Fishing and Hunting in the Ruapehu
Ruapehu rivers provide very productive fly fishing, perhaps because the runoff from the snow and glaciers of Mt Ruapehu creates fast-running rivers with such crystal clear waters.
The Manganui O Te Ao. Commonly considered to be the best in the region, the Manganui O Te Ao draws anglers from far and wide. It is rated as 1 of 9 nationally important North Island fisheries, being of outstanding scenic and recreational value. Rising on the western slopes of Mt Ruapehu, it meets the Whanganui River 13 km above Pipiriki.
The river’s pure water, abundant insect life, good boulder cover, deep pools and overhanging bush all contribute to producing both brown and rainbow trout of impressive sizes, from 1.5 kg to over 3.5kg. The river also supports rare blue duck (Whio) which attract birders from around the world.
There is a variety of water to fish from – pools, runs and rapids. All fishing methods are popular.
Access is for 15 km through the scenic Ruatiti Valley via Ruatiti Road: Makakahi, Ruatiti and Pukekaha Rds branch to the lower, middle and upper reaches of the river. River access and a free camping ground can be found at the Ruatiti Domain, where there is also a large sign showing the various property boundaries. Permission must be sought to cross private land, (see also attached map.) Note that cellphone coverage in the Ruatiti Valley is limited so ring before you get there.
The Mangawhero River rises high on Mt Ruapehu in the forests of the Tongariro National Park. It hurtles down the mountain to Ohakune then onwards for 70 km. The upper Mangawhero contains mostly brown trout, now naturally bred and wild. While the average is 1.5kg, there are much larger fish to be had in the less accessible places.
Once the river leaves the Tongariro National Park it is much more accessible, for about 10 km through gently descending farmland until it leaves the Central Plateau.
Access to the upper river is from Burns St, Old Mangarewa Rd, Raetithi –Ohakune Road (golf course bridge – Bridge 401) and from Pakihi Rd.
Note: Mangawhero river closes for the spawning season above the golf course bridge. Below that is open all year.
Food in the early season consists of cased caddis, progressing to various species of mayfly nymphs until Dec when the fish gorge on brown and green beetle. As on most of the Central Plateau rivers, aquatic insects emerge at or just before dusk, so the evening rise will give best results. The exception to this is the December beetle feast when fish can be seen rising at all times.
Tokiahuru and Waitaki Streams. Start in the Karioi Forest on Mt Ruapehu’s southern slopes.
Taonui Stream: Spring fed stream rises between Ohakune and Horopito, total length 8 km. Brown trout, averaging 2kg. Access from SH49A, Tohunga Rd and Old Mangarewa Rd near the confluence of Toanui and Mangawhero. All fishing methods effective.
Lahar Lake, Horopito: Rainbow trout of up to 2 kgs. Open all year for fishing. Off SH 4 at Matapuna Rd, past Smash Palace and follow the gravel road for 2 km until the Lahar Farm sign, turn right and drive up to Lahar Farm.
Raetihi Hydro Dam – also a wildlife sanctuary. Brown and rainbow trout 1-2.5 kgs. 2 km down Ruatiti Rd, turn right onto middle Rd. About 750m turn left onto a track, there is parking for only 1-2 vehicles.
For further advice ask your accommodation provider.
The Department of Conservation maintains a selection of hunting grounds around the Ruapehu and Tongariro regions including Tongariro National Park, Whanganui National Park, Kaimanawa Forest Park, Erua Forest and Lake Taupo Lakeshore Reserve. Many of these are less than an hour’s drive from Ohakune and the high number of logging tracks in the area make this one of the most accessible regions for landing large trophy animals in the North Island.
Herds of wild deer, pigs and goats can be found across the region and the Kaimanawa Forest Park is home to the only wild herd of sika deer in the southern hemisphere. Ducks and geese can be found concentrated around the Waimarino area and pheasant and quail can be found in the coastal areas around Whanganui, around an hour and a half from Ohakune.
A permit is required by anyone using a rifle or bow to hunt on land managed by the Department of Conservation. Permits are free and can be obtained online or from the Department of Conservation's Taupo-nui-a-Tia or Ruapehu area offices. For the restricted areas of Opepe Scenic and Historic Reserves, Pukepoto Ecological Area and Waituhi/Kuratau Scenic Reserve permits must be obtained from the area offices as these are not available online. Hunters are allowed to take hunting dogs (under permit) into selected reserves but must observe DOC rules. Details of permits and regulations as well as more information on hunting in the Ohakune region can be found on the DOC website.