Rainbow trout were first released into the Kai Iwi Lakes in 1968. Fingerlings were initially released into lakes Taharoa and Waikere. The lakes offer excellent trout fishing conditions. Trout weighing up to 4kg have been caught. The lake fisheries are managed by the Northland Fish & Game Council. Each year the society release 2000 trout fingerlings into the lakes. All persons fishing at the lakes are required to hold licenses, these can be obtained from licensed agents & sports shops in Dargaville.


No more than 3 trout may be taken by any one person in a day.
All trout taken are to exceed 300mm in length.

Water Sports

Water sports on the Kai Iwi Lakes

The Kai Iwi Lakes are one of the most popular freshwater boating environments in the North Island. They are the major water skiing venue for the Auckland and Northland regions. On several occasions they have been the venue of the N.Z. Water Ski Championships. The Kai Iwi Lakes Water Ski Club and Dargaville Yacht Club are based at the lakes. The Kai Iwi Lakes Ski Club building is situated on the western shores of Lake Waikere. The club has also established a ski jump and slalom course on the lake. The Dargaville Yacht Club bases its activities on the lakes are controlled in terms of the Taharoa Domain Water Control Bylaws 1986.


The main provisions of the bylaws are:

Lake Kai Iwi

No small motorcraft are to exceed 5 knots or be used for waterskiing purposes on the lake. Small motorcraft means any vessel on the water that is propelled or driven other than by oars, paddles or the wind.

Lake Taharoa

No small craft are to exceed 5 knots within 100 metres of the shore except within defined access lanes. Small craft means any vessel less than 30 metres in length on the water and includes any boat, sailboard or yacht. Five access lanes are established around the lake. The entire area of water north west of Promenade Point and the Bluff, including Hauhautoki Bay and the Sin Bin, is reserved for yachting. No small motor craft are to exceed 5 knots or to be used for water skiing purposes in the reserved area. An area of water at Pine Beach is reserved for swimming only. No small craft, i.e. boats, sailboards or yachts are permitted in the reserved area.

Lake Waikere

No small craft are to exceed 5 knots within 10 metres of the sore except within defined access lanes. Two access lanes are established on the lake. All small craft are to be navigated in an anticlockwise direction around the lake No more than 5 small motorcraft are permitted on the lake at any one time. The reserved areas and access lanes on the lakes are identified on public noticeboards and marked by buoys in the water. Wardens have been appointed to administer the bylaws. The wardens are empowered to direct or stop any person using any small craft in contravention of the bylaws.

Flora and Fauna

The Kai Iwi lakes support a variety of plant and animal life. Several species of reeds, rushes and sedges are found around sheltered sandy margins of the lakes including the distinctive spike rush Eleocharis sphacelatea. The lake margins are also the home of a rare aquatic plant Hudatella inconspicua (cheesem). This small grass like herb is reportably confined to a small number of dune lakes in Northland. The deeper sub-littoral areas of the lakes contain soft organic muds of varying depths. They support a variety of rooted submerged plants principally the native stonewarts and pond weeds.


Small plankton populations are found in the lakes. The phyto or plant plankton consists mainly of microscopic desmids and dinoflagellates. Most have flotation adaptions which enable them to remain suspended in the water. The zoo or animal plankton comprises a variety of small and generally transparent copepods, cladocera (water fleas) and rotifers. Bloodworms and freshwater snails are most commonly found amongst the weed beds.


Freshwater crayfish or koura are found at various depths in the lakes. They generally populate the deeper waters during the daytime and migrate into shallower water at night to feed. Freshwater crabs and freshwater mussel have also been found in Lake Kai Iwi and Lake Taharoa.


Native fish present in the lakes include the dwarf inganga and the common bully is a bottom feeder. The dwarf inanga have evolved from populations of inanga which became landlocked in the lakes and were unable to migrate back to saltwater. They are confined to the Kai Iwi and Pouto dune lakes.


Long and short finned eels are found in Lakes Kai Iwi and Taharoa. Three species of exotic fish are found in the lakes: rainbow trout, mosquito fish and rudd. The trout populations are regularly stocked with young fingerlings as there is no natural spawning in the lakes.


Grey and mallard ducks are commonly found on the lakes. Other bird species often present include the dabchick, paradise shelduck, shoveller duck, grey teal, little shag and white faced heron. Nearby Shag Lake is an important dabchick nesting area and paradise shelduck moulting site.