HomeNelson – MarlboroughNelson Marlborough: Where to fishWaihopai River

Waihopai River


A major tributary of the Wairau River, the Waihopai is an attractive river that holds a number of fish throughout its length.

Fish type Brown trout
Situation The Waihopai is a a major tributary of the Wairau River.  It is an attractive river that has a large stretch of enticing water to fish.

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While not a well-recognised fishing river, the Waihopai holds a reasonable number of fish. It is best fished in the early season. The river bed tends to be mainly stone and gravel, it is subject to flooding and the available food source for fish is thus diminished.

The Waihopai is a very attractive river and provides the angler with a number of pools and glides punctuated by rapids. The river flows mostly over open land and so provides easy fishing for those wishing to explore it.

Fish numbers and size Due to the unstable nature of this river, fish stocks tend to be to be low with most fish in the 2-4lb range.

The Waihopai is about 30 minutes drive from Blenheim.

Access to the lower reaches is from where Highway 63 crosses the river. The middle reaches can be accessed via Waihopai Valley Road. See the access map.

Recommended lures

Small unweighted nymphs such as Pheasant Tail variants and Hare's Ear, Hare and Copper.

Dry flies:
Cicada patterns are very effective from late summer and beetle patterns work well in early summer. Otherwise use small flies of the Greenwell's Glory or March Brown type.

Wet flies:
Small wets such as Dad's Favourite, Hardies Favourite or March Brown work well especially in the evening rise or down and across the rapids during the day.

Spinners: Small bladed spinners ( Mepps or Veltic) fished upstream into the faster water or through the deeper pools are best for this small river.

Applicable to Waihopai River
Region Nelson/Marlborough
Season 1 October - 30 April
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 2
Size limit (cm) None

Other fishing waters of the region


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