Rural Living

Fishing in the Waikato

The Waikato region has some of the best fishing in New Zealand, with plenty of rivers and lakes filled with trout and West Coast harbours home to plenty of fish species, there is plenty of fishing opportunities.

Coastal Fishing in Waikato, NZ

Home to some of New Zealand’s most rugged coastline, the Waikato region’s West Coast is characterised by windswept black sand beaches and famed for its idyllic harbours and secluded inlets.

Fishing at Raglan, Raglan, NZ

Fishing in Raglan

Head to Raglan or nearby Kawhia, both popular North Island attractions, and you’ll find some great secluded spots where you can enjoy a spot of fishing away from the hustle and bustle of civilisation.

Sea fishing

If it’s game or deep sea fish you’re after, charter a boat and head to deep water in search of the big one. Kawhia and Raglan fishing charters are run by experts and are a good way of ensuring you’ll come home with a catch.

Autumn and winter are the best times to catch fish such as hapuka while, when the water warms up, kingfish are more easily hooked. From January to March the often-elusive albacore and striped and black marlin are running.

Harbour fishing

Fishing off Raglan Wharf, Raglan, NZ

Fishing off Raglan Wharf

Back in Raglan Harbour, grey mullet, parore (black snapper) and snapper are among the most common species. Near the bar and heads you’ll find trevally, kingfish and stingray.

From the Raglan wharf and jetty you can catch sprats and, on an incoming tide, kahawai, or try your luck surfcasting off a rugged beach or dragging a line behind a kayak; there are plenty of options and if you don’t catch anything, the local Raglan Fish Shop at the Raglan Wharf boasts plenty of fresh fish to go around.

The Port Waikato Harbour also provides plenty of great fishing spots including from the Wharf, and surfcasting from the beach.

Netting - flounder

In Kawhia, a 90-minute drive from Raglan, netting for flounder is popular and something of a tradition. There are plenty of the flat fish around the tidal estuaries and mudflats. Catching them can be an exercise in patience, but get them to the dinner table and you’ll realise it’s worth it.

Whitebait are also popular: visitors are welcome to join the locals fishing for the delicacy during the August – November season.

Time it right and you’ll see locals out in force gathering shellfish at low tide – snorkelling or diving for paua, rock lobster, kina (sea urchin) and green lipped mussels or digging for Pipi and Tuatua, both of which are plentiful in most western coastal areas of New Zealand and all gourmet delights around here. Visitors can sample these treats at cafes and restaurants dotted along the coast, and at food festivals such as the Kawhia Kai Festival which is helf on Waitangi weekend each year.

There is also plenty of things to do in Raglan, Kawhia and other West Coast towns once you’ve fished to your heart’s content.

Trout fishing

The Waikato region’s many lakes and rivers boast an extensive range of trout fishing opportunities for shore and boat-based anglers.

There’s no better place to go trout fishing, New Zealand-style. The sought-after brown and rainbow trout are plentiful in the Waikato River - New Zealand’s longest river – and dragging a line behind a boat anywhere along it is a pretty good way to ensure a catch. The fishing is said to be best in winter due to the high water clarity.

There are plenty of rivers and spring-fed streams around the Waikato region where fly fishing is permitted. Brown trout migrate into many of them, while rainbow trout are present year-round.

The Waipa River is another popular spot, with dawn or dusk the best times to fish. Anglers here are sure to net a good catch, with trophy trout relatively common.


Whitebaiting is also popular around the Waikato region. People have been netting the delicacy in the area’s waters for decades and on.any given day during whitebait season you’ll see people scattered along the river - from Port Waikato in the North and everywhere in between

When the whitebait are running there’s no better place to go fishing in New Zealand.

Fishing permits are needed prior to heading out on your fishing expedition, and guided fishing tours are available throughout the region.

For more information on permits, visit