or it will disappear down several pools before breaking off. Carry a net!
Recommended lures Nymphs: Lightly tied nymphs such as a Pheasant Tail or Half back in the upper reaches and heavily weight (and darker) coloured flies such as a roughly tied Hare and Copper, Hares Ears or Pheasant Tail in the lower section.

Dry flies: Parachute Adams, Caddis dry pattern, Olive Dun in the upper section and bushy flies such as a Cicada (during summer), Humpy or Deer's Hair Sedge in the faster water.

Wet flies: Wee wets of the invicta style in the upper reaches and darker flies such as a small Mrs Simpson or Kilwell pattern below the falls.

Spinners: If using spinners use bladed patterns such as Mepps as these will start their attracting movement quickly in the short pools.

Tributaries There are a number of small
but inaccessible tributaries that join the river that are hard
to fish.
Regulations (1)
Applicable to Waipunga River upstream from the Waipunga Falls (including tributaries)
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Jun
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2
Size limit (cm) None
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Waipunga River downstream from the Waipunga Falls (excluding tributaries)
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2
Size limit (cm) None