Freshwater fishing in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the world's great fishing countries. Trout are big and plentiful throughout the country. Lakes, rivers, backcountry stream and spring creeks all offer fantastic opportunities to enjoy fishing at its very best. In the South Island you can also fish for salmon in many places. Most waters in New Zealand are in the public domain. Many are easily accessed via public right of way and the Queens Chain. Others can usually be visited through landowner permission.

Rainbow and brown trout exist in abundance in most waters. A variety of fishing methods can be used to catch them. Please be aware of local regulations regarding seasons, catch limits, licensing laws and fishing methods. Fishing in New Zealand is administered by local Fish & Game departments. Each region has a section on this website that will keep you up to date with local news, regulations, fishing licence agents and more. If you are heading to a region you are unfamiliar with, please take a moment to visit the local section of this website.

Always make sure you have a current freshwater fishing licence. Licences can be bought at local retail outlets in the region you are fishing, or online.

Fish & Game New Zealand is proud to support angling clubs from around the country. You can read their monthly newsletters on the New Zealand Federation of Fresh Water Anglers website here. You can find details of fishing or angling clubs local to you on this website, by clicking on your local region on the map above, and then visting the 'local fishing clubs' link in the right hand menu.

Fishing News & Events

Otago Reel Life Apr 2014

The 30th April marks the end of the main fishing season for many low country tributaries. Some of these already have fish either congregating for spawning or actually in the process of digging ‘redds’ or nests and laying eggs. It’s a fascinating and important time in the life cycle of trout and salmon and they do deserve to be left undisturbed. The hardy angler still has a few opportunities to make the most of the great Autumn weather.


Chris Dore Fishing Report Apr 2014

So the mayfly have started and I hope you're getting amongst it! The mornings are starting slow but fish will be found in the riffles, moving into the drop offs and shallow heads as things warm up. Double tungstan trailing a sparse, small natural will hit them when they're deep but lighten up the moment you find them in the shallows.


NZFFA President's Piece Apr 2014

Despite our more cynical members being resigned to the foregone conclusion that the Ruataniwha Dam decision was always going to be a "yes, go ahead", we are still reeling from the implications of the decision. Yes, there is a win insofar that conditions include limits on both phosphorus and nitrogen entering the river but there are many worrying factors which are still left up in the air.