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Akatarawa River

The Akatarawa Stream provides excellent sight fishing in a remote, almost backcountry setting that is surprisingly close to the city of Wellington.

Fish type Brown trout in medium to low numbers
Situation The Akatarawa rises in the southern Tararuas and flows south - west to join the Hutt River in the northern section of Upper Hutt.

Access map

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View the Akatawara lower reaches river flow and water temperature.

Description The Akatarawa River is a boisterous stream that Fish and Game describe as a "mountain stream". It flows through a steeply sided valley for most of its length and the river flows through some largely inaccessible sections at times when steep rock walls confine the river and provide restricted access for anglers. The best access is found in the middle reaches around the small settlement of Cloustonville. The best fishing to be had is downstream from the Wellesley camp at Cloustonville as few fish seem to move further upstream. The river is relatively stable but prone to huge floods at times.

Generally the river flows swiftly and clear over a shingle and rock bed. The water is generally clear and so it is a good river to sight fish though this will require some walking between fish. As the numbers are low and it is best to target individual fish where ever possible.

Fish numbers and size Low numbers of fish but those fish in the river are of a good size around the 2kg mark. As this river only supports a small fish population, catch and release is strongly recommended to protect the stock it holds.
Access Access is limited in many places due to the steep densely vegetated banks. The best access points are in the valley section at Karapoti and Cloustonville. The river at these points has the highest fish numbers and the most open aspect.
Methods This is an ideal dry fly and nymph water but when the fish are deep some weight is required to get the nymphs down quickly in the short runs of swift water.
Recommended tackle Rods of between 4 - 5 weight are ideal. Leaders of 12 feet plus are recommended to avoid spooking the fish by a fly line landing too close to them.
Recommended lures

Weighted stoneflies , mayfly (throughout the season) and caddis patterns (from early summer). And of course the ubiquitous Hare and Copper is always a good standby, particularly when tied in a dark and rough pattern.

Dry flies:
Popular patterns include Royal Wulff, Adams, Blue Dun, Coch-y-Bondhu, beetle patterns (during the early summer) and cicada and cricket patterns late in the summer.

Wet flies / Streamers:
Use small wee-wets such as March Brown, Red Governor and Hardies Favourite.

Spinners: Small bladed spinners such as Mepps or Veltic fished deep in the rapids and pools.

Applicable to Akatarawa River
Region Wellington region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr trout
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 1 (and if possible practice catch and release)
Size limit (cm) 450mm maximum (no fish larger than 450 mm may be taken from this water)

Other fishing waters of the region


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