The Moawhango River provides challenging fishing
for a good population of brown and some rainbow trout in a remote
and attractive setting. This river is best suited to energetic anglers
who are prepared for some steep climbs and deep water wading to
cross the river.
River rises in the tussock highlands near Tongariro and within
the New Zealand Defence Force Army Training Area. In 1979
a dam was built near the headwaters to divert water for hydro
electric power production. The river downstream from this
dam has been severely reduced as a consequence. Despite this
extraction of water, the Moawhango still provides excellent
fishing for energetic and fit anglers who are prepared to
scramble up and down steep hills and be prepared for some
deep water river crossings. The river bed can get very slippery
during the summer and care should be taken when crossing.
The upper reaches and headwaters, as well
as the shallow man-made Lake Moawhango, are with in the army
training area and are consequently not accessible to anglers.
The central section downstream from Moawhango village provides
reasonable access with a road paralleling the river for some
distance. Upstream from Moawhango village can also provide
good fishing if you obtain the land owners permission to cross
their land. Much of the river however flows through a deeply
sided valley and it is not an easy river to access. Consequently
it also receives little angling pressure making it a great
alternative for anglers wishing to find some remote fishing
where they are very unlikely to see anyone else fishing.
The lower reaches are virtually impossible
to access as the river flows through a deep steep sided valley.
After rain, the water in this river can
quickly discolour and so is best left for a few days to clear
before attempting to fish.
Fish numbers and size
Brown trout predominate with
some rainbow trout also present. Numbers are good and fish average
around 1.5 kg.
The best area to access this
remote river is along the Moawhango Valley Road which follows
the river through its most accessible section. The Moawhango
Valley Road can be reached by turning off SH 1 onto the Te Moehau
Rd at Te Moehau Junction south of Waiouru.
This river is really a nymph
and dry fly water. During the warmer months, trout rise freely
and there is often a very good evening rise.
Rods capable of casting 5 to
7 weight lines. As the river generally carries some colour,
leaders do not need to be very long with 9 to 10 feet generally
Dark patterns with some weight such as a Caddis
Tail, or a roughly tied Hare
and Copper type pattern in sizes 12 to 16. Fish on this
river seem to respond best to very roughly tied nymphs.
Dry flies:Caddis imitations
throughout the season. Try a larger cicada
pattern when these insects about from mid to late summer.
Wulff patterns are also effective particularly when fished
in tandem with a trailing nymph.
Try bully patterns such as a Mrs
Simpsons or Kilwell
pattern especially if the water is a little dirty.
water is not recommended for the spin or bait fisherman