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Waitaha River Trout Fishing

The Waitaha River offers good fishing for sea run trout especially during the whitebait runs.


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Fish type Brown sea-run trout with some resident fish.
Situation 40kms south of Hokitika
Setting The Waitaha rises in the Southern Alps and flows west to enter the Tasman approx 16kms south of Ross.

Access map
Access map with topography

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

Check conditions View MetService weather forecast for Hokitika.
F&G pamphlet West Coast Sports Fisheries access pamphlet  >>>
Description The Waitaha is a large flood prone river that flows over an unstable bed of shingle and rock. In the lower reaches the water is brackish nd tidal. The middle raches offer little to the angler as they flow over an unstable shingle bed through braided channels. The upper reaches flow through bush and do hold a number of fish for the fitter more adventurous angler to pursue.
Fish numbers and size Fish numbers in the river are low though reasonable fish can be found in the upper reaches for any angler venturing in to this area. There are good numbers of sea-run fish in the lower estuary section of this large river.
Ease of fishing A difficult river to fish.
Access Access to the lower reaches is via State Highway 6. Small roads follow the river through the middle reaches and give access to the walking track for those wishing to try the upper reaches and headwaters.
Recommended lures

Nymphs: Weighted nymphs such as Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tails in the upper reaches.

Dry flies: Not really a dry fly river though try small flies such as Royal Wulff, Hardies Favourite, Dad's Favourite and March Brown in the upper reaches.

Wet flies: In the lower tidal reaches use a slow sinking line and a fly such as a Grey Ghost, Parson's Glory, Dorothy or Jack Spratt for the good number of sea-run fish.

Spinners: In the lagoon area between Oct to Dec use silver pattern minnow type spinners such as a Toby or Cobra to imitate the shoals of whitebait that enter the river and are irrestible to the trout.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Waitaha River upstream of State Highway No. 6
Region West Coast >>>
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artifical fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total sports fish: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Waitaha River downstream of State Highway No. 6
Region West Coast >>>

Trout: All year

Salmon: 1 Oct-30 Apr

Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total sports fish: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit







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