HomeWest CoastWest Coast: Where to fishWaitahu River

Waitahu River


The Waitahu River is a very scenic river that provides anglers with the chance to fish for large brown trout early and late in the season.

Fish type Brown trout
Situation The lower reaches are about 5kms from Reefton township
Setting The Waitahu River is a major tributary of the Inangahua River. It rises in the Victoria Range and flows wet to join the Inangahua just north of Reefton. About 20kms upstream form its mouth, it divides into two major streams, the Waitahu and the Montgomerie.

Access map

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Description The Waitahu is a pleasant river to fish and flows over mostly open land for the lower 10kms or so. It can be lightly coloured at times but fish can generally be spotted in the waters. The river flows over a stone and gravel base and has a good amount of vegetation providing shelter for the good trout population that is found throughout its length. Some pools are very deep though there are rapids and good runs as well to tempt the angler. Those anglers wishing to pursue the larger fish in the headwaters are best to fish the larger Montgomerie tributary that can be reached along a well marked walking track.
Fish numbers and size Fish numbers are good and in the 2-4lb range in the middle and lower sections. Larger fish can also be found in the upper reaches and headwaters.
Ease of fishing The lower reaches provide easy angling with fly or spinner. The upper reaches require more effort though this river runs mostly over fairly easy land to fish.
Access Access to the lower reaches is via SH 69 which crosses the Waitahu about 3kms from its confluence with the Buller. Gannons rd about 2kms north of Reefton provides access to the beginning of the track to the middle and upper reaches.
Recommended lures Nymphs: Small Hare and Copper, Pheasants Tail variants and any small straggly looking nymph in small sizes (size 16 or even 18 preferred) work well. Some weight may be required in the deeper and faster sections.

Dry flies: Small winged patterns such as Greenwell's Glory, March Brown or Adams are all effectiveas trout are prepared to rise on this river. Green Beetles are effective in early summer and Cicada patterns from late summer are very effective. Use bushy flies in the faster water.

Wet flies: Small wet flies such as March Brown, Greenwell's Glory or sedge emerger patterns work well throughout the days and are particularly effective in the evening rise.

Spinners: Small bladed spinners such as Veltic or Mepps fished through the deep pools (allow to sink for the best results) or upstream into the faster water.

Applicable to Waitahu River
Region West Coast
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total sports fish: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit

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