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International Visiting Anglers

New Zealand offers some of the best trout fishing in the world – big, hard fighting, well-conditioned brown and rainbow trout in gin-clear rivers and lakes.  And don’t forget the salmon!

The freshwater fishing is great value for money by international standards. If you are fishing for only a few hours, or perhaps one or two days, a One Day licence ($20) gives you the best value(juniors only $5).

If you are a visiting angler and wish to fish for longer than a couple of days, or want access to back country fisheries, you will need to buy an adult Non-Resident licence (NRL). For more information on the NRL CLICK HERE.

An NRL allows the holder the freedom to fish anywhere in the country (except Taupo) as often as they like over several visits within the same season if they wish (usually from 1 September to 31 August but check the local regulations as season length can vaty from water to water).The Taupo fishery requires a separate licence, whether you are a Kiwi or a non-resident. The Taupo licence is available from the Department of Conservation.

Buying an NRL also allows you to apply for an endorsement providing access to New Zealand’s renowned back country wilderness fisheries, at no extra cost. The process is straightforward – once you have your whole season NRL, you simply apply for a free back country licence endorsement for the region of your choice.

These back country rivers are wild and wonderful places, but are inherently sensitive and need careful management of fish populations and angling pressure. The endorsement allows Fish & Game to monitor just how much pressure these fisheries are getting and better manage them.

Some regions - Wellington, Otago and Southland - also require an angler to hold a Back Country Licence if they are intending to fish those regions back country fisheries. This endorsement on your NRL is free of charge, and more information can be found HERE.  

The way New Zealand’s freshwater fishing and game bird hunting is managed by Fish & Game is an historic system dating back more than 150 years. The core principle is that freshwater sports fish anglers and game bird hunters pay for and manage the resource they enjoy. Fish & Game doesn’t receive any funding from central or regional government, and doesn’t benefit from international visitor spending on local transport, accommodation or attractions.

As a result, the entire cost of protecting, managing and administering the country’s world famous freshwater fishery falls on licence holders. Each fishing licence sold represents that angler’s contribution to the total cost.  Any increased revenue to Fish & Game NZ from this NRL category goes specifically towards the improvement of back country fisheries management.

So enjoy the fishing knowing that you are contributing to the cost of managing and protecting this country’s unique resources.

Visit Fish & Game’s regional offices and talk to staff about where to go, or ask for the free informative brochures detailing local rivers and fishing techniques. These are also available at sports shops where Fish & Game licences are sold.

New Zealand is a trout fishing paradise. Enjoy one of the world’s best fisheries in the knowledge that you are also contributing to its protection and maintenance for future generations.

Bringing Equipment into NZ

Fishing flies which are clean and dry are not confiscated by New Zealand Customs officials. MAF Biosecurity NZ requires all used freshwater fishing equipment brought into New Zealand to be clean and dry.

NZ Fishing Seasons

Each season offers its own unique fishing experience. Spring is a great time to target hungry trout that are feeding hard and trying to regain condition after the winter.