Notable Waters: Lake Tutira and the Tukituki River
This sun-drenched region embraces a number of significant rivers flowing east from the Kaimanawa and Kaweka Ranges.
These are magnificent mountain rivers, which bubble along over shingle beds. The water is clear enough to see big rainbows lying in deep runnels and browns swinging to and fro in order to intercept drifting nymphs. Sight fishing during the evening rise on these superb rivers is a singular pleasure.
The Tukituki River along with its tributaries, is a major source of sports fishing. The trout average 1.5 kg. and have a reputation as frenzied fighters, peeling line off the reel at a furious rate. The river flows down to Hawke’s Bay through an attractive landscape of summer-browned hills where willow-lined banks offer the only shade. Rainbows can be tempted with a dry fly or nymph during the day but they vigorously resist capture. The Waipawa and Makaroro rivers contain rainbows and browns averaging 1 kg. and browns over 4 kg. are taken regularly.
The Ngaruroro, Tutaekuri and Mohaka rivers are nationally rated as top headwater fisheries and offer anglers great trophy trout opportunities with relatively easy road access. The mighty Mohaka is a long, powerful waterway that penetrates deep, boulder-strewn gorges, which are often inaccessible to the angler. Very large brown trout specimens inhabit the upper reaches and rainbows predominate over many kilometres of fishable water further downstream. The Ripia River holds both trout species averaging 1 kg. with much larger fish often taken.
Lake Tutira nestles between hills on the Napier-Wairoa highway. It is a serene sanctuary for birds and a magical mecca for keen anglers of all ages. Restocking takes place each year using fingerling rainbows from the Greenmeadows Hatchery as well as browns and sometimes tiger trout (brown-brook trout crosses). The Kuripapango Lakes on the Napier-Taihape road have good quality brown trout originally sourced from Loch Leven in Scotland. These superb lake fish are renowned for their free-rising characteristics.
Guided wilderness fishing by helicopter, raft or 4WD vehicle is available in Napier, Hastings and Havelock North.