HomeNorthlandNorthland: Where to FishKai Iwi Lakes

Kai-Iwi Lakes

The Kai Iwi Lakes (Lake Kai-Iwi, Lake Taharoa and Lake Waikere) offer excellent fly fishing and spin fishing for a large population of rainbow trout in a beautiful setting.
Fish type and size Good numbers of well-conditioned fish all year round of excellent eating quality. The average size is 1-1.5 kg and ranges up to 4-4.5 kg.
Situation The three Kai Iwi Lakes are situated about 35 north of Dargaville on the Twin Coast Discovery Tourist Route.

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast.

View the lake's rainfall.

Description The Kai Iwi lakes are deep sand- dune lakes with no rivers or streams flowing either in or out. Consequently Fish & Game releases trout into Lake Taharoa and Lake Waikere each year.
Annual fishing competition

In July each year, Northland Fish & Game runs the Kai Iwi Lakes Trout Fishing Competition.

Note: The 2020 competition that had been postponed from July 202 to October is now cancelled due to the pandemic.


Turn off State Highway 12 at the Omamari Road sign-post. After 11km, take the Kai-Iwi Lakes Road which leads to the Taharoa Domain and Pine Beach camping ground.

See the Kai-Iwi Lakes access map.


Fly fishing

Angling is best in the cooler months when the fish move into the shallower warmer waters. During the summer they tend to go deep and so are best targeted by the boat angler through jigging or trolling. Shore-based anglers need to wade out to cast over the drop-off into the deep water using a fast (though not super fast) sinking line. The water is crystal clear and fish will often follow a lure into shore and take it just as it is about to cross the lip. Night-time fly fishing is often the best time and can be
good even when it is moonlit.

Boat fishing

Boat fishing, especially jigging and trolling, is recommended in the warmer months. Harling and bait fishing can also be productive. The fish are usually near the bottom of the lake where their food is, especially during the summer months.

On Lake Taharoa anglers are permitted to fish from a mechanically propelled boat while on Lake Waikare this is prohibited.


Jigging is very successful, ideally in a gentle to moderate breeze so the boat drifts quietly along and the jig stays in contact with the bottom of the lake.


When trolling, use lead-cored lines which change colour every 10 metres. Each colour takes the lure down approximately 1.5 metres or 5 feet and so the depth the lure is fished at is controlled by the number of colours used. A depth finder is helpful to ensure the lures are at the correct depth.

May-Sept: Fish are often in shallower waters during the cooler months. Try letting out 2-5 colours of line (a colour is 10 metres of lead core line).
Oct-Apr: Fish are deeper when its warmer. You may need to let out 10 colours or more.

Lake Taharoa

Taharoa is the largest lake (240 ha and 37m deep) and is situated between the two smaller lakes. It is the best lake for fishing from the shore and as there is plenty of room to cast, it's a good place for beginners. A sandy shallow shelf extends out from the beach around much of the lake and it is necessary to ensure that the lure is fished over this into the deeper water of the drop-off. This generally requires some wading.

Popular fishing spots

  • In front of the Pines Beach Camping Ground
  • From the jetty
  • On the western shore from the sandspit (Promenade
    Point) past the Kai-Iwi Farmhouse.
Lake Waikere

Lake Waikere (35ha) is stocked with trout annually. It trolls well but as it is used for water skiing look out for submerged ski lane ropes. During the ski season the fish are usually pushed deeper by all the activity.

Lake Kai-Iwi

At 33ha, Kai-Iwi is the smallest of the three lakes. Fish & Game does not stock Lake Kai-Iwi and at present there are no trout in this lake.

Recommended lures

Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tail, Halfback, Caddis patterns such as the Horn Caddis, Black and Peacock, or a small San Juan Worm.

Dry flies:

Flies that represent wind-blown terrestrials such as dragon flies. Daddy Long Legs and Coch-y-Bondu, Cicada patterns and Green Beetle in summer. Sam's Fancy and Damsel
Fly. In the early evening up to dark in summer caddis imitations can be effective.

Wet flies:

Koura (freshwater crayfish) and bully imitation flies.

Night time:

Black Phantom, Craig's Night Time, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Scotch Poacher, Black Marabou, Hairy Dog or any black fly that swims well.

Day time:

Hamill's' Killer, Mrs Simpson, Red Setter, Parson's Glory, Invicta, March Brown, Rabbit patterns such as Orange Rabbit, Muddler Minnow, Woolly  Bugger.


Black Toby, Cobra patterns, Tasmanian Devils in green, yellow, gold, black and gold-spotted.



Applicable to Kai-Iwi Lakes
Region Northland regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait.

On Lake Taharoa anglers are permitted to fish from a mechanically propelled boat while on Lake Waikare motored propelled boats are prohibited. All boats must stay at least 50 metres from any anglers fishing from the shore.

Bag limit 3 trout
Size limit (cm) 300mm minimum

Other fishing waters of the region


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