HomeNelson – MarlboroughNelson Marlborough: Where to fishWakapuaka River

Wakapuaka River


The Whakapuaka is a small attractive river near Nelson that meanders over open land and contains a low to average number of fish. With its easy access it can be heavily fished in the summer months.

Fish type Brown trout
Situation 15 minutes from Nelson
Setting The Whakapuaka is a small river that rises in the Bryant Range and flows to the sea at Delaware Bay near Nelson.

Access map

Check conditions View MetService weather forecast

In its headwaters the Whakapuaka is a small stream that runs through dense bush. At the State Highway 6 bridge it is joined by the Lud and then flows across mostly open land to the sea. It is an attractive river running over a sand and gravel bed and contains a below average number of fish some of which reach good sizes.

Due to its proximity to Nelson however it is heavily fished and the resident trout see many flies and spinners over the course of a season. There is often a good evening rise in the warmer months. The river also gets quite warm in the middle and lower reaches during the summer.

Fish numbers and size A reasonable number of fish mostly in the 2-4lb range.
Ease of fishing Below State Highway 6 bridge, the river runs over open land allowing easy fishing for both fly and spinner.

Access is via the Cable Bay road which follows the river for most of its fishable length. the section above SH 6 is overgrown with limited fishing opportunities. See the access map.

Recommended lures

Very small (16 to 18) lightly weighted nymphs such as Pheasants Tails and Hares Ear.

Dry flies:
terrestrial fly imitation such as Dad's Favourite and Greenwells Glory. Beetle patterns such as Coch-y-Bondhu  from early summer.

Wet flies:
Small wets such as March Brown or Greenwell's Glory work well fished subsurface during the evening rise.

Spinners: Small bladed Mepps or Veltic

Applicable to The Whakapuaka river
Region Nelson Marlborough
Season 1 October to 30 April
Methods Fly or spinner
Bag limit 2 fish (with only one fish to exceed 500mm in length)
Size limit (cm) No minimum size

Other fishing waters of the region


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