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Tukituki River Trout and Fly Fishing

The Tukituki River and its tributaries provide a wide variety of fishing experiences for a large population of wild rainbow and brown trout.

View Tuktituki River photos

View photos View maps
Fish type The Tukituki catchment has mostly rainbow trout though some brown are also present. Fish average around 1.5 kg, with some fish up to 4 kg caught, especially in the lower reaches.
Situation The Tukituki River and its tributaries drain a huge area of land in the Hawke's Bay. The river rises in the Ruahini Ranges and flows for approximately 80 km to enter the Pacific just south of Napier.

Upper Tukituki River maps

Access map and access points
Access map with topography

Lower Tukituki River maps

Access map and access points
Access map with topography

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

F&G pamphlet Tukituki River Fishery access pamphlet
Check conditions

River level

View graphs of the Tukituki River level:
- at Folgers (upper reaches)
- at Tapairu Rd
- at Shag Rock
- at Red Bridge (lower reaches)


View graphs of recent rainfall:
- at Moorcock (upper reaches)
- at Awarua (Tapairu Rd)
- at Shag Rock
- at the Maraetotara River at Waimarama Road (lower reaches)

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for Hastings


In the upper reaches above the confluence with the Tupiko River the Tukituki is relatively small and provides excellent fishing early in the season. The middle reaches is the most popular area of the fishery and offers a huge range and variety of waters, making it suitable to all angling methods. The lower Tukituki is a large waterway and is best fished during the whitebait season when large trout move downstream to take advantage of this delicacy.

Covering such a wide area of land the Tukituki is very difficult to describe as one fishery. Each part of the section is very different, making it suitable to different angling methods. It does colour up after rain but tends to clear relatively quickly, especially in the upper reaches.

Upper reaches

Above the Tukipo River confluence


This section of the river is much smaller than the middle and lower reaches and consequently is best fished with light gear. The water in this section tends to be clearer and further downstream making sight fishing possible. During the warmer summer months the rivers flow diminishes and many trout migrate downstream although there is always a reasonable resident population of fish present. Consequently, this section is best fished in the early part of the season up to mid-December or very late in the season after there has been some rainfall.


Both State Highway 2 and State Highway 50 cross the Tukituki. Many sections of the upper reaches of the Tukituki can be accessed by roads that lead off the State Highways.

See the upper Tukituki access map and access points.

Middle reaches

From the Tukipo River confluence downstream to the Waimarama Road bridge


The middle reaches of the Tukituki River offer a wide variety of fishing that is suited to most methods. The river flows through a braided channel and is a mixture of pools and long runs that is suited to both fly and spin fishing. A number of tributaries flow into the Tukituki along this section and so the volume of water increases markedly as one moves downstream. Mostly the river flows over open land and as there is limited bankside vegetation, in bright and warm weather trout tend to lie in the deeper pools. The river warms significantly over the summer months and at times weed can be a problem. During dry periods the river flow can be severely reduced making fishing more difficult. Generally however, this is a very good fishery providing excellent fishing conditions throughout most of the season.


This section of the river has excellent access as roads follow the river close to the banks. At times the angler will still need to cross private land and so the landowner' s permission should always be sought before crossing.

See the upper Tukituki access map, the lower Tukituki access map and the list of access points.

Lower reaches

From the Waimarama Road bridge downstream to the sea.


The river here is much larger and less interesting to fish. That said, it is still a very popular section of the river especially for those using spinners or wet flies. From October through to early December, whitebait enter this section of the river and trout will feed voraciously on them. Some of the largest trout in this fishery are caught during this time on either spinners or on large wet flies that closely resemble the small whitebait. In late autumn, some sea run trout enter into the river, especially as the river starts to fall after some heavy rain.



This section of the river has excellent access from a number of roads that lead along both banks.

See the lower Tukituki access map and the list of access points.

Methods This river is suitable to all methods of fishing. In the upper reaches there is excellent dry fly and nymph water although the angler should use tackle as light as possible, especially during the summer months when the water is clearer and water levels low. The middle reaches are well suited to spin fishing, nymphing, dry fly and wet fly. The lower reaches are best suited to spin fishing and wet fly fishing especially when the whitebait are running.
Recommended lures

Nymphs: Small patterns in sizes 14 to 16 of Hare and Copper, Pheasants Tail, Halfbacks and Stonefly patterns work well.

Dry flies: Flies that imitate mayfly and caddis work well, especially during the warm summer evenings when there can be very good rise. Cicada and cricket patterns can also be effective during the very height of summer.

Wet flies / Streamers: In the middle reaches use small Hamill's Killer and Mrs Simpsons and in the lower reaches smelt patterns such as Parsons' Glory, Grey Ghost and Jack Spratt.

Spinners: Black and gold Toby's, rapalas and bladed spinners such as Veltics and Mepps.

Tributaries There are a number of of tributaries to the Tukituki River, each of which is an important fishery in its own right. These include the Waipawa River, the Mangaonuku Stream, the Tukipo River and the Makaretu River.
Applicable to Tukituki River upstream from the SH50 road bridge, excluding tributaries
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Jun
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit


Size limit (cm) None
Applicable to Tukituki River downstream from the SH50 road bridge, excluding tributaries
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit


Size limit (cm) None


Andrew Watt

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