HomeNelson – MarlboroughNelson Marlborough: Where to fishWangapeka River

Wangapeka River

The Wangapeka is the largest of the Motueka river tributaries offering both remote wilderness dry fly and nymph fishing for large, vigorous and sometimes trophy size fish and easy access fishing in the lower reaches above the confluence with the Motueka..
Fish type Brown trout
Location 1 hour from Nelson; 25 minutes from Motueka town.
Setting A beautiful crystal clear river rising in the Mount Arthur range and flowing over a stone and gravel bed providing a range of fishing opportunities from the easy to the remote wilderness experiences sought by the more adventurous angler. The lower reaches flow over open land while the middle and upper reaches flow through native bush.

Access map

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Description The clear water and large fish make this a very special river. Mostly wadeable with the clear water allowing the angler to spot and stalk fish which can reach impressive sizes. Excellent dry fly and nymph waters though other forms of fishing such as spinning are permitted and work well, especially near the confluence with the Motueka or when the river is running high.
Fish numbers and size Fish numbers are average when compared to the Motueka though the size of the fish more than compensates as they average around 4lb and can grow to trophy sizes.
Ease of fishing The river is relatively easy to fish in its lower reaches as the river crosses open farmland for about 10 kilometers. The middle reaches hold bigger fish and are more difficult to access and fish  this section offers challenging fishing for large fish in pristine water. When fishing the upper and middle reaches it will require some walking along well defined tracks.

Access in the lower reaches is easy as the Tapawera-Glenhope road runs along its length and there are several well sign posted access points for anglers (turn off SH61 at Tapawera).

The middle reaches can also be accessed by car from Tapawera on small back-country roads though land owners permission is required for most of this section. The upper reaches can only be accessed by walking the Wangapeka Track but offers kilometers of fishing waters. See the access map.

Recommended lures

Pheasants Tails (and variants), Hare and Copper, Stone fly nymph patterns

Dry flies:
Adams, Greenwell's Glory, March Brown with Beetle patterns in early Summer and cicada patterns from mid summer.

Wet flies:
Any small green or brown "wee wet" such as a March Brown, Kakahi Queen or Greenwell's Glory works well fished just subsurface during the evening.

Spinners: Small and dark colours such as a small toby or green veltic.

Applicable to The Wangapeka River
Region Nelson Marlborough
Season 1 October to 30 April
Methods Artificial fly and spinner
Bag limit 2 (with only one fish exceeding 500mm in length)
Size limit (cm) No minimum size

Other fishing waters of the region


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