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Greenstone River

The Greenstone River is a medium sized spawning river for Lake Wakatipu. Rainbow trout dominate the river and are most abundant during the spring, but as the season wears on many of these fish emigrate to Lake Wakatipu and return the following year to spawn.

 

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Fish type Mainly rainbow trout with a few brown.
Situation Greenstone River flows into the north arm of Lake Wakatipu from the northwest. The river drains the Livingstone, Ailsa and Humboldt mountains as well as Lake McKellar. The Caples River flows south and joins the Greenstone 6km from its mouth. Together they enter the northwestern side of Lake Wakatipu.
Maps

Access map
Access map with topography

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

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F&G pamphlet Lake Wakatipu / Otago Region access pamphlet >>>
Description

The Greenstone River is a medium sized spawning river for Lake Wakatipu. The upper and middle reaches flow for about 16km through an airy broad valley. The middle reaches has an excellent variety of runs, ripples and pools, most of which hold fish. Long casting is not required and a #6 weight line is adequate for most occasions. Northwesterly winds can at time hinder anglers, but can be countered with weight-forward lines.

The most productive and easiest water to fish lies upstream from the Pass Burn as the fish are easy to spot and stalk. Before Christmas fish stocks are excellent and walking and casting are easy. Rainbow trout average 1.4kg, with the odd brown slightly larger.

Below the Pass Burn the river becomes more difficult to fish due to its rocky gorges and fast runs. For agile, active anglers, it's well worth the look.

Below the Caples confluence, the river becomes considerably larger, with the mouth offering good lure fishing.

In November nymph fishing is popular, but several anglers also enjoy success with a dry fly. Throughout the season green stonefly, mayfly and caddis fly imitations are all good nymph patterns, but some anglers have the most success with Hare and Copper and Pheasant Tail.

Rainbow trout dominate the river and are most abundant during the spring, but as the season wears on many of these fish emigrate to Lake Wakatipu and return the following year to spawn.

A backcountry licence is now required to fish the Greenstone River upstream of the swingbridge at the rivers mouth where the river enters Lake Wakatipu and all tributary streams entering the Greenstone including the Caples River.

Access

Access to the lower river is by gravel road vis Kinloch. The road is windy and narrow in parts and ends at a car park about 3km up the river from Lake Wakatipu. A water taxi is available from Glenorchy to carry anglers anf trampers across the lake to the mouth of the Greenstone.

There is also a three-hour walk from the Divide carpark on SH94 (Te Anau-Milford Road) to the McKellar Hut on the upper reaches of the Greenstone River.

Methods Fly fishing only
Recommended lures

Nymphs: Stonefly, Mayfly, Caddis, Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tail

Dry flies: Dad's Favourite, Royal Wulff, Green and Brown Beetles, Yellow and Green Humpys, Grasshopper, Green and Brown Cicadas

Wet flies:

Tributaries Greenstone River joins Caples River before flowing into Lake Wakatipu.
Regulations
Applicable to Greenstone River
Region Otago regulations
Season

1 November - 31 May. A backcountry licence is now required to fish the Greenstone River upstream of the swingbridge at the rivers mouth where the river enters Lake Wakatipu and all tributary streams entering the Greenstone including the Caples River.

From 1 February to 31 March, those with a Controlled Fishery licence may only fish the Greenstone River above the Slyburn confluence.

Spin fishing is now legal downstream from the swingbridge (sometimes called the stock bridge) at the car park from Nov 1 until May 31. Anglers fishing this stretch of river do not need a backcountry licence. The one fish per day limit still applies.

Methods

Fly fishing only above the swingbridge.

Below the swingbridge spin fishing and fly fishing are both legal.

Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) none

 

 

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