|The Hinemaiaia River (also known as the Hatepe River and Hinemaiaia Stream) is a lovely medium-sized river that offers excellent fishing in a scenic setting. It is ideally suited to nymphing and offers superb sport during the major spawning runs during the winter.
|Brown trout and rainbow trout can be caught throughout the year though the big fish enter this river from late autumn and winter.
|The Hinemaiaia is an eastern tributary of Lake Taupo which joins Lake Taupo at the settlement of Hatepe just off SH1. It drains the western boundary of Kaimanawa Forest Park between the Waitahanui and Waipehi watersheds, flows north-west until it enters Lake Taupo. The Hinemaiaia has three hydro stations, the first of which acts as a barrier to fish moving upstream to spawn. Consequently winter fishing (which coincides with the spawning runs) is restricted to the section below the main highway bridge.
|View the MetService weather forecast.
|The hydro stations on the Hinemaiaia tend to keep the water flow constant even after heavy rain. Consequently the Hinemaiaia is less prone to becoming discoloured after rain and is often fishable when other rivers have become swollen and dirty. Also, the regular release of water from the dams acts in much the same way as a fresh in other rivers and so encourages regular runs of fish to move into the river from the lake.
The lower reaches of the Hinemaiaia offers great flyfishing as the fish make their spawning migrations up the river between April and September. The river is ideal for nymph fishing, though those wishing to wetline for fish can also have success. The water is generally very clear.
Trees on the bank sometimes restrict casting but tracks follow both banks of the river for many kilometers. You may experience underwater snags along the length of this river as it holds logs and other debris washed down in times of flood. Hooked fish often find freedom by fleeing under bankside vegetation and snagging lines or other hooks on branches in the water. For this reason some anglers prefer to only use one fly when fishing the Hinemaiaia.
|At the mouth
The mouth is a favourite fishing spot, especially after dark when the fish are running. It also fishes well during the summer, peaking in late March and April. Locals tend to try and fish this mouth on very dark nights and after there has been a good westerly wind to bring fish to the river mouth.
You can drive to the mouth of the Hinemaiaia. See the Hinemaiaia River access map.
The runs just above the mouth are best suited to downstream lure fishing (wet-lining) but above this, fishing with well sunk nymphs is the most popular and effective method. As the trout lie in the deeper parts of pools or under the river bank and will not rise far, you need to get your fly close to the bottom whatever method you are using. When nymphing this means that either you use a heavy nymph (usually with a light unweighted nymph tied about 45cm below that) or put some split-shot on the leader to ensure the fly gets to the bottom.
This section of the river is easily accessed via Rereahu Avenue which turns of State Highway 1 about 350 metres south of the Bridge. There are several small lanes and roads that lead to the river where there are places to park your car. The river is well serviced with lanes and tracks allowing the whole section to be accessed on foot. See the Hinemaiaia River access map.
Above the Hatepe bridge on SH1 are some moderately deep holes and good lies against the bank. However, in some sections, trees can impede casting. Despite some bank erosion and deterioration, there is good nymph and downstream lure fishing at times. Although some trout can be spotted, many lie hidden under the banks. Snags are a real problem and consequently many anglers prefer to use only one fly as any reasonable sized trout will find plenty of ways to hook a trailing fly on the large number of subsurface obstacles.
From the south side of the Hatepe bridge on SH1, take the track that runs upstream on the true left bank. This track takes you to the limit of the fishing on the Hinemaiaia (about 3kms above the bridge). The river is wadeable and can be crossed in many places. See the Hinemaiaia River access map.
Because of the hydro-electric power dam, the upper reaches do not offer rewarding fishing, though the middle dam holds small rainbow and the top dam holds brook trout. At present the access to the top dam is closed.
You need to obtain permission and directions from Taupo Electricity in Manuka Street, Taupo.
Middle dam: From a side road near Hatepe.
Top dam: From Hatepe hydro road, south of Taupo Airport.
See the Hinemaiaia River access map.
|Fish numbers and size
|Trout of around 2kg in weight make their spawning migration up the river. The runs are spread out between April and November with the main rainbow runs between June and October. Runs are stimulated by rain (a fresh) and cooler water temperatures though as noted above, the river level fluctuations caused by the hydro dams can artificially induce migratory runs into the river as well when water is released.
For nymph fishing:
A 5 to 7 weight rod.
For wetfly fishing:
A 6 or 7 weight rod.
Smaller patterns (wee-wets) such as Invicta, March Brown and Greenwell's Glory can be very effective, especially on a warm summers evening.
Dry fly: In the summer when fishing for the resident fish try Coch-y-Bondu, cicada patterns and Daddy Long Legs during the warmer months; and try small dries in the Greenwell's Glory or March Brown varieties at other times.
There are no tributaries of note.
|Taupo fishery area regulations
Above the lower (HB) dam and the hydro lakes:
From the river mouth to the lower (HB) dam:
|Size limit (cm)
|Taupo fishery area regulations
|1 Dec-31 May except
for the area between the lower hydro-electric supply dam (commonly called HB Dam) and the sign that is situated approximately 300m downstream from the powerhouse, which is closed all year.
|Size limit (cm)