Coarse Fishing Waters

Less than 50% of the rivers in the Auckland/Waikato region are covered by esplanade reserves (the “Queens Chain”).  But notwithstanding the presence or absence of an esplanade reserve, anglers are dependent upon landowner goodwill to fully enjoy angling opportunities.

Accordingly make sure you take the time to extend to landowners the common courtesies that you would expect:

  • Ask their permission before you cross their land.  


  • Clamber over fences.
  • Walk through crops.
  • Disturb stock.
  • Leave gates other than as you found them.
  • Deposit rubbish.
  • Take your dog onto a landowners property unless you square it away with them that it is OK to do so.  Hydatids and sheep measles can pose a serious threat to a farmers livelihood;  so leave your dog at home unless you’re certain that the farmer doesn’t object to it on their land.

In our experience very few landowners will refuse access to genuine anglers.


Tomarata Dune Lakes

Located about 20km northeast of Wellsford and approximately 2km from the east coast are two dune lakes that provide good rudd and tench fishing. Lake Tomarata is the most accessible with vehicle access to the lakeshore. Access to Spectacle Lake is more difficult, with less fishable water.  Both lakes are heavily used by water-skiers.

Lake Kareta

A large shallow lake containing rudd, perch, tench, goldfish and koi.  Ten years ago, Kareta was a major coarse fishery but in recent years fishing has become difficult due to large weed beds and declining water levels.  Lake Kereta is located at the end of Wilson Road, via South Head Road, in the Woodhill Forest on the South Kaipara Heads. Permission should be obtained from the Forestry Headquarters (Carter Holt Harvey); usually foot access only.

Lake Okaihau (Houghton’s Lake)

A picturesque lake in a rural setting with a reputation as a good perch and tench fishery. Rudd and koi are also present. The lake is on private land  (Houghton family, landowners) so access permission is essential.  A long walk (about 1.5km) is required through the Woodhill Forest from Grass Track Road at Muriwai Beach.

Lake Waimanu

A 22 hectare lake situated just inland from Bethells Beach. Access is physically difficult requiring a long walk (1.5km) across consolidated sand dunes.  A good rudd fishery.

Twin Lakes

Two man-made lakes on private land off Sunnyside Road between Coatesville and  Riverhead. Landowner permission required. Both lakes hold rudd, tench, perch, and koi carp.

Carter Holt Pond

This man-made lake at the Carter Holt Sawmill at Riverhead (Forestry Road) contains most coarse fish and is a popular fishery.  Access requires permission from the Carter Holt Sawmill.

Lake Puketi and Lake Rotoiti

Two small lakes situated in consolidated sand dunes near Karioitahi Beach west of Waiuku.  Both have reputations as excellent rudd fisheries on calm days – which are unfortunately rare at this coastal site.  Marginal weed can make fishing difficult.  Both lakes are surrounded by private land and thus landowner permission is essential.

Lake Pupuke

This lake in North Shore City contains a wide diversity of coarse fish with especially good numbers of tench and rudd.  Pupuke has a reputation as a night fishery, generally fishing best after dark. The adjoining Smale’s Quarry Lake is also a popular fishery and can be reached at the end of Taharoto Rd, Takapuna. Public access is available to a number of sites around the lake margin.

Chelsea Sugar Works

Located in North Shore City, the Chelsea Sugar Works contains a series of small lakes, of which only the upper lake (over the bridge and pass the tennis courts) holds fish. Tench, rudd and some very large koi carp are present. Grass carp have also been released into these waters. Landowner permission is essential.

Bombay Pond

This large pond holds all the coarse fish species, and is a highly recommended fishery especially for junior anglers. Located on private land so permission from the landowner is essential.  Access from Mill Road, via SH1 at Bombay; the pond is located approximately 1km west of the Bombay intersection.

Waikato River

The Waikato River from the Karapiro Dam to the sea contains high numbers of rudd, catfish and koi carp.  There are many access points and some favoured locations are the back-channels near Hoods Landing; the Les Batkin Reserve at Tuakau; the western shore either side of the Mercer Bridge, along the Huntly back road, Taupiri, and Hamilton City.

Kaiaua Gravel Pits

The Gravel Pits are located on the Firth of Thames about 5km north of Kaiaua township.

As the name suggests, these ponds have been created by an ongoing gravel extraction operation, and thus permission for access should be sought from the quarry operators. Access is dependent on where the gravel workings are taking place and water levels. The ponds contain large numbers of rudd, and increasing numbers of koi carp. Tench numbers have declined in recent years, possibly due to competition from koi or due to the removal of raupo and lily beds. Perch are also present and they are often large. These waters are highly recommended.

Mangatawhiri River

This river and it’s side streams sometimes support good numbers of koi carp, but it is too channelised to hold many fish. Access from SH1 south of Mercer.

Whangamarino River

This is a highly recommended river fishery with good numbers of rudd, koi carp, goldfish, and catfish.  From SH1, turn off at the Meremere Power Station into Island Block Road, then travel for about 2km to the Whangamarino Bridge. Fish & Game land is signposted, otherwise landowner permission is essential. Access can also be obtained from the “humpback bridge” on Falls Road (turn right at the end of Island Block Road).

Lower Waikato lakes

There are many lakes in the lower Waikato catchment that hold coarse fish, including three large shallow lakes – Whangape, Waahi and Waikare.  All hold huge numbers of rudd, goldfish, catfish, and koi carp.  Generally, these lakes are difficult to fish from the shore due to weedy margins and very shallow water; consequently most fishing occurs at the lake outlets.

Te Onetea Stream

This stream connects the Waikato River with Lake Waikare and is a popular fishing location but action can be patchy depending on flow.  Rudd, goldfish, catfish and koi are present.  Access from Te Onetea Road, about 1 km south of Rangiriri on SH1.  A marginal reserve alongside the Te Onetea Road provides access to the stream, and there is also a stretch on public land worth fishing between SH1 and the Waikato River, otherwise landowner permission is required.

Hikutaia Cut

The Hikutaia Cut is a large man-made pond that is connected to the lower Waihou River. This fishery has improved in recent years and holds tench, rudd, goldfish, and the occasional koi carp.  Access is from Captain Cook Road, via SH2 (Auckland-Paeroa).

Waihi Lake

A large pond holding tench and rudd in Waihi Township. Waihi Lake is located just before the Ohinemuri River next to SH2 (Waihi-Tauranga).

Lake Hakanoa

A popular fishery with easy access provided by a lakeside domain. Lake Hakanoa holds all coarse fish species including high numbers of rudd and some large goldfish and koi carp. Hakanoa is located on the eastern side of Huntly Township.

Mangawara River

Popular river but with limited public access so landowner permission is required. Access is from Taupiri on SH1, turn into Gordonton Road (Hamilton bypass) and then into Orini Road.  Rudd, catfish, goldfish, and koi carp are abundant.

Lake Kainui (Lake D)

Lake Kainui is regarded as the best coarse fishery of the eight small lakes between Ngaruawahia and Hamilton. Access is from Lake Road, via River Road – which runs parallel to the eastern bank of the Waikato River between Hamilton and Ngaruawahia. A reserve beside a row of poplars gives foot access to Lake Kainui, otherwise private access via adjoining landowners. 

Lake Rotorua (Hamilton Lake)

Lake Rotoroa in the center of Hamilton City is a popular coarse fishery with good numbers of perch, goldfish, and catfish. Rudd numbers have declined in recent years but are expected to recover. Tench are also present in low numbers but they’re often large fish.  Access is good with an extensive reserve along the lake margin.

Turtle Lake

A popular coarse fishery for junior anglers located in the Hamilton Botanical Gardens. Holds good numbers of perch, rudd, and large goldfish. When fishing, make sure you keep off the gardens!

Lake Ngaroto

Popular coarse fishery near Te Awamutu with good vehicle access and an extensive area of fishable water. Rudd, goldfish, and catfish are abundant.

Lakes Arapuni and Karapiro

Both are large hydro-lakes on the Waikato River with high populations of rudd, trout, and the ocassional large goldfish. Weed can make fishing difficult, nevertheless both lakes are increasingly popular with junior anglers. Anglers fishing the hydro-lakes are restricted in their choice of baits so please check the fishing regulations.

Lake Huiputea

This is a large pond in Otorohanga Township with access from the heavy vehicle bypass. Lake Huiputea holds rudd and is excellent water for junior anglers.