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Shag River

The Shag River/Waihemo rises in the Kakanui Mountains, before flowing almost 90 km in a south-easterly direction to the coast, entering the Pacific Ocean just south of Shag Point/Matakaea.  It drains a total catchment area of 550 km2. .

 The Māori name for the Shag River is Waihemo (Wai=water, hemo=to go to ground), possibly a reference to the very low flows observed in the lower reaches of the river during summer

The Shag River and its tributaries (McCormick’s Creek, Deepdell Creek, Sweetwater Creek, Coal Creek and Shingly Creek), are located within a catchment that encompasses valley flats, gently rolling hills and steeper mountain ranges. Much of this land is highly fertile, and pastoral and arable farming is practised over wide areas with a smaller amount of forestry and horticulture.A notable feature of the catchment is the presence of a large goldmine at Macraes Flat.

Average annual precipitation in the Shag catchment is 595mm.

Recreational activities in the Shag River/Waihemo include swimming, whitebaiting and trout fishing.   

The most significant active recreational pursuit carried out on the Shag River/Waihemo is angling and the river supports a regionally important trout fishery. The lower Shag River also supports a regionally significant whitebait fishery.

There are four species of introduced sports fish found in the Shag catchment. Brown trout are easily the most common species of fish in the catchment. Eel species and Galaxias species are also present throughout the length of the Shag River catchment. Freshwater crayfish occur in the upper reaches of the main river and in Deepdell and Tipperary creeks.


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Monitored sites in the Shag River catchment

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