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Patea River Fishing

The Patea River is a highly productive brown trout fishery located on Mount Taranaki’s ringplain.


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Fish type Brown trout averaging around 1.5 kg but with many bigger fish also present. There are also a few rainbow trout below the Patea dam.

The Patea River rises on the eastern slopes of Mount Taranaki and flows first in an easterly direction through the town of Stratford before turning south to enter the Tasman Sea that the small township of Patea.

The river has been dammed halfway along its course with the resultant formation of Lake Rotorangi which neatly divides the river into two separate fisheries.


Access map

Access map with togography map

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

F&G pamphlet Taranaki Ringplain access pamphlet >>>
Check conditions

River flow and river level

View graphs of recent river flow and river level at the Taranaki Regional Council website.


View graphs of recent rainfall at the Taranaki Regional Council website.

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for Taranaki.


In its upper reaches the Patea River provides excellent fishing for large brown trout some of which can reach trophy size. In the upper reaches the water is generally very clear flowing over a stony and gravel bed. It provides excellent trout habitat and fish can be sighted in the water.

Below the dam there are many kilomtres of excellent water though the best and most productive is to be found in the section just below the dam itself. As the river moves closer to the sea it tends to pick up a lot of sediment and so discolours making it less enjoyable to fish.

Access See the Patea River access map.
Methods All methods are legal. During the summer in the upper section above the Lake Rotorangi there is good dry fly and nymph water. Below the Patea dam that forms the Lake, spinning and bait fishing are also popular.
Recommended tackle In the upper reaches use small light tackle (weight 4 - 6 rods) while heavier gear is best for the section below the dam.
Recommended lures

Dry flies: Bushy flies such as Humpy or Royal Wulff, and beetle, cricket and cicada patterns can work well in the warmer months.

Nymphs: Stonefly and caddis fly nymphs, creepers (Dobsonfly larva) and roughly tied Hare and Coppers.

Wet flies: Small wet flies such as Bibio, Greenwell's Glory or Invicta can be effective especially in the evenings.

Spinners: Black and gold tobys, z-spinners, veltics, and rapalas are effective in both normal and low river flows.


Bait: Early in the season, a fly, creeper, or worm suspended under a bubble float is recommended - adjust the length of the leader to the depth of the water.

Tributaries Although not a tribuatary, Lake Rotorangi is actually part of the Patea River and seprates it into two distinct fisheries, is also worth exploring.
Regulations (1)
Applicable to Patea River upstream from Mangamingi Bridge
Region Taranaki region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Trout: 2
Size limit (cm) None
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Patea River downstream from Patea Dam
Region Taranaki region regulations
Season 1 Oct-30 Sept
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, baitArtificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Trout: 2
Size limit (cm) None


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