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Tekapo River Trout Fishing

The Tekapo River is a beautiful water that provides a wide variety of fishing for a very large population of mainly brown and some rainbow trout.

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Fish type

The Tekapo River holds a very high population of mostly brown trout, averaging between 1 and 2 kg. While in the upper reaches there are mostly brown trout, there is a good population of rainbow trout in the lower section.

Situation

Tekapo river flows from Lake Tekapo southwards before veering west to enter Lake Benmore.

Maps

Access map

Access map with topography

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

Check conditions

River flow

View graphs at the Environment Canterbury website of the river flow at the Tekapo Spillway

Rainfall

View graphs at the Environment Canterbury website of recent recent rainfall at Mt Gerald.

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for Timaru.

Description

Although a relatively large river, the Tekapo has been adversely affected in the upper reaches by water that has been extracted for hydro electricity generation. As a consequence flows can fluctuate greatly in the river and can become unfishable once the dam is fully opened. Despite this, the river holds a very high population of fish.

Being open and exposed means the river is often subject to the strong prevailing nor'wester. When the wind is blowing fishing can be very challenging. During late spring and early summer the river often provides fantastic fishing as the fish feed frenetically after the cold winter months.

The river flows over a gravel and stone bed between a mixture of willow lined and open banks. Most of the river can be waded and is a mixture of long glides of surprisingly deep water interspersed with riffles and long shallow runs.

Access

The middle section of the river can be reached via gravel roads that run along both banks. These roads are very rough and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended.

The lower reaches can be accessed from Haldon Road which leads off from State Highway 8.

See the upper Waitaki access map.

Methods and tackle

While trout can be spotted under ideal conditions, the most common method is by fishing it blind. Both dry fly and nymph fishing work well on this water.

Fly rods capable of casting a weight five to seven lines with leaders of between 10 to 14 feet are recommended.

Preferably use barbless hooks. Barbless hooks are quite capable of landing large trout as long as some bend is retained in the rod while fighting the fish.

Recommended lures

Dry fly: Humpys, Blow Fly patterns, Red-tipped Governors and Coch-y-Bondhu.

Nymphs: Weighted nymphs in sizes 12 to 16 such as very roughly tied Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tail and Halfback patterns.

Wetflies: Streamer flies such as a Parson's Glory, Grey Wulff and Jack Spratt

Spinners: Black and gold Toby's, Rapalas and Cobras

Tributaries There are a number of tributaries that joined the Tekapo River, most of which contain fish and some, such as the Patterson's Ponds, hold some very large brown trout
Regulations (1):
Applicable to Tekapo River upstream of the lower powerlines across the river approx. 1 km upstream from Lake Benmor
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season First Saturday in November to 30 April
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Trout: 4
Salmon: 2
Size limit (cm) Trout: No limit
Salmon: 300 mm minimum
Regulations (2):
Applicable to Tekapo River downstream of the lower powerlines across the river approx. 1 km upstream from Lake Benmore
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Trout: 4
Salmon: 2
Size limit (cm)

Trout: No limit

Salmon:

Minimum 300 mm minimum

Regulations (3):
Applicable to Tekapa-Pukaki hydro canal
Region Central South Island regulations >>>
Season All  year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit

Trout: 2

Salmon: 2

Size limit (cm) Trout: No limit
Salmon: 300 mm minimum

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