The crystal clear waters that flow through the remote native bush, coupled with the promise of up to 3kg brown and rainbow trout, has anglers returning year after year.
From trophy fishing in Lake Otamangakau to sight fishing for large trout in smaller streams and rivers, Ruapehu caters to all types of anglers. With secluded and sparsely trafficked locations, Ruapehu has a multitude of tranquil waterways to fish. The most well known for good fishing include the Whanganui River, Whakapapa River, Manganui o te Ao River, Mangawhero River, Retaruke River, Ongarue River, and the Tokiharu and Waitaiki Streams. You can get more information on the region's best fishing spots by contacting one of the local I-sites.
The fishing season runs from 1st October through to May, though selected public areas such as the Ruatiti Domain (Manganui o te Ao river) and parts of the Mangawhero River are open year round. Most spawning rivers are closed between fishing seasons.
Visitors who want to go freshwater fishing will need a licence from Fish and Game New Zealand. Local guides are readily available to not only show visitors their favourite spots, but will also assist with licences and obtaining permission to cross private land where required. Sometimes a familiar face is all it takes!
Book a guided fly fishing tour with an expert, contact Blazing Paddles
The Manganui-o-te-ao River
A favourite among local and returning anglers, the Manganui-o-te-ao River is a heritage river rich in beautiful native scenery. Flowing through native bush and local farmland this river offers diversity of fishable waters with its high water quality, large boulders, overhanging bush, deep pools and papa ledges. It is recommended only experienced anglers fish this river as the waters are fast flowing and there are many obstacles. A common spot on the Manganui-o-te-ao is the Ruatiti Domain, located 22kms west from Ohakune. This area is open year round for fishing and also have free camping facilities available.
The Whanganui River
In a remote backcountry setting, the Whanganui River and its tributaries provide top quality Brown and Rainbow trout fishing for intermediate to advanced anglers. It’s waters being in the Tongariro National Park, running through native forest, over shingle and stone beds with deep pools and small rapids. The waters eventually exit into the Tasman Sea, through the city of Whanganui. The water is generally clean, some times with a slight tinge of colour which can assist in fishing as it is easier to approach trout without spooking them.
The upper and middle reaches of the Ongarue River provide excellent fly fishing waters. It’s clear waters run over a gravel and stone bed, with bankside vegetation providing great trout habitation. The river is small in size allowing easy movement up and downstream.
The Whakapapa River, with its extremely clear waters and turbulent rapids, begin on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu before eventually joining on to the Whanganui River near Kakahi. The upper reaches of this river are for the more experienced angler, the depth of the waters is deceiving and the current a lot stronger than it looks. The lower areas of the river are easier to navigate and most popular for fishing enthusiast with the fish count a lot higher than the upper sections of the river.
The Mangawhero River
The Mangawhero River begins on the western banks of Mt Ruapehu and runs through the township of Ohakune before eventually connecting with the Whangaehu River. The upper Mangawhero contains mostly Brown Trout from 1.5 kgs and access can be found from public land within Ohakune itself and off Burns Street. During spawning season the Mangawhero is closed from the Waimarino Golf Club Bridge.
Tokiahuru and Waitaiki Streams
Found in the Karioi State Forest, a short drive from Ohakune township on Mt Ruapehu's southern slopes. These streams are characterized by clear, cold, fast water over graveled bottom with springs in the headwaters and vegetation to hold back the rainfall. It is great to keep in mind that the Tokiahuru and Waitaiki Streams can still been fished when other locations are in spate and discoloured by heavy rain.
The Tongariro River at the southern end of Lake Taupo is a short drive from most towns and villages in the Ruapehu region and is considered one of the best trout fishing rivers in the world.