Check out: https://iloveflyfishing.kiwi/wilderness-belly-boating/ The video is of a later trip. I’m re-posting this blog from an earlier website, it’s timely, as there’s some great and interesting fishing to be had up the Waipapa River. It’s really only accessible from the road end up to the first waterfall by using a belly boat or similar. Having said that you can get access to the upper reaches by going overland, with some difficulty though.
We found that all methods of fishing worked whether using a wet fly, dry fly dropper or casting a dry fly to rising fish. At the road end I saw there were a lot of Rudd of all sizes and noting this my first Brown fell for a small brown/orange woolly bugger. From the bridge it’s a gentle paddle of around four ~ five hours heading up stream against a slow current to the waterfall with a lot of fishing on the way. The main river channel is reasonably deep with large shallow weed beds on the sides. Great places to cast a dry fly dropper. There are a few places that you can go ashore however check first as they can be quite soft.
Coming back down stream is as fast or slow as you want to make it. For us, as it was with the current and we had had a reasonable day, it was maybe one ~ one and a half hours. On the way upstream the water became noticeably cooler and the fish activity certainly increased with much more surface action. Between the four of us, on this trip, we landed nearly thirty fish with countless missed soft takes. The fish weren’t what you would call big but they were certainly in great condition. Of the fish only two were Browns, the best being 3.5lb, with the rest being very strong Rainbows. It was interesting to see that there were definite ‘feeding’ areas and there have proved to be the same on subsequent trips. I will add that on a subsequent trip, warmer weather – lake warming up, the deep channel immediately below the waterfall was very productive with larger fish.
Belly boating on the Waipapa River is always a really great days fishing. To be gently moving amongst rising fish surrounded by stunning scenery with steep sides of native forest is truly great. I will say that I have fished it a few times now and every time it’s been a great experience, one that I always look forward to with great anticipation. For it’s proximity to Auckland, given the type of fishing, it is unique so add it to your list of places to fish.