Hawke's Bay River Report

  • Hawke's Bay
  • 25/09/2023

Hawke's Bay River Report

Local Fishing Guide Dave Hern has been out & about around Hawke's Bay scouting out the local river conditions before the new season kicks off. Here's his report:


It was with a fair bit of worry that I started my annual September Sight Fishing surveys of most of the local Trout Rivers and Streams.

My expectation was that Cyclone Gabriel has critically damaged our Trout population. Let’s be realistic, with record flood levels and massive amounts of debris charging down our waterways, I could not see that many fish could have survived.

Add to that 6 months of Silty dirty water and I was preparing for yet another major obstacle to my Guiding Business.

What with Covid preventing all of international clients (80% of my clients) and then the Cyclone with 6 months of no local fishing, I was thinking about a change of job.

First waterway was the Tukipo River. Visibility was limited to about 60 cm but to my delight, as soon as I walked to the edge below the Ashcott Road Bridge I could see 2 fish. Encouraging is not really the correct term, it was more relief and surprise that here were a couple of 2lb trout feeding at the edge of the run in what appeared to be reasonable condition. Now I am incentivised to walk further.

From the Ashcott road bridge to the junction of the Maharakeke, I spotted 11 Trout in about 1 kilometre.

Now I am on a mission. Over the next few days I visited most of the local public access points that were still open and saw fish within 200 metres at every stop. Now my depression has pleasantly subsided and been replaced with a sense of anticipation.

Over the next couple of weeks, I have visited the Tukipo River, The Maharakeke, the Manganuku, Black Creek, Cochrane’s Creek, the Makaratu Stream. At all public access points and I saw Trout at every visit. Not Big Fish and not the usual numbers but more than enough to know that Anglers will have Fish to Fish to. And that is only a few local streams, so time to check further afield.

On my visit to the Ngarororo at the Mareakakaho access, I saw several fish, but more importantly, met a couple of Anglers that had been upstream for a few Kilometres, and they had been having good success, swinging wets in the current water and Nymphing along the edges and the drop-offs.

I decided to go further up so a good drive found me up at Whana Whana. A bit of a walk up to the junction of the Ohara and although the water was a bit coloured, there were still a few fish to be spotted.

Now on the way home I took another detour and went over the new bridge at Taradale and up to where the old Puketapu Bridge used to be. After climbing over some debris and standing trying to comprehend the destruction and power of Mother Nature, I was once again surprised to see a couple of smaller fish of about a pound, in the first run above where the bridge used to be.

The Tuki Tuki and Waipawa were now clear so time to check my back yard.

Now I am a Happy Fishing Guide. I had been informed by some anglers that the lower Tuki Tuki has been fishing well, and seeing all the posts on social media of anglers having good success, I decided to go to Patangata and Tamamu access points. Good numbers of 2 to 3lb fish in all the usual types of water.  More fish below and above the Waipukurau Bridge.

Enough of all this walking and Spotting, time to go for a fish. A morning on the River with a good mate is hard to beat, but when you throw in good numbers of fish caught and a Great lunch at the Patangata Pub, I really am in a much improved mind set and really looking forward to my first clients early October. The Fish that Robbie and I caught were all sighted Fish ranging between 2 and 3.5lb. Size #16 Beaded Pheasant Tail Nymphs worked well but we try different Nymphs,and caught fish on Orange Beaded Nymphs, Hare and Copper, Flashbacks and even a couple on Mayfly dries.

Driving around you will find that many of the Public access Points are either no longer there or are currently blocked off because of the damage caused by the Cyclone.

The most exciting part of my travels other than the fact that there are remarkably still fish in our Rivers, is that we will all be finding new favourite pools and sections of Water, because the changes in our River Beds and the River Structure have changed dramatically. Exciting times for the new season ahead.

Tight Lines,

Dave Hern

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