Prospecting a new River, Discovering the Awatere

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    Just back from a trip to the Awatere.

    I went over hill, round bend, cross bridge and down track and found myself on the banks of the Awatere. The first spot proved unproductive, so we moved further upstream.

    First pool produced a small trout for myself and my mate, a few more sightings. Then it was not long before my mate hooked and landed a ugly 3-4lb brown. Sadly that was the highlight of the trip, we fished much further upstream but only caught a couple more small ones.

    So maybe 1 small trout for every kilometer we fished. Lots of nice looking water, although could have been a little clearer.

    Want to spend more time exploring the lower reaches, and would love to try the far upper reaches also one day.


    With heavy rain due today, I decided to head out last night for a evening spin fish on the mighty Awatere.  Arrived around 7pm and quickly selected a couple of larger lures. The river had cleared up quite nicely, maybe even clearer then before the flood.

    Had one trout follow my lure in the first, just a dark glimpse but looked around 2lb.  Things got interesting further upstream, at the bottom of quite a fast rapid had a strike and landed a small trout. My biggest one from the Awatere so far.

    Nearly ever second cast into the rapid either got a follow or strike. Had another small trout on which spat the hook on its second jump. In that rapid was at least two trout over 1kg. All up I managed to get interest from 7 different fish. There might have been more, but the lure kept on snagging slime which felt a bit like a strike.

    Further upstream I got the occasional follow, strike and one more landing but the fish were typically small.  I fished the same section earlier with the fly rod and only saw a single flounder.

    Also looks like I have a bit of competition on the Awatere, saw these in the soft sand. Any of you gear freaks can identify the type of boots? My guess is gumboots.

    The local farmers irrigate quite heavily from the Awatere, the minimal flow is enough to keep a good flow but they do have a habit of digging channels to bring water to their pumps. These channels do spread out the water making the main channel shallower and more braided then it otherwise would be. They probably do not have a massive impact, but I did see more trout when all the water was going down the single channel….

    The photo below shows where two channels have been dug to divert the flow towards the pumps.


    take a spade or some mates and try close the channels back up


    There are dozens of them, not worth closing them and pissing off the farmers. The floods would close them anyway. Its legal within their resource consent, in the perfect river they would not be there but the farmers need the water and the minimal flow is reasonable. Just another challenge to trout fishing there.

    The Awatere got up to 67 cubics during the flood, now its down to 30. Would probably be under 7 by next weekend. The Wairau peaked at 937 cubic which is a decent size flood.


    Other fish and rivers have taken my attention over the last few weeks but the Awatere was not out of my mind, although it was brown the last time I crossed her.

    This evening I crossed Weld Pass and soon found myself on the banks of the Awatere, conditions were looking good. Before leaving home I tied my Goldfish back on and it was quickly swimming across and down current. Was not long before I saw a small trout follow it in.

    It was all action in the next rapid, as a nice trout could not resist eating the scared little goldfish. The trout was quickly landed, I did not have my weigh net, but I estimated it to weigh a good 5lb. My biggest from the Awatere so far, looked like it spent a bit of time out at sea. Next rapid upstream produced a 1lb fish and then a even smaller one. Now it was getting dark so I had to return to the car.

    So not a bad result for a hour or so fishing, on Saturday I spent 5-6 hours fly fishing on the Wairau, a river with a much better reputation and I only saw a single trout!

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