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Fishing Trips in the South Island of New Zealand

Updated on September 17, 2014

Imagine travelling through New Zealand's spectacular scenery, stopping to enjoy the challenge of a trophy catch. No wonder fishing is an especially addictive sport in New Zealand!

Travellers come from all over the globe to experience the great outdoors, Kiwi style. And if you're a fishing addict you already know that New Zealand has some of the best fishing you'll find anywhere. The rivers, streams, lakes and clean coastal waters are famous among anglers around the world.

Especially noteworthy are the waters of New Zealand's South Island, which has good stocks of trophy salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout and a range of saltwater species.

The South Island is justly famed for its scenery and tourist attractions too. You'll discover diverse landscapes - lush rainforests, snowy mountaintops, dramatic fiords and inviting sandy beaches are all part of this unique land.

Not much beats a great fishing trip combined with sightseeing in a beautiful New Zealand island. So get down South and go fishing!

See Brown Trout Fly Fishing on South Island Rivers

Source

Fish and Explore Canterbury

Canterbury is a large province with a long coastline perfect for sightseeing and for fishing. As well as beaches the province boasts many lakes, valleys and waterways ready to fish in season. In particular the Rakaia River is famed for its rainbow trout, sea-run brown trout and salmon. Not far south are the Rangitata and Ashburton rivers, popular for salmon and trout fishing. Don't neglect to go further inland to fish the wild Mackenzie Country.

The main city in Canterbury is Christchurch, also known as The Garden City for its trees, parks and gardens. This greenery enhances both the English settler ambience and the modern-day cosmopolitan atmosphere of the central city. It is also well known for its recent seismic activity, which has certainly changed the urban landscape. But the surrounding waters are mercifully unscathed and ready for anglers.

Christchurch is a great base from which to access the long beaches of the coastline as well as the the inland lakes, rivers, valleys and mountains. Close by is Banks Peninsula and also the many wineries of the Canterbury Plains.

The photo above shows the West Canterbury ranges. This area, close to the famous limestone rock formations of Castle Hill, is great for guided flyfishing. The Castle Hill Alpine Village is a great place to stay while you're in the area.

Coarse fishing enthusiasts will appreciate a visit north of Christchurch to the Kaiapoi Lakes, Rotokahatau Lake and Monopolies Pond for year round access to catches such as tench and perch.

The photo below shows some of the coastline along Canterbury, just north of Christchurch city. You'll usually see anglers surf casting on the beach here.

North Canterbury Coastline, great for surfcasting

North Canterbury Coastline, great for surfcasting
North Canterbury Coastline, great for surfcasting | Source

Read more about trout fishing

Guided Flyfishing in the Mid-Canterbury Ranges

Fly Fishing With Guide Declan Wong in the Mackenzie Country, NZ

Fish and Explore North Canterbury and Kaikoura

When you're ready for a taste of saltwater, travel further north along Canterbury's coast for deep sea fishing or surf casting. The Kaikoura coastline boasts rich waters that offer grouper (known locally as hapuku), albacore tuna and blue cod.

Kaikoura is a great place to kick back and enjoy the local attractions. There's plenty of accommodation here and lots to do. If you're not done with the sea after your day's fishing you could treat yourself to a Whale Watch boat trip.

Make sure you enjoy a fresh crayfish meal in the Kaikoura township or at one of the superb roadside stalls near the seal colony. But we all know that nothing beats serving up your own catch of the day to family and friends!

Kaikoura Saltwater Fishing Using a Bicycle

Someone had success with this ingenious method of saltwater fishing on the Kaikoura Coast.

Chefs in Kaikoura Fishing for Crayfish (Lobster)

Chefs Al Brown and Steve Logan are famed for their fantastic tv series Hunger For the Wild. This is a snippet of the episode where they catch crays in Kaikoura. Prepare to be inspired. This could be you!

See More of Kaikoura

Central South Island - New Zealand's most popular fishing spot?

Central South Island is indeed New Zealand's most popular fishing destination according to a late 2009 national angling survey reported in the Otago Daily Times (http://www.odt.co.nz/the-regions/central-otago/730...

The survey designates the Central South Island area as beginning at the Rakaia River in Canterbury and ending down at Katiki beach in north Otago. The area extends from the coast inland as far as the Southern Alps.

It should be noted that Lake Taupo in the North Island is excluded from the survey as that area is administered separately. However the statistics show that people can't get enough of fishing in the South Island!

There were 1,202,400 registered angling days in NZ over the 2007-2008 season. Out of all the areas in New Zealand, each of the top five were in the South Island. The Central South Island claimed 20.1% of New Zealand's total fishing days, then Otago at 17.9%. Eastern South Island and North Canterbury come in next, fairly close at 17.4% and 16.3% respectively. The fifth most popular fishing area was Southland at 11.3% of New Zealand's total fishing days.

Definitely time to plan your South Island fishing trip!

Hunting South Island Trout

Fish and Explore Otago

In Otago there is a good choice of rivers and lakes suitable for beginners and anyone ready for a challenge. Try the large, fast-flowing Clutha River for large numbers of trout and good catch rates. While you're in the area, make sure you explore the wild and beautiful Catlins area further south.

Just north of the Clutha River is the oldest city in New Zealand - Dunedin. The city has a strong Scottish heritage, and the preservation of its Edwardian and Victorian architecture adds to its historic charm. Dunedin is a university town, and its repulation for art, design, fashion and creativity is fostered by the large student population.

Close by is the beautiful Otago Peninsula, where you can see a lot of coastal wildlife such as the rare Yellow-Eyed penguin. The peninsula is also home to the only mainland breeding colony of Royal albatross in the southern hemisphere.

Further inland the glacial Lake Wanaka and Lake Wakitipu are home to great fishing and fantastic scenery, as well as to the famous Wanaka and Queenstown tourist attractions.

Otago Fly Fishing Trip - brown and rainbow trout

A trip that starts in Tucson USA and passes through Lumsden, Gore, Queenstown and Lake Wakitipu.

Scenic South Island - YouTube Slideshow

Watch the South Island Trout Stalkers

Nile River, near Punakaiki, West Coast New Zealand

Explore More Great South Island Fishing Spots

There's so much more fishing to be done in the South Island, whether on the shoreline, on the lakes or deep in the island's valleys. It goes without saying that great fishing and great sightseeing go together here. Make sure you visit the Motueka River, the Nelson Lakes and the Marlborough Sounds near the top of the South Island.

From Nelson and Marlborough make your way down the wild West Coast of the island, where the Buller and Grey rivers offer excellent catches. The scenery is stunning too - don't miss a drive down the famous coastal highway between Westport and Punakaiki.

Don't forget to travel inland from the West Coast to Murchison and further south to Lake Brunner. Both spots are known for their rugged beauty and for good fly fishing.

Down in the far south is famous Fiordland. Here anglers won't regret a visit to the remote and beautiful Hollyford River near Milford Sound.

The photo above is from the Nile River, near Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island.

Coastal Highway Between Westport and Punakaiki

Coastal Highway Between Westport and Punakaiki
Coastal Highway Between Westport and Punakaiki

Pororari River, West Coast

Pororari River, West Coast
Pororari River, West Coast

See Fly Fishing Near Nelson Lakes

Queenstown Based Fishing Charters

Visited the South Island? Been Fishing? Tell Us About It!

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    • NatureFan LM profile image

      NatureFan LM 4 years ago

      I love New Zealand, especially the South Island. However, I have never fished there.

    • SparkleNZ profile image
      Author

      SparkleNZ 5 years ago

      @danielmccarthy lm: Welcome to Aotearoa :-) It's definitely a place to love! Let us know how your fishing goes when you get a chance :-)

    • danielmccarthy lm profile image

      danielmccarthy lm 5 years ago

      I just moved here and I love it! Haven't been fishing yet. Cool to see kiwi lenses!

    • profile image

      lumpy22 7 years ago

      Beautiful I would love to go. Great lens.

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 8 years ago

      Thank you for adding this lens to the Best Islands group.

      It is hosted in the main page!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Nice job! Welcome to All Things Travel.

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group.