Lower Rivers & Streams
The upper reaches of the Awakino River hold some of the best fly fishing waters in the North Island. Indeed the whole river has a lot to offer anglers with many kilometres of good water and easy access.
The headwaters flow through one of the more rugged parts of the King Country. Here trout numbers are generally low, though the fish are often large and the scenery spectacular. A DoC track runs parallel to the river with several good camp sites and a well-maintained hut at Leitches Clearing. The track is reached from the end of Gribbon Road and there is a marked walking access route through the property to the DoC land. The best fishing in this stretch of river is downstream from the end of the road where access points are marked with signs (please do not block gats or take dogs across private land).
Further downstream, there is classic fly fishing water alongside Gribbon Road with a delightful sequence of pools and wadeable runs. The water is generally very clear, and the trout are wary as these reaches are much more heavily fished than the rest of the river. Upstream from Mahoenui Village the Awakino is restricted to fly-fishing only.
Near Mahoenui the river goes into a series of large loops away from the road. Each of these loops provides a good day’s fishing, generally across private land so permission from the landowner is required. Good water can also be reached from Papakauri Road and downstream through the Awakino Gorge alongside State Highway 3.
Two streams flowing into the Awakino also contain fishable water. The Manganui Stream is generally fished in the middle reaches where it flows across farmland. The Mangaorongo Stream is heavily overgrown though there is some open water in the headwaters.
The Mangaotaki River contains an extensive length of fishing water especially in the middle reaches where there is ideal water for the novice fly-fisherman.
Downstream from State Highway 3 the Mangaotaki flows through a steep gorge to the Mokau River. Although the water is often discoloured, there are usually good numbers of fish and this water is ideal for spin fishing. Above State Highway 3, there are a series of long deep pools leading up to a series of small waterfalls, and again these reaches provide good spin fishing water.
Access to the middle and upper reaches can be gained from Mangaotaki Road, via State Highway 3 at Piopio Village. Most angling occurs in the middle reaches where the Mangaotaki alternates between rugged gorges and long reaches across open farmland. Water clarity is not quite adequate to spot fish but there is generally no shortage of rainbows 0.5-1.5 kg. As you first approach the river from Piopio, there is a long section where the river flows through a scenic reserve providing public access for about 2.5 km. Otherwise the river flows across private land so please ask for access from the landowners.
Holds a reasonable trout population in the reach alongside State Highway 3, but this is not an attractive river to fish as the water is usually discoloured and there are numerous snags and weed beds. A small tributary, the Mangapehi Stream, also contains fish with access from State Highway 4.
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