small to medium-sized brown and rainbow trout (with over 95%
of the fish being under 1 kg and less than 40cms in length)
though with some larger fish in the lower reaches. The 2009
survey by Fish and game showed there to be approximately 700
+ fish per kilometre in the upper section of the river.
||The Waihou river is spring fed
and rises on the Mamaku Plateau to the east of Putaruru and
then flows north to enter the Firth of Thames. A number of other
streams and tributaries join the Waihou along its length, many
of which are excellent fisheries in their own right.
map with topography
Lower Waihou River:
map with topography
topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260
weather forecast for Hamilton.
Weekly situation report
Environment Waikato publishes a weekly
situation report which provides an overview of river levels
Rainfall and river level graphs
View graphs of rainfall
levels for the past 7 days at the Environment Waikato
Waikato Spring Creeks Trout Fishing access pamphlet
The headwaters of the Waihou River are
generally crystal clear due to their spring fed water source.
The water remains clear except after very heavy rain and even
then it tends to clear very quickly. The river flows over
a pumice gravel bottom where submerged weed bed provide both
shelter for the fish and an ideal habitat for the insect life
that forms the food source for the trout. There is also good
bankside vegetation that continually provide a steady flow
of terrestrial insects onto the water. Consequently, this
part of the Waihou has one of the highest concentrations of
fish to be found anywhere in the country. Though most of the
fish caught are under a kilogram in weight, there are some
large rainbow trout present. The trout need to be approached
with great stealth in the clear water as they are easily spooked.
this is ideal dry fly fishing and nymphing water.
Access to the headwaters can be gained
from Whites Road and Leslie Road. A "fishing reserve"
provides public access to both sides of the river between
Whites Road and SH5, except for the first kilometre above
SH5 where the reserve is restricted to the true
left bank only.Upstream from Whites Road a walkway runs
alongside the river.
See the Upper Waihou access
to north of SH24
North of SH5, the river flows mostly over
open farmland and offer superb dry fly and nymph fishing for
the high population of trout. Great stealth must be exercised
to avoid spooking the fish. This section of the Waihou was
used as a venue for the 2008 28th Worlds Fly Fishing Championship.
It has such a huge population of small fish that there is
no limit on the number of fish under 30ms in length.
There are access points:
- where the river is crossed by State Highway 5
- at Okoroire
- from State Highway 29
- from the Tauranga-Matamata Road (SH24).
Between SH5 and Okoroire, the only access
is over private land after gaining permisison from the landowners
on Somerville Road or SH5.
See the Upper Waihou access
of SH24 to the mouth
The lower reaches of the Waihou are of
much less interest to the angler as it tends to be deep and
sluggish. Unlike the upper reaches it also tends to carry
some colour and will become dirty after rain. It is often
willow lined and so is best fished with a spinner. There are
however some surprisingly large fish in this section. The
lower reaches are really only suitable for spinning.
See the Lower Waihou access
middle reaches: Due to the clarity of the water and the size
of the river, very light tackle is recommended. Floating or
intermediate lines in neutral colours and in weight five or
lower are best. To avoid scaring the fish when casting, use
long leaders with very light tippets.
In the lower reaches, use spinning rods
capable of casting lures between 7 and 10 g.
Small lightly weighted nymphs in sizes 14 to 18 in patterns
such as Hare
and Copper, Halfback,
nymphs work well throughout the season. During the summer
patterns work well in early evening.
In the upper and middle reaches, the Waihou offers superb
dry fly fishing. Sedge
patterns work well throughout the summer with beetle
patterns working very well in early summer and cicada
patterns from late summer to autumn.
In the lower reaches try Hamill's
Simpson or a small winged wet fly such as a Dad's
Brown or Greenwell's
Glory in the middle or upper reaches.
bladed spinners such as Veltic
or Mepps work
well or try a black and gold Toby.
||Along its length the Waihou
river has a number of tributaries many of which are important
fisheries in their own right. In the upper and middle reaches
these include the Waimakariri,
Stream and the Oraka
Stream. In the lower reaches is the Ohinemuri
River with its many tributaries including the Waitewheta
and the Waitekauri rivers.
||Other clear spring fed rivers
holding large population is of fish in the area include the
many tributaries of the upper Waihou as well as the Pokaiwhenua
and the Little Waipa streams.
||Waihou below Okoroire
||Artificial fly, spinner, bait
|Size limit (cm)
||Waihou above Okoroire
||Artificial fly, spinner
||No bag limit but only 2 trout
may be greater than 30cm in length.
Only two trout greater than
30cm in length may be taken.