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Lake Whakamaru Trout Fishing

Lake Whakamaru is a long, narrow and shallow man-made lake that holds good stocks of rainbow and some brown trout, some reaching trophy size.

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Fish type Mostly rainbow and some brown trout averaging 1.5 kg, with some fish reaching that magical 10 pound (4.5 kg) mark.
Situation Lake Whakamaru runs east-west and lies downstream of Lake Atiamuri. It is part of the Waikato River system.

Access map
Access map with topography

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

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast for Tokoroa.
F&G pamphlet The Waikato River

Lake Whakamaru was formed in 1956 when it was dammed for hydro-electricity generation. It is probably the shallowest of all the hydro-electric lakes on the Waikato River system and so warms up during the summer and is liable to become very weed-infested during the warmer months. As a consequence, trolling and harling can become almost impossible. Fishing from the shore during this time is also extremely difficult, if not impossible except in the small section where there is still a reasonable flow as the river flows from Lake Atiamuri. Within the lake a preferred method is to fish from an anchored boat and cast along the channels between the weed beds.


There is excellent access along the northern bank as State Highway 30 follows the lake for almost its entire length. The road crosses over the dam itself and the small side road provides access to a reasonable section of the southern bank. There are a number of good boat ramps on the lake. See the Lake Whakamaru access map.

The Whakamaru Dam and tailrace

There is excellent fishing below the Whakamaru dam into the faster water in the tailrace.

Methods During the cooler months it is possible to troll much of the lake though the best area to do this is in the deeper waters near the Whakamaru Dam as the middle and upper sections tend to be shallow and weed infested. Despite that, when trolling it is still necessary to get the lure as close to the weed beds as possible. It is better however to anchor the boat or drift and cast either a spinner or a fly on a sinking line in the channels between the weed beds.
Recommended lures

Nymphs: Casting weighted nymphs such as a Hare and Copper, Halfback or Pheasant Tail close to the weed beds and slowly retrieving can be effective.

Dry flies: Lake Whakamaru is not noted as a dry fly lake although it is worth trying cicada or beetle patterns during the summer months, especially during the evening.

Wet flies / Streamers: Try any smelt pattern such as a Dorothy, Dollfly or rabbit pattern or a Hamill's Killer or Mrs Simpson during the day, and darker patterns such as a Scotch Poacher, black rabbit or Fuzzy Wuzzy during the evening.

Spinners: Dark coloured spinners such as a Tokoroa Chicken, Black Toby or dark Cobra and Tasmanian Devils work well.

Tributaries There are no tributaries of note although several small streams do enter the lake, each of which can provide excellent fishing around the mouth, especially during the warmer summer months.
Related waters See also Lake Aratiatia, Lake Ohakuri, Lake Atiamuri, Lake Maraetai, Lake Waipapa, Lake Arapuni, Lake Karapiro and the Waikato River.
Applicable to Lake Whakamaru (on the Waikato River)
Region Eastern region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait.
Bag limit None
Size limit (cm) No limit






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