Lower Waikato river trout Contests

Trout Contest 2022

October  13th to 16th (Thursday to Sunday)

After a  2 year hiatus due to Covid restrictions, we are excited to return to our regular annual contest held in the October school holidays!  This one is a four day event, with fabulous prizes from Kilwell NZ and Waikato Hunting and Fishing!

2022 Poster

2022 Entry Form & Rules

EZY Entry Form 2022

Ezy Team Entry form

Trout methods booklet

Trout video- Trout on your doorstep

2019 October Contest results

Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’ 2019 Lower Waikato river trout contest results.


The 2019 Lower Waikato river trout contest was again a superb family event, this year the 8 day long contest attracted 62 keen anglers from Cambridge to Te Kauwhata, well up on the previous 4 years. With 27 juniors under 17 and 35 adults including 4 in the women’s section, there was strong competition for the $5,000 plus in prizes, all pre-sourced from Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’ Huntly store.


The river started at a reasonably low level from Saturday October 5th, and decreased further towards the end date, Saturday October 12th. The weather was generally favourable, overcast with light winds for much of the week.


With the lower level we had good clarity at times, and there were many reports of whitebait being seen in greater numbers, but overall fishing was hard as we badly needed some rain for river level fluctuations.


There were 44 trout caught, with 43 being browns and 1 rainbow trout. This compares with 66 trout in 2018, down a bit as the dropping river level was a factor. Many more fish were caught or released than were entered, and overall they were in similar condition but slightly lighter on average than the previous year.


With the contest area being as usual the main stem of the Waikato from below the Karapiro dam to the Waikato heads, the fish were caught from Karapiro dam to Mercer, with the browns chasing the annual whitebait migration. This year, a majority of fish (by numbers) were caught in the Rangiriri (13), Cambridge (8),  Huntly (7), and Mercer (4), areas. Next were- Taupiri (3), Karapiro (3), Ngaruawahia (2) Hamilton (1), Ohinewai (1), Horotiu (1) and Hopuhopu (1).


While most of the fish were caught from shore, some anglers used their boats to access good areas or fish from their anchored boat, and some were caught trolling or from a moving boat.

This is a top spin fishery, the most popular terminal tackle by far was still softbaits (32) , followed by rapalas (6), tassie devils (3) , spinners (2) and veltic (1). This year surprisingly none were caught on either trout flies or baits.


Most trout were caught early morning or at dusk and into the evening, but a surprising amount were also taken in the middle of the afternoon. The more successful anglers targeted the very edge of the river, using short casts or even just trailing a lure off the rod tip to probe likely brown trout lies behind and under cover, along banks with good current. From analysis of the total catch data this year, the average trout in this area weighs about 1.3kg, (slightly down on last year) and has a condition factor of 38.32, which is a nicely coloured trout.


Weigh stations were at Taupiri Tavern in the evenings, plus daytime weighing at Waikato Hunting & Fishing in Te Rapa and also Sportsworld Cambridge.


The prize giving was held at Taupiri Tavern on Saturday 12th in the garden bar ( a day earlier as last year), with free barbecue provided by owner Bob Gamble, plus some delicious on-site “cold smoked” trout from Steve Farrar.


This year we again had a wide ranging prize selection of fresh and saltwater fishing related products- bags, rod/reel combos, smoker, lure packs, knife sets, waders, binoculars, converter jackets,  flounder lights, etc

We also had a series of miniature trophies for winners in the junior and women’s sections, donated last year by the Cocup and Farrar families respectively.


Results for the 2019 competition;


Juniors (27 entries, 14 fish caught)


1st heaviest brown trout- Cruz Godfrey (Ngaruawahia) 1.928 kg- $250 package

2nd heaviest brown trout- Dylan Farrar (Huntly) 1.702 kg- $150 package

3rd heaviest brown trout- Dylan Farrar (Huntly) 1.542 kg - $100 package

Last fish weighed in- Ocean Leigh Hughes-  $50 package

Best condition factor trout- Toby Moffitt (Huntly) 43.22 condition factor, $250 package.


In the juniors, the entry draw prize went to Ocean Leigh Hughes from Taupiri, she was the happy recipient of a $150 package.


Women’s sub- section (4 entries, 4 trout caught)


Heaviest trout- Hayley Hughes (Taupiri) 2.322 kg- $200 package

Best condition factor trout- Sharnay Cocup (Taupiri)  41.95 condition factor- $100 package



Adults (35 entries, 30 trout caught)


1st heaviest brown trout- Hayley Hughes (Taupiri) 2.322 kg- $350 package

2nd heaviest brown trout- Joe Bradford (Cambridge)  1.990 kg $250 package

3rd heaviest brown trout- Sam van der Valk (Morrinsville) 1.870 kg $100 package

Heaviest rainbow trout- Jeremy Johnson (Cambridge) 955g  $200 package

Best Condition Factor rainbow- Jeremy Johnson (Cambridge) 41.92  factor, $200 package


Best condition factor brown trout adults section- Damian Cocup (Taupiri) 54.13 condition factor. He won a major package of $500 in goods including a kayak longline beach setup.


Kotare Ventures Best Condition Factor overall trophy- Presented for the eighth time, the stunning trophy donated by Kotare Ventures (John Charteris) was won by Damian Cocup, 54.13 factor.


Team Section

The  4 person teams section drew 7 entries, team fish had to have a condition factor of 36 or above, so some fish were excluded from the “bag”.

The prizes are for the best average condition factor of the total fish caught per team, and was a close race, with the prizes going to-


Team Section 1st Fish Magnets (Sharpes from Hamilton) - Average condition factor 44.87,  $500 prize of 4 x $125 packages


Team Section 2nd – Hack n’ Flash (Taplin, Lynch etc Huntly) - Average condition factor 43.82,  $200 prize of 4 x $50 packages


Rest of teams in order-

Ground Crew (O’Haras) 43.59, Trout Ticklers (Johnson Cambrige) 42.79, River Monsters (Cocups)  41.55, Aquaholics (TK- Baranyai and Baverstock) 41.01,  Flyz R Down (Farrars) 38.26.


Overall average weight trout for the whole competition- $300 prize of a Tug o’ War harness kindly donated from Sweetmans- weight was 1.299 kg and nearest was Brian Taplin with a brown of 1.296 kg. Congratulations to a very deserving winner, he put in plenty of time on the water and weighed in 4 trout, won it last year too!


Adults grand entry draw- this was open to all adult entries regardless of success, and was a $500 prize generously donated by Bob Gamble of Taupiri Tavern. It was drawn live and won by Steven Baranyai, contestant no. 13, lucky for some! Another deserving winner.


5x $100 “novelty” packages of assorted  tackle were drawn and given to Josh Pratt, Jay Wickens, Andy Hutt, Saibon Wilson and Richard Baverstock.


The remaining spot prizes from Sweetman’s Reel Fishin’ were then distributed to all contestants without prizes- 3 digital subscriptions donated by NZ Fishing News, caps, nets, knives and tackle, plus lures.


Two good raffles were run at the prizegiving, (thanks for your support),  the $239 Shimano lever drag combo was won by Hayley Hughes (ticket 77), and the very popular $100 meat pack raffle donated by The Meat Co Huntly had 3 draws, 1st Murray G, 2nd  Afu,  3rd Logan Baxter.


The contest has been coordinated by the team of Michael Lynch, John Charteris, William Van Zyl , Bob Gamble, Sharnay Cocup, and Steven and Tracey Farrar. All combined especially on the final day to produce another great event!


Peter Sweetman and the Reel Fishin’ team in Huntly supplied all of the prizes at significant discounts and have been a huge support to our contest over the past 10 years. Unfortunately the upholstery and fishing business is now closed so an era is over, and we wish Peter all the best in his retirement. Thanks also to the staff of Sweetman’s, Peter Fletcher & Margaret Taplin for prize selection/pricing, and Sharon Mackie for her handling of the entries and finances for many years.


William Van Zyl was again official photographer for the event, and has uploaded his wonderful images to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Lower-Waikato-Trout-Fishing-Contest-2019-117542809636806/

All of the competition images are there, you can email him for full resolution pics at williamvzyl@xtra.co.nz.


Our 2 outer weigh station venues need a big vote of thanks- Sportsworld Cambridge (Blake and Stacey)  & Waikato Hunting & Fishing (Scott Fraser & Logan Baxter). Also Graham Bowen helped check the results at Taupiri prior to prizes being awarded.


Many thanks to the great media coverage we have had from local publications,  especially Jim Richardson at the Chatter and Grant Dixon at NZ Fishing News, this helped publicise the event.


Much appreciation to all the sponsors, contestants and families, for making it such a wonderful competition.


The following sponsors made the competition possible, so please support them…





NZ Fishing News

Huntly Meat Co.

Waikato Hunting & Fishing

Sportsworld Cambridge

Kotare Ventures

A/W Fish & Game

Cocup & Farrar Families


Don’t stop fishing, plenty of action on the river from now till early December, then it will fire up again about May or before. Remember your licence lets you fish anywhere in NZ except Taupo fishery.


Lower Waikato Trout Contest Team 2019


Michael Lynch, William Van Zyl, John Charteris, Bob Gamble, Steven & Tracey Farrar,

Sharnay Cocup.


2019 Photo gallery

2018 Photo gallery