The northern Hawke's Bay area offers some spectacular fishing in a variety of settings and locations most of which are located no more than an hour from Hawke's Bay's main centres.


Northern Hawke's Bay is made up largely of rolling farm land and forestry with large areas of scrub and native bush. The main source for the rivers of this area is the Maungaharuru Range. The upper reaches of most rivers are often quite steep and in places flow through deep gorges.

The river beds higher up in the catchment consist of large boulders and rocks which generally decrease in size as the riven; flow closer to the sea. During average flows most of the rivers are easily waded however, deep pools, large boulders and gorges can make some sections of river difficult to navigate.

These rivers rarely change course even after large floods, so the pools and runs that you fish today will probably be there next season. The area also hosts large lakes with Tutira and Waikopiro being the more popular ones due to their proximity to State Highway 2. Much of the area around these two lakes is managed by the Department of Conservation, Hawke's Bay Regional Council or Fish and Game. Therefore there is plenty of public access for fishing, camping and scenic walks. For more information on the trout fisheries of Hawke's Bay please call the Hawke's Bay Region office (Ph: 06 844 2460).

General Fisheries Information


The Aropaoanui River flows through a valley of forestry for about 4km before it opens out into flat farm land and continues for another 3km before reaching the sea. From approximately 250m upstream of the Aropaoanui Road Bridge, marginal strip runs up the river on the true right. The upper Aropaoanui is closed during the winter season but is open all season below the landmark pole which is situated opposite Wareham Road.

The Waikoau River flows off the Maungaharuru Range in a south eastward direction passing to the south of Lake Tutira. It runs through a mixture of farm, scrub and forestry before it meanders under State Highway 2 and meets up with the Tararere Stream and forms the Aropaoanui River. This river is closed during the winter season (1 July-30 Sept).

These rivers mainly hold rainbow trout but the odd brownie is also present. Fish in the lower reaches average 0.5kg with trout above the highway being much better conditioned and around the 1.5kg mark, with some going much larger than this. As this river catchment is relatively small we would encourage catch and release.

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The Esk River flows from the southeast end of the Maungaharuru Range through what is mainly forestry and scrub land. It then opens up to farm land as it nears State Highway 5 and flows southward. The river then takes an eastward bend with forestry on the true left and a mixture of farmland, vineyards and orchards on the true right and continues its flow parallel to the main road before passing under the State Highway 2 road bridge and out to sea. The Esk holds healthy numbers of trout with rainbows being more frequently caught. The trout average around 1kg and are usually in excellent condition. However, this river has been known to produce some double figure fish! Sea run brown trout can also be targeted as they re-enter the river from the sea following the seasonal whitebait runs from August until October. Upstream of the Waipunga Road bridge is closed during the winter season (1 July-30 Sept) however is open below this all year round.

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Lake Titira and Waikopiro

These lakes are situated along side State Highway 2 approximately 45 minutes north of Napier. Lake Tutira is approximately l 78ha in size and is separated from Waikopiro (3ha) by a causeway at the southern end. The vehicle track that leads off the main road and between the lakes provides great access for parking, camping, fishing and access to a walking track that provides good access around the eastern side of Tutira. Off the main road on the western side there is a good boat ramp and at the northern end there is good parking and access to an open shoreline. No power boats are permitted on this lake and the lake is a Wildlife Refuge.

Both brown and rainbow trout can be found in the lakes which are stocked with Tarawera sourced fish annually. These fish grow quickly during the summer and provide excellent sport to both shore based and rowboat trolling anglers. Tagged trout are released annually in the lake. To find out details of your fish and to help us monitor the fishery please send in the tag to Fish and Game along with the details of the fish. There is a form that you can fill out and send in with your tag, this can be downloaded from our webpage under Lake Tutira on our Fishing page. Every tag returned puts you in the draw to win a free fishing licence for the following season. Fishing the lake is most successful during winter using all methods. When the lake warms up over summer getting down deep into the cooler water increases success, so a dingy or kayak is handy to get out to the deeper, colder water. Trout caught from the lake average 1.5kg with a number of fish growing much larger than this. The lake is open to fishing all year round, has a bag limit of 4 and a minimum size limit of 350mm. Lake Opouahi is another of the regions lakes and is located approximately 10km from the Tutira store on Pohokura Road. The Lake is situated in a steep valley surrounded in native bush which means fishing from the shore is near impossible so anglers arc best to take a kayak or fish from the wharf.

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Season Length

Aropaoanui River downstream of landmark pole opposite Wareham Road -All Year
Aropaoanui River upstream of land mark pole and all tributaries - 1 Oct- 30 Jun
Esk River downstream of Waipunga Road Bridge -All year
Esk River upstream of the Waipunga Road Bridge and all tributaries - 1 Oct- 30 Jun
Waikoau River and tributaries - 1 Oct- 30 Jun
Lake Tutira/Waikopiro - All Year

Bag Limit

Arapaoanui River: 2
Esk River: 1
Waikoau River: 2
Lake Tutira/Waikopiro: 4

Fish Length

Esk River above Waipunga Road Bridge - 550mm maximum
Lake Tutira/Waikopiro - 350mm minimum

Northern Hawke's Bay Access Points

To view the access map and brochure click on Northern Hawke's Bay.

Lake Tutira Access Points1 - Acc…