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Waipawa River Trout and Fly Fishing

The Waipawa River is the major tributary of the Tukituki River and offers excellent fishing for hard-fighting rainbow and brown trout.


View maps
Fish type, number and size Both rainbow and brown trout are present. They average around 1.5 kg but many much larger fish are also present.
Situation The Waipawa River rises in the Ruahine ranges and flows south east until it joins the Tukituki River just below the small township of Waipawa at an area called the breakwater.

Access map
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 Waipawa River level:
- at Fletchers Crossing (upper reaches)
- at RDS (lower reaches)


View graphs of rainfall:
- at Glenwood (upper reaches)
- at the Tukutuki River at Awarua (Tapairu Rd) (near the confluence of the Waipawa and the Tukituki)

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for Hastings.


The Waipawa is a medium to large river that flows over a shingle and stone bed between willow lined banks. It is easily wadeable and, with the exception of a small section about 10 km above the confluence with the Tukituki river, offers excellent fishing throughout its length.

The river fishes well throughout the year, even during the summer months, as the water remains much cooler than other rivers in this area. In fact, during the mid summer months many fish from the Tukituki move into the Waipawa to take advantage of the colder water.

However for three or four weeks in summer, part of the  river is inclined to dry up and disappear beneath its shingle bed.


Access The upper reaches can be reached from the Springhill and Makaroro roads which lead off from State Highway 50 and Caldwell Road. See the Waipawa River access map.
Methods All methods are suitable for this river. Wet fly is popular and it also provides excellent nymph and dry fly fishing especially during the evenings.
Recommended lures

Nymphs: Small weighted nymphs in the 12 to 16 range and patterns such as Pheasant Tail, Hare and Copper, Willow Grub and Halfback.

Dry flies: During the day try a Blue Dun, Adams, Royal Wulff or Humpy. In the evening during the summer Crane fly patterns can be very effective.

Wet flies: Small wet flies such as Greenwell's Glory, Red Tipped Governor and spider patterns. Otherwise try Hamill's Killer, Mrs Simpson or rabbit patterns.

Spinners: Those spin fishing this water are best served using small bladed spinners such as as Mepps or Veltic fished upstream into faster water a deep through the deeper pools.

Applicable to Waipawa upstream from the SH50 bridge, excluding tributaries
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 June
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit


Size limit (cm) None
Applicable to Waipawa
Region Hawkes' Bay region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit

2 until 30 Sept 2008

4 from 1 Oct 2008

Size limit (cm) None


Wild Trout Adventures

Wild Trout Adventures

Riverstones Lodge

Riverstones Lodge

Adrian Tinsley

Fly to Rod Fly Fishing guide





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