Fly Fishing in the Ruapehu Region

Ruapehu and the surrounding area boast world-class wilderness fishing.

Ruapehu and the surrounding area boast world-class wilderness fishing. With it’s crystal clear waters flowing through remote native bush, Anglers return year after year as the secluded locations of the local fisheries allow the fishing enthusiast to escape from it all.

The fly-fishing season runs from 1st October through to May, though selected public areas such as the Ruatiti Domain (manganui-o-teao river) and parts of the Mangawhero River are open year round. Most spawning rivers are closed between fly-fishing seasons.

Brown and Rainbow Trout are abundant in the Ruapehu reigion, the average size starting from 1.5 to 2.5kgs.

Some river systems are located on private land, typically farmland, so owners will need to be contacted for permission. It is very rare that access is denied on private properties. Always leave gates as you find them, don’t park vehicles that obstruct gateways and do not interfere with livestock, crops or machinery.

A license needs to be purchased to any local or visiting angler. These are available at TCB Ski, Board & Bike –Ohakune, The Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park or can be purchased online at

Fly-Fishing Spots

The Manganui-o-tea-o River 

A favourite among local and returning anglers, the Manganui-o-tea-o 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-tea-o 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.

Ongarue River

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.

Whakapapa River

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 Ruapehus 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.