HomeTaranakiTaranaki: Where to fishStony River

Stony River

The Stony River is a highly-regarded fast flowing medium-sized river, usually providing high-quality fly-fishing for both brown and rainbow trout. After  a major flood in 2006 Fish and Game decided to also stock the river with rainbow trout and these have thrived alongside the brown trout.

Fish type Both brown and rainbow trout are present, with some (particularly the brown trout) averaging around 1.2 kg. Many fish are much larger. Sea-run brown trout can be caught in the lower reaches late in the season.
Situation The Stony River is one of the many ring-plain rivers that radiate out from Mount Taranaki. It rises high on the slopes of Mount Taranaki and flows westwards to enter the Tasman Sea south of New Plymouth.

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The Stony River is exposed to some of the heaviest rain in New Zealand and drops steeply over its short course. As a consequence it frequently floods and becomes unfishable. These flash floods can scour the bed and severely reduced the trout population at times. As the bag limit can change, always check the regulations prior to fishing the Stony.

As its name suggests, the water flows over a very stony bed. It is very fast water made up of a series of pockets in the middle and upper reaches. The water is generally very clear making sight fishing possible. Although some vegetation grows along the banks, casting is usually quite easy. It is an excellent nymph and dry fly water.

Because of the high quality of the water and its value as a fishery, the Stony is protected by a water conservation notice.


The upper reaches reached from the Mangatete and Wirimu Road bridges (off Saunders Road) or from the ends of Saunders or Puniho Roads.

The Stony River walkway can be reached from upper Kaihihi Road opposite the rugby club or from the Kaihihi swing bridge.

The lower river can be accessed from the Surf Highway (SH45) bridge, or through farmland off upper and lower Kaihihi Road and Brophy Road.

Methods The Stony River is ideal dry fly and nymph water.
Recommended tackle The Stony River is best fished with a floating line (weight four to six being ideal). When nymph fishing. some weight is often required to get the fly down to the fish quickly in the short runs of fast moving water.
Recommended lures

Dry flies: Bushy flies such as Humpy or Royal Wulff, and beetle, cricket and cicada patterns can work well in the warmer months.

Nymphs: Stonefly and caddis fly  nymphs, creepers (Dobsonfly larva) and roughly tied Hare and Coppers.

Wet flies: Small wet flies such as Bibio, Greenwell's Glory or Invicta can be effective especially in the evenings.

Applicable to Stony (Hangatahua) River
Region Taranaki region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Sept
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit

Total trout: 2 of which only 1 may be a brown trout.

Size limit (cm) None

Other fishing waters of the region


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