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Ahuriri River Trout Fishing

The Ahuriri River is a fishery of national importance with trophy trout providing sport for the experienced angler in the pristine upper reaches.

View Ahuriri River photo

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Much of the upper portion of the river is in the Ahuriri Conservation Park, and it's a well-regarded fly fishing river, containing both brown and rainbow trout. The WCO passed in 1990 recognises the river and its tributaries as an area of outstanding wildlife habitat and fisheries, with "outstanding angling features".

To read the full legislation document for the WCO applied to this waterway click here

Fish type Brown and rainbow trout
Situation

The Ahuriri River rises in the Southern Alps below Mt Huxley and between Lakes Ohau and Hawea. It flows on a curving easterly course into Lake Benmore near Omarama.

In summer this a hot wind-swept area. Mountain views partly compensate for the prevailing north-west wind which starts blowing down the valley in mid to late morning.

Maps

Access map
Access map with topography

LINZ topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260 series)

River flow View a graph of the current Ahuriri River flow at the Environment Canterbury website.
Weather forecast

For an up-to-date weather forecast:

Upper reaches

Description

Fish can be spotted in good water in the vicinity of Ben Avon Station where the river follows a convoluted course. Please ask permission before fishing here.

The backwaters often hold good fish but you need to cast downstream which is tricky because of drag.

Above Birchwood Station some cunning trophy-size brown trout reside in clear pools and runs, providing challenging fishing. Wading is not difficult and the river can be crossed between pools in places.

Fish numbers and size

Above Birchwood Station there are fewer fish but some trophy-size of up to 4.5 kg.

Access

Upstream from Omarama, access is from SH8 or from Birchwood Road which branches off SH8, 17km south of Omarama. The pristine upper river waters can be reached directly from the Birchwood Road or alternatively at Irelands Bridge or by walking down the Avon Burn.

See the access map.

Middle and lower reaches

Description

This part of the Ahuriri flows across tussock and lupin flats. It is a braided river, shingly, unstable and lined with willow trees. Fish across and down with spinners or flies, blind fishing likely-looking waters such as rapids, and sight-fishing. Note that the predominately rainbow trout, coloured a slate-grey, are diffcult to see unless they are moving

Fish numbers and size

Good stocks of brown and rainbow trout of 1-1.5 kg, especially between the SH8 bridge and Lake Benmore.

Access

SH8 Bridge: Downstream from Omarama, follow SH8 toward Twizel and either park just downstream of the bridge (just over 2 km from Omarama), or turn just after the SH8 bridge into Ben Omar Road and follow the gravel road into Ben Omar Station a short distance.

The Clay Cliffs: Drive over the SH8 bridge and continue for about 4.5 km; then, at the sign "The Cliffs", turn left into Henburn Road. Follow the directions to The Cliffs, following the rough road to where it runs parallel to the water. Please pay the requested tolls at the gates on the way.

See the access map.

Delta

Description

The convergence of the Ahuriri River with Lake Benmore is well-worth exploring. The extensive gravel delta offers easy-walking to excellent fishing in anad near the inflowing current. Take care as the sand is very soft in places especially on the edge of the water.

Access

Follow SH83 from Omarama through Glenburn Station for around 5.5km and walk for about 20 minutes along the anglers access track to the river mouth.

See the access map.

Recommended lures

Dry flies: Greenwell's Glory, Red-tipped Governor, Peveril O'Peake, Coch-y-Bondu, Humpy, Wulff, Kakahi Queen, Molefly

Nymphs: Hare and Copper, Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tail

Streamers: Mrs Simpson, Hope's Dark, Parson's Glory, Yellow Dorothy, Lord's Killer, Rabbit varieties, Hamill's Killer

Spinners: Black, Silver or Blue Slice, Zed Spinner, Tinker, Tiger

Biosecurity
Cleaning requirement Because of the presence of the invasive alga didymo in these waters, anglers must clean their fishing gear including waders and boots, especially when moving between rivers. See Didymo Biosecurity Alert for details.
Regulations (1):
Applicable to Ahuriri River and its tributaries upstream of and including Longslip Creek
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season First Saturday in Dec --30 April
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Trout: 2
Salmon: 2
Size limit (cm) Trout: No limit
Salmon: 300 mm minimum
Regulations (2):
Applicable to Ahuriri River and its tributaries downstream of Longslip Creek except Omarama Stream
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season First Sarurday in November to 30 April
Methods Artificial fly, spinner.
Bag limit Trout: 2
Salmon: 2
Size limit (cm) Trout: No limit
Salmon: 300 mm minimum
Regulations (3):
Applicable to Ahuriri River lagoons
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season First Saturday in Dec --30 April
Methods Flyfishing only
Bag limit Trout: 2
Salmon: N/A
Size limit (cm) Trout: No limit
Salmon: N/A

 

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