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Otaki River

The Otaki River offers some good back-country fishing with access by walking or by raft for small numbers of average sized brown trout.

Fish type, number and
The Otaki River's stock of brown trout is not high, but a few good-sized specimen are caught
Situation The Otaki River rises in the eastern Tararua Range and flows westward to enter the sea on the Kapiti Coast near Otaki.

Access map

Check conditions

View MetService weather forecast.

View the River flow.


Upper reaches: An extensive catchment within the Tararua Conservation Park offers sight fishing provided you are fit and willing to tramp. Fish numbers in this section are low but the fish are generally of a good size.

Middle reaches:
Below the park boundary the river runs though a long gorge which has deep pool and great views. Around the Otaki Forks, spinning may draw trout out from the deep holding pools. Fish numbers are reasonable but access can be difficult.

Lower reaches:
The shingly, willow-lined lower reaches are periodically affected by floods and gravel extraction. Whitebait are the magnet for trout here so a spinner or smelt fly are recommended. This is the most popular section to fish and holds the highest number of trout. The bed can be unstable and so look or sections along banks where the river has some structure.


Upper reaches: Tramp on foot from the Forks into Tararua Conservation Park.

Middle reaches:
Otaki Gorge Road follows the true left bank upstream to Otaki Falls. A 4WD vehicle is recommended as the road is not always in great condition.

Lower reaches:
Downstream from SH1 there are good access roads.

See the Otaki River access map.

Recommended lures

In the upper reaches weighted stoneflies and mayfly patterns such as Pheasant Tail and caddis

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

Wet flies / Streamers: In the lower reaches use large wet flies such as a Grey Ghost, yellow Rabbits, Jack Spratt and other whitebait patterns during the day and
dark patterns such as Craig's Night-time and Scotch Poacher during the evening and at night. In the middle and upper reaches use small wee-wets such as March Brown, Red
Governor and Hardies Favourite.

Spinners: Black and gold Toby's in the wider lower reaches and small bladed spinners such as Mepps or Veltic in the rapids and pools in the middle and upper reaches.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Otaki River upstream from the Tararua Forest Park boundary
Region Wellington region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit 1 trout
Size limit (cm) Max 450mm
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Otaki River downstream from the Tararua Forest Park boundary
Region Wellington region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) Max 450mm

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