Generally there are few “Queens Chain” areas adjacent to ringplain waterways and anglers must obtain permission to cross private farmland. Landowners seldom deny access when asked.
New Plymouth’s closest river is best fished in its upper reaches, or in the lower river below the outlet of Mangorei power station. The Waiwhakaiho is subject to rapid rises in river level with heavy rainfall on the mountain. Access to the upper river is through farmland off Alfred or Egmont Roads, with bridge crossings at upper Lepper Road and SH3 (Egmont Village). Access to the lower river is from Devon Road (SH3) and Rimu Street, Merrilands Domain and William Street, which are all off Mangorei Road. At Rimu Street, head right at the fork in the road and walk along the gravel track at the end of the road. The pool at the end of the gravel track marks the upstream limit for all year fishing. Large brown trout in the upper reaches are best targeted with a dry fly during the evening rise. Early season bait fishing with creeper or worm is effective. The lower river fishes well in the mornings before the power station discharge begins. Fly, bait and spin fishing will all take fish.
This Waiwhakaiho River tributary provides challenging nymph and dry fly fishing for large browns up to 2.6kg. The Kaiauai above Alfred Road Bridge is catch and release only. Access is best through farmland on the true left-hand side of Alfred Road and from the Alfred Road Bridge. The upper Kaiauai is reached through farmland off Hill Road, which is off Albert Road. Nymph and dry fly methods work best. Bait fishing is banned above Alfred Road Bridge.
Located near the Waiwhakaiho River mouth in New Plymouth, this fishery is stocked with takeable rainbow trout in late September each year. Good-sized perch are also present which makes it an ideal place for junior anglers. Anglers have easy access to the entire lake margin. Proceed east along Devon Street East, through the lights at Fitzroy and into Clemow Road, which leads to the lake. All methods are effective, with the “bubble float and worm” being popular.
Located midway between New Plymouth and Inglewood on SH3, Lake Mangamahoe is the region’s most popular lake fishery. Brown trout up to 2.6kg and rainbows up to 2.25kg are present. Turn off SH3 onto a gravel road that runs along the western shoreline. Trout often cruise the lake margin in shallow water and a number of bays provide good fishing. Lake Mangamahoe is designated fly-fishing only with fly rod and fly line. Small (#16) waterboatman, damsel, midge or snail imitations suspended below a bushy dry fly are effective, as are Hamills Killer, Rabbit, Fuzzy-wuzzy and Red Setter patterns in sizes 8-12. Booby flies on a sinking line and short leader will also take fish.
Located near Okato in coastal Taranaki, the Stony has the best water quality of any ringplain fishery and was the first NZ river to be granted a Local Water Conservation Notice. The Stony trout fishery was decimated by an erosion event on the mountain in 1998, but the habitat has stabilised and the river now holds reasonable numbers of hatchery rainbow trout and a few wild browns. The entire river has been made catch and release for brown trout to help the population recover and bait fishing is banned as a result. The daily bag limit for rainbow trout has been set a two fish. The lower river is reached from the Surf Highway Bridge, through farmland off lower Kaihihi Road, or through farmland at the end of Brophy Road. The middle reaches are accessed via the Stony River walkway off upper Kaihihi Road and from the Mangatete Road Bridge. The upper river is reached from Wiremu Road bridge (off Saunders Road) or from the top of Saunders or Puniho Roads. Deleatidium mayflies are the most common invertebrate and nymph, or dry fly fishing during the evening rise is recommended.
Located 4km south of Inglewood on SH3, the Maketawa has good water quality and holds brown trout up to 2.5kg. The stream is reached from the SH3 and Junction Road bridges (difficult) and through farmland off upper and lower Norfolk Road. Creeper fishing is effective, but nymphing predominates with small hare and copper, halfback and caddis patterns favoured.
This shallow 21-hectare hydro reservoir is located 9km down Tariki Road, which turns off SH3 midway between Inglewood and Stratford. Good populations of hatchery rainbows, wild brown trout and perch are present. The abundant food supply means that trout can reach 3kg, while perch can reach 1.3 kg. Small veltic and toby spinners will take fish. Nymph and wetfly fishing are also effective. Lake Ratapiko is also a great place to take youngsters bait fishing for perch. The water ski and power boat club areas off Tariki Road provide good access to the lake margin. Permission to fish from other areas should be obtained from the appropriate landowner.
Running through the heart of Stratford, the Patea is one of the ringplain’s most productive brown trout fisheries. Good fishing is available within Stratford township, though the largest fish are present below Skinner Road. Large browns and a few rainbows are present in the river below Patea Dam. There is plenty of fishable water between McColl’s bridge and the dam face. The upper river is best fished from tracks within King Edward Park and along the walkway between Juliet Street and Swansea Road. The middle reaches are accessed from Skinner Road bridge and through farmland off Bird, Hungers and Waihapa Roads. The lower Patea is reached via Ball Road, which runs off SH3 just north of Kakaramea. All methods work well, with bait fishing predominating below the Patea Dam.
This scenic hydro lake east of Eltham is 46km long and contains plenty of perch that grow to 1kg. Few trout are present in the middle and lower reaches of the lake, but the upper reaches from Glen Nui up to the first river rapid can produce good conditioned browns and rainbows up to 2.25kg. Access to the upper reaches is via Anderson and Rawhitiroa Roads at Eltham. There is a good boat ramp at Glen Nui. The middle reaches are accessed via Tawhiti, Ararata and Tangahoe Valley Roads. The lower reaches via Ball Road off SH3. Perch can be caught by trolling with flies or spinners or fishing off weedbeds with a worm. Deep trolling is the preferred method for trout.
Located on the south-eastern slopes of Mt. Taranaki, the Waingongoro River is the most popular ringplain fishery. In its upper reaches, it is a clear mountain stream supporting 5-20 takeable browns per km. Below Eltham the Waingongoro is tannin stained, but supports the ringplain’s most productive rainbow trout fishery. Great for beginners. The upper river is accessed from the Cardiff walkway upstream of Opunake Road, from Finnerty and Cornwall Roads off SH3 and from road ends off Collingwood Street within Eltham township. Access to the middle and lower reaches is via a handful of road ends and bridge crossings off SH3, including Rogers Road off Dalziell Road, Skeet, Mawhitiwhiti and Normanby Roads and SH45. Nymph and dry fly fishing is best in the upper reaches. Bait fishing with creeper or worm is effective in the larger pools near Eltham. All methods work well in the middle and lower reaches, including spin fishing with black and gold tobys, z-spinners or veltics. Caddis imitations are recommended for the evening rise.
This stream provides high quality sight-fishing opportunities for large brown trout, particularly in the upper reaches. The Kapuni above Skeet Road Bridge is catch and release only. The upper river is reached from Palmer and Eltham Road bridges, or through farmland off Palmer Road. Kokiri and Normanby Road bridges provide access to the lower reaches. Fly fishing with small (#16) hare and copper or halfback nymphs, brown and green beetle imitations, Coch-y-Bondhu or caddis dry flies are effective. Bait fishing is banned in the Kapuni Catch and Release section.
Located 5km west of Manaia, the Kaupokonui and its largest tributary – the Mangawhero Stream, both contain good-sized brown trout, with the odd rainbow. Algal growth can be a problem in the lower river in summer. The Kaupokonui is fished from bridge crossings at Eltham, Skeet and Upper Glenn Roads and the Surf Highway, or through farmland off Manaia Road. The Mangawhero is best fished above and below the Skeet Road bridge, or by crossing the Kaupokonui a short distance upstream of the Surf Highway, or through farmland off Upper Glenn or Rama Roads. Nymph, dry fly, or bait fishing with creeper and worm are recommended.