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Mangaotaki River Trout Fishing

The Mangaotaki River is a very attractive river flowing through some spectacular limestone country with an extensive length of easily accessible fishing water, well-suited to all fishing methods.

Mangaotaki  River map

Mangaotaki topographic map

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Fish type and size Mainly rainbow with some brown trout (mostly in the lower reaches) averaging around 1kg

The Mangaotaki is a beautiful river that rises to the west of the small town of Piopio. It flows over a gravel and stone bed and across open farmland for much of its length, then through a steep largely inaccessible gorge before joining the Mokau River.


Access map
Access map with topography

LINZ topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260 series)

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast for Te Kuiti.
F&G pamphlet Waitomo and Kawhia Trout Fishing access pamphlet >>>
Upper reaches


From the upper Mangaotaki bridge (on the Mangaotaki Road) to the headwaters the Mangaotaki is a beautiful river that flows over a gravel bed and mostly open land. This is a very popular area for fishing and some of the most accessible sections receieve some pressure. It offers many kilometres of excellent fly and spinner water, so it is not hard to get away from any other anglers. The river is easily wadeable though there are some very deep pools where the water is slow moving. There are a few small tributaries to the upper reaches and although very small each does contain fish, some of which are of a good size. They fish tend to be few and far between in this small streams however and only anglers looking for a long walk in a beautiful setting should target them.


While many people prefer to spin fish this area, it is ideally suited to all forms of fly fishing, especially nymphing. There can also be a very good evening rise in the warmer months (and fish will rise throughout the day particularly in warm overcast conditions)

Fish numbers and size

There is a good population of fish in this area around 0.75-1 kilogram mark.


At Piopio, turn off SH3 into Mangaotaki Road which runs along the true right bank of the river for most of its length providing excellent access to all pools. See the Mangaotaki River access map.

Middle reaches


From the upper bridge on the Mangaotaki Road to the bridge on SH3, the Mangaotaki River runs over open farmland from most of its length. The river in this section mostly glides between clay banks though there are some interesting sections of faster water. The section is seldom fished as the access is much more difficult. Fish numbers are good though the fish tend to be smaller and mostly around the 0.5 - 1kg mark. Spin fishing is the most popular method though there are some streches which are of interest to the nymph, wet fly or dry fly angler. The evening rises can be specatular (but the fish choosey) in the warmer months.


At Piopio, turn off SH3 into Mangaotaki Road which runs along the true right bank of the river for most of its length. A scenic reserve provides public access for about 2.5km. Otherwise, you need to obtain permission from the farmers whose land the river flows across.

Note: Approximately 10kms south of Piopio there is a "paper road" called Wall Road that is not signposted but does give access to a beautiful stretch of water. It was built for the Kapuni Gas Pipeline and although crosses private farmland is in fact a public access road. Do seek permission from the famer before using it however and remember to observe the usual etiquettes when on private land and leave gates as you find them etc.

See the Mangaotaki River access map.

Lower reaches


The lower reaches run from the bridge on SH3 to the confluence with the Mokau River. The first kilometre below the bridge is a series of fast water and deep pools providing excellent fly and spinner water. The river then tumbles down a steep inaccessible gorge before flowing through a number of deep rocky pools before entering the Mokau River. Although the water often carries some colour and will quickly become unfishable after rain, there are usually good numbers of fish. In the later part of the season some very big fish can be caught in this section as large brown trout move into the river to spawn.


This is good spin fishing water.


From SH3, south of Piopio. See the Mangaotaki River access map.

Recommended tackle

Weight 5 (or even lighter) rod with a floating line in the upper reaches.

Light spinning gear for the deep pools and lower section capable of casting small weights of 7 grams or less.

Recommended lures

Nymphs: Small weighted or unweighted nymphs such as Hare and Copper, Halfbacks, Pheasant Tails and Theo's Bombers in sizes 12 to 16 work well.

Dry flies: Small dry flies (size 14 or 16) in patterns such as Hardie's Favourite, Greenwell 's Glory, March Brown and Twilight Beauty work well throughout the year. In early summer try brown and green beetles and in summer cicada patterns and Daddy- Long - Legs and in late summer, Lace fly patterns can be very effective.

Wet flies: In the upper and middle reaches small wet flies such as March Brown, Dads Favourite, Invicta, Greenwell's Glory in sizes 14 to 16 are ery effective when fished just subsurface when trout are rising.

Spinners: Mepps and Veltic patterns in gold and  red during the day and darker colours such as green and black late in the evening. Black and gold Toby patterns in the bigger pools.

Tributaries There are a number of very small streams that enter the upper reaches of the Mangaotaki which do hold small numbers of fish. They are best fished early and late in the season.
Regulations (1)
Applicable to Mangaotaki River above the lower bridge on Mangaotaki Road
Region Auckland/Waikato regulations >>>
Season Oct 1-Jun 30
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 5
Size limit (cm) 30cm minimum
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Mangaotaki River below the lower bridge on Mangaotaki Road
Region Auckland/Waikato regulations >>>
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit 5
Size limit (cm) 30cm minimum


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Struan Farm

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