HomeNelson – MarlboroughNelson Marlborough: Where to fishWaingaro River

Waingaro River

The Waingaro River is a remote wilderness river that offers extremely challenging fishing for the most energetic anglers who wish to try for the large fish that inhabit it.
Fish type, number and
A moderate number of brown trout fish are present (more in the lower reaches) but their size which can reach up to trophy sizes make up for it. Average size around 3-4lb but with many larger fish up to trophy size (i.e. over 10lb).
Situation The Waingaro is a tributary of the Takaka river rising and flowing through some rugged terrain and offering very challenging water to anglers. It is located in the Golden Bay area about 10 minutes from Takaka and 45 minutes from Motueka.

Access map

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This is a serious angler's river and much of it provides extremely testing conditions to fish for the large brown trout that live in the boisterous waters.

The river runs through some remote mountain valleys and the upper gorge is steep and rugged. Although it sometimes opens out allowing access for the angler, mostly the river runs through steep-faced gorges and unwadeable stretches. It is not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted. However for experienced and fit anglers, the Waingaro provides a truly memorable fishing experience.

The lower reaches offer relatively easier but still challenging fishing in clear water, fast rapids and deep pools as the river near its confluence with the much more sedate Takaka river.


Access to the lower reaches is via the Motueka-Takaka highway (SH60) while Hamama Road leads to the middle and upper reaches. The upper reaches require serious tramping.  See the Takaka River access map.

Recommended lures

Heavily weighted large nymphs are required to get down to the fish. Try sizes 10 to 14 in Pheasant Tail or Hare and Copper patterns.

Dry flies:
large bushy flies such as Deers Hair Sedge patterns work well in the faster water but try smaller patterns such as Twilight Beauty or a Black Gnat in the more sedate section near the confluence with the Takaka.

Wet flies:
Small wets such as Greenwell's Glory or Dad's Favourite are useful especially in the evenings.

Spinners: Bladed spinners such as Veltic or Mepps work best when fished upstream and brought downstream just faster than the current

Applicable to Waingaro 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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