Popular River Fisheries
The Hakataramea River offers small stream-style fishing for brown and rainbow trout. Best access is gained by travelling the true left bank (east side) on McHenry’s Road where the river follows the road for much of the 12km to Wrights Crossing. Above Wrights Crossing road access is available only along the west side of the river to its upper reaches above Cattle Creek. During a dry summer spell, the river is prone to drying around Wrights Crossing.
The Maerewhenua River is the second largest tributary of the lower Waitaki River. Brown and rainbow trout are found in moderate numbers in the mid and upper reaches however from the confluence with the Waitaki River to a point approximately 5km upstream they are seldom observed.
The Ahuriri River flows into the Ahuriri Arm of Lake Benmore near Omarama. It is most scenic in the upper reaches where it provides trophy trout to the experienced angler. The Ahuriri River has long been considered a fishery of national importance and enjoys “Water Conservation Order” status. Upstream from Omarama access is from SH8 or from Birchwood Road which branches off SH8, 17km south of Omarama. The pristine upper river waters can be reached directly from Birchwood Road or alternatively at Irelands Bridge or by walking down the Avon Burn.
Downstream from Omarama the Ahuriri River may be accessed from the SH8 Bridge by walking downstream and fishing back up or through private land with permission. The Ahuriri delta with Lake Benmore is best reached through Glenburn Station via a signposted anglers access track about 5.5km from Omarama along SH83. A 20-minute walk from the end of the track takes you to the river mouth.
The Tekapo River is harnessed for hydropower generation and has a mean residual flow of 12 cumecs. Augmented by Fork Stream, Grays River, and the Mary Burn. From Tekapo Township access to the Tekapo River is gained from the Powerhouse Road which turns off SH8, 1.5km south of the township. Cross the bridge over the canal and proceed along the east side of the canal passing Patterson’s Ponds before turning off the seal along an extremely rough 4X4 road which follows the west side of the Tekapo for some 35kms before reaching the old, now dry, Pukaki riverbed and the ‘Iron Bridge’. There are any number of access points along this section. An alternative is to drive down the east side of the river, this can be gained from a ford of the dewatered Tekapo River just upstream of the bridge over the canal on Powerhouse Road.
The lower river can be reached more easily by travelling down Haldon Arm Road off Haldon Road. The ‘Iron Bridge’ crosses the lower Tekapo River and connects Haldon Arm Road to two 4X4 roads, one that leads back to the Pukaki spillway and the other fords the Twizel River and leads back to the Ruataniwha Spillway.
The Twizel River is a major tributary of the Lower Ohau River and Lake Benmore. Early in the season rainbow trout recovering from spawning can be found throughout the river however many of these drop back to the lake before Christmas. Low to moderate resident brown and rainbow trout populations remain throughout the season.
Lake Poaka is a man-made wetland complex formed during the construction of the Pukaki Canal. The Twizel River flows into the lake and the lake's outlet form the lower river. Lake Poaka is worth a visit for fly anglers.
The Twizel River can be accessed most easily from the SH8 Bridge at Twizel, a walking track assists access from here. Lake Poaka and a short distance upstream, Rhoboro Downs Road Bridge offer access to the middle and upper reaches. A rough 4X4 track leads down the true left bank of the Lower Ohau River and provides access to the confluence of the Twizel and Lower Ohau Rivers.
This river supports the occasional run of salmon but is mainly noted for its brown trout fishing within the lower reaches below Rolleston Road. Ohapi Creek is a spring-fed tributary stream that enters the Orari about 1km above the mouth. About 5m wide and 0.5m deep, the Ohapi provides good spotting water for the fly angler. The Ohapi is bounded on both banks by private land so get the landowner’s permission – they are usually quite receptive to angler requests.
This river supports a good population of brown trout and a modest annual run of salmon. Salmon angling can be restricted by regular mouth closure during summer, however, the Opuha Dam has reduced the frequency and duration extreme low flows which in turn helps to maintain an open river mouth and summertime river flows.
The Opihi and its main branches, the Temuka and the Waihi, are very popular angling rivers. These rivers may be accessed at any number of points; the more popular being for the Opihi, at Milford Huts, Wareing Road and SH1 on the north bank; and Waipopo Huts, Seadown Road, Roaring Camp Road, Saleyards Bridge (Pleasant Point), Hanging Rock Bridge and Raincliff Bridge on the south side. For the Temuka/Waihi system, SH1, SH72 and Te Awa Road are the favoured access sites.
The best fishing is from the mouth up to SH1 for both species. If brown trout are your preference, try the Waihi above Winchester, the Te Ngawai above Pleasant Point, particularly early in the season, and the Opihi around the Hanging Rock Bridge.
The Pareora is mainly noted for its sea-run browns early in the season when river flows are elevated following the spring thaw. From December onwards the river suffers from low flows, made more extreme by water abstraction for public water supplies and irrigation. The best access is from the Pareora River Road that follows up the south side.