Reel Life January 2022
You are Free!! Here are our top picks for driving south.
Freedom Day has come at last and as a special treat, we have made a list of the top picks for fishing if you are driving south for the summer holidays.
We normally keep some of these streams to ourselves but thought after doing it tough for the nation, you Aucklanders deserve a reward.
If you have not been stuck in Auckland for 120 days, please stop reading here.
- Kaniwhaniwha is a great early summer fly fishing stream. An easy stop on the way to Raglan with great hiking trails.
Access: Karamu walkway, Quarry Road, Nikau Walkway.
- Waihou River is no secret but has lots of fish and is just off State Highway 1 if you are driving south.
Access: Blue Springs walkway.
- Waipapa River has great fish numbers but is only for the adventurous anglers, the access across the Pāmu Farm (Land Corp) is a bit of a walk but worth it. Be prepared for a forest of blackberries and plenty of fish.Access: Drum Bridge Road turn right 1.75km down Ranginui Road from Waipapap Road and follow the 4wd track to the river or walk in, Land Corp access is about 6km from Waipapa Road on Ranginui Road look for the access sign and instructions for entry.
- Awakino River is a classic fly fishing stream with easy access.
Access: Gribbon Road look for the Fish & Game access signs.
- Ongarue River is a perfect spot to have a North Island small stream experience you are not going to forget. Stay at the Black Fern Lodge and fish out the back door. There is also plenty of camping at Piropiro Flats along the Timber Trail.Access: Ongarue Stream Road and please check the Walking Access page or ask permission if you are unsure of legal access.
- Whanganui/Whakapapa Rivers are a sure bet for the rest of the summer, and you can’t go wrong basing yourself in Kakahi or Owhango.Access: Taumarunui Holiday Park, Piriaka Power Station, Pukehou Road, Te Rena Road, Stone Jug Road and Ohinetonga Road.
Where not to fish
Giving advice on where not to fish is a bit backwards but we find that anglers going on vacation often make the same mistakes every year and then wonder why they never catch fish.
The most common complaint we get from holiday goers sounds something like this “why can’t I catch fish in the Ohinemuri River on my way to Waihi Beach?”.
The answer is heat, and although the Ohinemuri was historically cool enough to hold fish into December, the absence of stream shading due to a lack of fencing on its tributaries has heated up some of the small streams by 4°C.
This unfortunately means the trout move to a higher elevation in October or November.
Fish also move out of the Waikato River during the same time of year for the same reason.
But don’t worry the fish are still around and in the case of the Ohinemuri, they are in the cool tributaries like the upper Waitawheta (Deam Road or Franklin Road).
So, if you stop in at a local trout stream and it's comfortable to swim in don’t bother fishing, look for a cooler tributary with good shade to take a cast.
Adam Daniel, Auckland Waikato Fish & Game.