HomeWest CoastWest Coast: Where to fishArawhata River

Arawhata River


The Arawhata River is a large river and though it contains a moderate number of trout it is a difficult river to fish. It usually is quite discoloured with glacial silt and so is not recommended as worth the effort except in the  lower reaches. (Note that Arawhata is sometimes spelt Arawata)

Fish type Brown trout with some sea-run fish in the lower tidal section.
Situation The Arawata drains the Olivine Ranges and enters the sea just north of Jackson Bay approximately 25kms south of Haast.
Setting The Arawhata is set in the south of the remote West Coast region. With the Southern Alps as a backdrop, this is a very picturesque river to fish.

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast
Description The river runs a cross a wide and changing sand and gravel bed between wooded and well vegetated banks. The river is almost always coloured with a fine glacial silt making for poor visibility in the water. Best fished with a spinner or try using a large nymph along the slower and clearer water along the river margins in the lower reaches. Anglers who are willing and able to walk into the headwaters will find some classic fly fishing waters however.
Fish numbers and size The Arawhata River contains a small number of brown trout throughout its length mostly in the 2-4lb range (though numbers will vary year by year depending on the state of the river during spawning times).
Ease of fishing The Arawhata is a difficult river to fish successfully due to the volume of silt laden water that flows over the braided and largely unstable bed. It is also usually coloured a turquoise / azure blue though the very remote headwaters provide better fishing in clear boisterous water for those adventurous enough to walk in.
Access Access is from the Jackson Bay road that joins State Highway 6 at the small township of Haast. See the Arawhata River access map.
Recommended lures

Larger dark patterns in the style of Hare and Copper, Pheasants Tails or Hare's Ear that have enough weight to get down to the fish are good in the lower reaches where the water carries a lot of colour. Smaller nymphs in sizes 12 - 14 work in the cleaner headwaters

Dry flies:
Fish bushier flies over the faster water as these can sometimes induce a fish to rise. It is not recommended as a dry fly river however.

Wet flies:
Larger wet flies such as Hamills Killer or Mrs Simpson in the lower reaches with small wets such as Greenwells Glory. Try a whitebait imitation such as a Grey Ghost or Parsons's Glory at the mouth of the river or in the lower tidal section when the whitebait are running early in the season (Oct - Dec).

Spinners: Bladed spinners (Veltic or Mepps) or a Black Toby or similar patterns fished through the deep pools or though the faster water.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Arawhata River upstream of Haast/Jackson Bay Road
Region West Coast
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total: 4
Rainbow trout: 2
Salmon: 1
Size limit (cm) No limit
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Arawhata River downstream of Haast/Jackson Bay Road
Region West Coast
Season Trout: All year
Salmon: 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Brown trout: 4
Rainbow trout: 2
Salmon: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit

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