HomeTaranakiTaranaki: Where to fishWaingongoro River

Waingongoro River


The Waingongoro River is the most popular fishery on the Taranaki ringplain, though not an especially easy river to fish. Both brown and rainbow trout are of good condition and grow to 1.5kg or more.

Fish type, number and
The Waingongoro River supports good populations of both brown and rainbow trout, with 70% of the catch being rainbows. The average catch rate from a Fish & Game survey was a productive three fish per angler per trip. The fish density varies depending on which section of the river you are fishing as four concrete weirs restrict the movement of trout.
Situation The 74km long Waingongoro River flows from the south-eastern slopes of Mount Taranaki between the Stratford Plateau and Dawson Falls through productive dairying
land to reach the sea at Ohawe, 7km west of Hawera.

Access map

Check conditions

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Upper reaches

In its upper reaches, the Waingongoro River is a clear mountain stream. Few trout are present in the headwaters above the disused hydro generation weir on the Cardiff Walkway, 600metres above Opunake Road.

From the Cardiff weirs down to a 3 metre weir at Riverland's abbatoir  (800m below Eltham Road) only brown trout are present.

Around Opunake Road the river is still fairly small with roughly one large brown trout per pool (or 5 per km). As you move downstream the river increases in size with, around Eltham. up to 20 medium and large brown trout per kilometre.

Bait fishing with creeper or worms is effective in the larger pools near Eltham, especially early in the season as the rivers starts to clear after rainfall. A careful approach is needed as the fish can be well educated.

Middle reaches

Downstream of Eltham the river is larger and meandering, with many deep pools and runs, and a tannin colouration below the weir at Eltham. Pasture and willows are common and there is plenty of fishable water, though the river is overgrown is some parts. This is the most popular section of the Waingongoro with both brown and rainbow trout.

Despite the tannin staining, trout can be spotted on their feeding lies in front of boulders, in pool tails or cruising in pools and back- eddies. Early in the season, when the river carries a good flow, bait and spin fishing can be productive. In summer when river flows fall, is the time for nymph and dry fly fishing.

Lower reaches

In the lower reaches the Waingongoro River is of moderate size. Some stretches are overgrown by willows. Both rainbow and brown trout are present but they are unable to move upstream past the 5.5 metre Normandy weir located between the Normanby and Mawhitiwhiti Road Bridges.

Schools of adult smelt frequent the river below the Normandy weir in late summer and the use of smelt flies on a floating slow sinking line will take fish.

Access Most access to the Waingongoro is through private land. Please obtain permission from landowners as indicated, respect private property and refasten any gate you open .
Methods Nymph, spinner, and creeper fishing early in the season. Nymph and dry fly in the summer as the weather warms up.
Recommended lures

Nymphs: Unbeaded Hare and Copper or gold-beaded Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tail, Halfback nymphs in sizes 12-16

Dry flies: Brown and green beetle (in season) and bushy dry flies (sizes 12-16) in the daytime. For the evening rise, try Deer Hair Caddis floated downstream and swung to rising fish. Also mayfly patterns when the mayfly are hatching in  the upper reaches.

Spinners: Black and gold tobys, z-spinners, veltics, and rapalas are effective in both normal and low river flows.

Bait: Early in the season, a fly, creeper, or worm suspended under a bubble float is recommended - adjust the length of the leader to the depth of the water.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Waingongoro River upstream from Eltham Road Bridge
Region Taranaki region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Trout: 2
Size limit (cm) None
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Waingongoro River between the Eltham Road and SH45 Bridges
Region Taranaki region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Trout: 4
Size limit (cm) None
Regulations (3)
Applicable to Waingongoro River downstream from the Eltham Road bridge
Region Taranaki region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Sept
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Trout: 4
Size limit (cm) None

Other fishing waters of the region


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