Lake Dunstan Fishing
Dunstan, with its three arms and good population of trout and salmon
provides excellent fishing amongst the extensive aquatic weed beds.
trout, rainbow trout, chinook salmon and perch.
between Alexandra, Queenstown and Wanaka, Lake Dunstan is
New Zealand’s most recent man-made lake. Long and narrow,
it splits into three arms at Cromwell. The Dunstan Arm runs
the length of the Cromwell Gorge, the Clutha Arm crosses the
Lowburn Flats and the Kawarau Arm extends up into the Kawarau
SH6 follows its west side down to Cromwell,
while SH8 follows its east shoreline all the way down, continuing
on to Alexandra and Dunedin.
map with topography
topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260
||View the MetService
weather forecast for .
|| Lake Dunstan access pamphlet
and rainbow trout are present throughout the lake, the most
productive area to fish is the Clutha Arm, especially where
the Clutha River flows in. Salmon arrive in late October to
November from the rivers upstream but are otherwise not particularly
The fish feed on the plentiful polpulation
of damsel flies, caddis nymphs, waterboatmen, beetles and
method for fishing the lake is by trolling or harling. Trolling
is best at a depth of 3-6m, especially when the water is rough.
Harling is successful around the weed beds.
Spinning from the shoreline is also a
productive method. Spinning can be very productive especially
around any stream mouth and the Clutha River inflow is a popular
spot during the cooler months. As weed can be a problemin
many areas, lures are best kept just below the surface to
Fly fishing is also popular and effective.
Using polaroid glasses to cut the surface glareand a light
rod with a floating line, trout can be targeted as they cruise
close to the shore along the weed beds. Dry flies can be successful
in the eveneing with nymphs the better choice for the day.
Very clear still weather however can make fishing very frustrating
as the trout will not move as close to shore and those that
do are easily spooked.
For bait fishing, replace the sinker with
a float and drift the bait along the edges of the weed beds.
|| Watch for any rainbow trout
that have been tagged or fin-clipped. These fish were released
as part of a research programme into the growth and movement
of trout. Send details of the date the fish was caught, location,
size, length, weight, your name and address to the Clutha Fisheries
Trust or to the Fish and Game Council.
|Fish numbers and size
and brown trout in good numbers averaging around 1.5kg. A
landlocked population of small salmon and some perch are also
side: The entire east side of the lake is easily
accessible from SH8.
Clutha Arm: Accessible
from SH6 on the west side at Pisa Moorings and Smiths Way.
Boat ramps are situated on the east side at Bendigo and Northburn,
and on the west from Lowburn Harbour, McNulty Inlet and Cromwell.
Boat access is available from south of the arm at Bannockburn.
Access from SH8 on the east at Champagne Gully and Dairy Creek
and round to the west at Weatherall Creek above the Clyde
See the access
trolling: Between 3 - 5 colours of lead line with a
long leader of between 8 - 15 metres.
A light 5 - 6 weight rod and floating line when fishing from
Light gear (2-3kg line) with light lures that are fished just
A legal bait suspended 1.5 metres below a float.
Tail, snail patterns.
Wet flies /Streamers:
Minnow, red or yellow Rabbit.
Jenson Insect, red and gold Veltic,
King Cobra, Rapala,
||Tributaries to Lake Dunstan
– Clutha River
– Kawarau River
– Amisfield Burn
– Park Burn
||Artificial fly, spinner, bait
|Size limit (cm)
||Fishing from boats is permitted.
If fishing from a mechanically propelled boat, the boat must
stay at least 100m from any angler fishing from the shore.