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.