Raft Fish New Zealand was registered in 2016.
Behind the new company is 30 years of rafting experience.
Owner, Deon Warren, has lived in the area and worked as a rafting guide, on his own account and in association with Mountain Valley Lodge, since 1990.
The Mohaka and Waipunga contain several stretches that will appeal to those primarily interested drifting through serene surroundings, listening to birdsong and the sound of the river, but also running some rapids to add to the experience – Grade 2 water with occasional Grade 3.
The middle section of the lower river provides just the opposite.
There is over 20 km of Grade 3 to 5 rapids, combining great scenery with challenging white water.
Raft Fish NZ offers day trips on Grade 3 water with take-out points either at the Department of Conservation’s Everett's campsite or further downstream at the confluence of the Mohaka and Te Hoe Rivers.
The Mohaka and its tributaries contain both rainbow and brown trout which reach up to 10 lb or more on occasion. More typically, fish are in the 4 to 6 lb range but they are all strong resident fish due to their fast-flowing river habitat. Fish can be spotted in slower stretches but in faster water blind fishing potential lies is the usual technique.
A Fish & Game New Zealand licence is required: this allows fishing throughout New Zealand apart from the Taupo region for which a separate Department of Conservation license is needed.
Fly and spin fishing are the permitted methods. Fly fishers can choose between traditional nymphing, Czech nymphing or, in the deeper pools, wet lining with streamer flies. 5 or 6 wt rods are typically used.
The Mohaka is open all year but tributaries open on 1 October and close on 30 June. (Refer to the current F&GNZ Sports Fishing Regulations, Hawke's Bay Region.)
Trips can be organised to suit your preferences and the time available. You can choose from trips ranging from a half day to 10 days, or somewhere in between. The highest point on the Mohaka headwaters with road access for our rafts is the hot spring area at Mangatutu.
The Waipunga can be rafted from the Waipunga Falls to its confluence with the Mohaka.
Most anglers, however, elect to drift that part of the Mohaka from the bridge on Pakaututu Road – inland from Puketiritiri – back to our base on McVicar's Road, near the SH5 bridge. This gives access to 18 km of river that has no other access points for the public. Each of 1 or 2 rafts can take up to 4 anglers plus a rafting guide.
Getting to the put-in place at Pakaututu Bridge involves a 90 minute mini-bus drive, with the rafts in tow, through the beautiful Hawke's Bay back country, or a 10 minute helicopter flight. At the river, anglers can fish in the vicinity for the 30 minutes or so needed to set up the rafts, and then it’s off on a peaceful drift, with the anglers paddling from time to time. The rafts stop at those stretches of the river that provide reasonable fishing water for all on board.
This trip can be done in one day or two. There are two good places to camp near the halfway point. The two day option involves transporting more equipment and anglers’ gear – tents, cooking stuff, food, sleeping bags and so forth – on the rafts but it is a more leisurely trip. A one day trip, on the other hand is full on – an early start is needed and even then some good looking water will be left untouched.
Studded wading boots will damage our rafts and cannot therefore be worn: we recommend the use of a wading staff to increase safety while wading.
The Mohaka and Waipunga Rivers provide access for hunters with firearms or cameras. The target species include red deer, Japanese deer, wild pigs (Captain Cookers or Russian) and wild merino sheep.
Shooters must have NZ firearms licenses and hunting permits for the land to be hunted over. We normally provide hunting guides, and can obtain hunting permits if requested.
Two raft put-in places on the upper Mohaka can be accessed by road – the Mangatutu Hot Springs area and the bridge on the Pakaututu Road. Both involve a 90 minute mini-bus drive through the beautiful Hawke's Bay backcountry. Alternatively, they can arrange helicopter transport through Helesika New Zealand, and that option provides quick access to any spot on the river including land further upstream.
Below SH5 bridge there are 25km of river running through hilly forestry or farming land providing hunting opportunities, once again subject to the above comments on hunting permits. Once below the Department of Conservation Everett’s river-side camping ground off Aurora Road there is no take-out place until the confluence of the Mohaka and Te Hoe Rivers is reached, some 17km further downstream.
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