The Waikato River has an abundant supply of brown trout, which migrate upriver into the Waipa tributary and into the Lower Waihou and Whanganui rivers. In comparison, rainbow trout are resident all year round in these rivers. They are greedy fish and will bite at anything, making them a pretty easy catch.
The South Waikato District has a host of spring-fed streams that flow into rivers like the Waipa and Waihou. The Waipa is one of the most important fisheries in this region with a high brown trout population. The Waihou has been surveyed during a drift-dive showing results of around 400 legal fish per kilometre in the headwaters.
Lake Arapuni is one of the most popular fishing spots in the Waikato region. Its rainbow trout stocks provide anglers with a good catch rate. At the southern end of the lake, popular locations include:
- below the Waipapa Dam
- the mouth of the Tumai Stream (track from the eastern side of the Waipapa Dam).
- the Mangawhio Stream (track from the boat ramp located one kilometre downstream from the Waipapa Dam).
At the northern end of the lake, several beaches can be accessed from Landing Road. Many anglers fish in the vicinity of the Arapuni and Waipapa Dams. There are five boat ramps located around the lake; the most popular being Jones Landing and Arapuni Landing at the northern end.
This lake is very scenic and provides a high catch rate, although the trout tend to be a little smaller than those caught in Arapuni and Karapiro. The only boat ramp is found next to Waipapa Road (Te Awamutu-Mangakino). Shore based anglers favour the mouth of the Waipapa River.
This stream is fed soley by springs located in the plantations beyond Tokoroa, running past Putāruru into Lake Karapiro. Below the waterfall on the Putāruru-Arapuni Road, anglers can look forward to a good spawning run of large trout from Lake Karapiro in Autumn. Access to the stream is across farmland either via the Putāruru-Arapuni Road, State Highway 1, Horahora Road or from Hildreth Road (please remember to obtain the landowners permission). Above the falls, a resident population of brown and rainbow trout provide good fishing with access available from Putāruru-Arapuni Road and Waotu Road.
Little Waipa Stream
This large spring fed stream near Putāruru has an abundant trout population and can be accessed from Arapuni, Pearsons, or Old Taupō Roads. Good water that is rarely fished can also be reached across private farmland from Huihuitaha Road. Crystal clear water with good aquatic weed coverage makes this a challenging stream to fish.
Most fishing is carried out in the upper reaches above Okoroire where the Waihou is very clear. This section of the river sees relatively high numbers of trout, although the trout themselves tend to be on the small size. Access is obtained from the Hamilton/Rotorua highway, Whites Road (road between SH5 and SH1), and at Okoroire behind the Hotel.
This stream is an upper tributary of the Waihou and has about 20 kilometres of fishable water. This is a popular river with a high catch rate. Three tributaries of the Waiomou the Omahine, Rapurapu, and the Kakahu Streams offer good small stream fly fishing. Fishing spots can be accessed off the Rapurapu, Omahine, and Waiomou Roads which are reached from either the Hamilton/Tauranga or Hamilton/Rotorua highways.
The Waimakariri is a large spring fed stream which flows north from the Kaimai Ranges to meet the Waihou River just south of the Okoroire Falls. This river is renowned for its high catch rate of smallish trout, however, larger trout can be caught in the upper reaches. It is possibly one of the best dry fly fishing streams in the region and can be accessed off the Tīrau/Rotorua highway and Waimakariri Road.