Lake Karapiro is the most accessible of the three hydro lakes with good public access from State Highway 1, five public boat ramps, and extensive walking tracks. 

The upper reaches of Karapiro provide the main trophy fishery for the Auckland/Waikato Region – rainbows average 2kg, brown trout nearly 4kg.  Fish of double figures (10lb+) are not uncommon.  During October/November, the fishing can be hot, especially after dark, as big fish feed voraciously on smelt. Over the summer months there is often a massive caddis fly rise in the evenings and again the fishing in the upper reaches can be spectacular.

Access for shore based anglers can be obtained from Horahora Road. The stretch of water from the Little Waipa upstream to the tailrace can be very productive, especially for the evening rise.  The mouths of the Pokaiwhenua and Little Waipa Streams are popular with anglers, although weed can be a problem at the latter.  Spawning fish move up into the Pokaiwhenua Stream and the lower reaches, downstream from the falls on Arapuni Road, can provide excellent river fishing on large lake-run trout.

Trolling is popular in the main-body of Karapiro.  The boat ramp at the mouth of the Little Waipa Stream is recommended as it provides good access to the best fishing water.  Generally the best fishing is upstream but it is an offence to fish from a boat in the tailrace (upstream from the white marker post) unless the boat is securely anchored.

All springs, rivers and streams entering Lake Karapiro are closed to fishing except for the Waikato River, Pokaiwhenua and Little Waipa steams. The spillway and tailrace of the Arapuni Dam are both open to fishing (see section on Arapuni Dam walkways). 

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