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Freshwater fishing

Freshwater fishing methods

Other fishing


New Zealand Winter Fishing

Although many New Zealand fishing waters are fish best in the warmer months from October to April, there are around 250 waters that remain open all year. Nowhere in the country is far from some fishing, even in the heart of winter. It is also true that some lakes and rivers fish best during the cooler months

To find out where you can fish during the winter months (May through to the end of September), scan the Open Season column of the current regional regulations for waters that are open "all year" or that have a "winter season".

See an overview of the winter fishing by month

The following are some of the major waters that are open in winter in each region.


Northland fishes best in the winter months and the annual Kai Iwi Lakes trout fishing competition is held in July (see the Fly Fishing Events and Competitons calendar for details).


Other open waters in winter are

- Wairua River ( downstream from the confluence of the Waiotu & Whakapapa Rivers. Note that all tributaries are closed during the winter)

- Whau Valley Dam

- Lake Monowai

- Lake Tomorata

- Lake Ototoa


There are a good number of waters open all year in the Auckland Waikato region and most provide very good fishing. From small spring fed creeks to large rivers and lakes, there is plenty offreshwater fishing available to be enjoyed.

While most rivers close at the end of June, the following waters remain open over the winter months:

- Mangawhio Stream, below lower falls
- Waipapa River, below the lower falls
- Hikutaia River, below the Whangamata track
- Mangaotaki River, below the lower bridge on Mangaotaki Road
- Marokopa River, below Mangatuahaua Stream
- Ohinemuri River, below Victoria Street Bridge in Waihi
- Puniu River, below Seafund Road
- Waihou River
- Waikato River
- Waimakariri Stream
- Waipa River, below Toa Bridge
- Waitawheta River, below the end of Franklin Road
- Whanganui River, below its confluence with the Whakapapa

All lakes remain open over winter.


The Rotorua / Eastern region is renown for its quality winter fishing. Boat fishing on Lakes Tarawera, Rotoiti and Okataina comes to an end for the season at midnight on the 30th of June. There are areas of the shoreline on each of these lakes that remain open all year and the chance of capturing a trophy fish are high.

Other waters in the Rotorua Lakes region that remain open include
- Lake Rotorua
- Lake Rotoma
- Lake Rerewhaikaaitu

- Lake Tikitapu (Blue lake)
- Lake Okareka

- Lake Rotomohana

- Lake Ngahewa

- Lake Ngapouri

- Lake Okaro

- Kaituna River (below control gates)

- Lake Rotoehu

Open waters in the Bay of Plenty

- Rangitaiki River (below Otamatea Stream confluence)

- Lake Aniwhenua

- Lake Matahina

- McClaren Lake

- Whakatane River (below Owaka Stream confluence)

- Tarawera River (from the falls downstream)

- Waioeka River (below the Tauranga Stream confluence)

Open waters on the east Coast

- Waikaremoana Lake

- Waiau River (below Waikaretaheke River confluence)

- Wairoa River (below Te Reinga Falls)

- Lake Tinoroto


Lake Taupo and its tributaries are a world famous winter fishery with huge runs of many tens of htousands of fish moving up the rivers to spawn. For many this is the premier fishing time for the region as trout that enter the rivers are in prime condition. July to September are traditionally the best months for spawning runs and are usually the busiest months with the most anglers on the waters. In recent years October and even November have also been very good.

The most popular rivers are the eastern tributaries:

- Tongariro,

- Tauranga-Taupo,

- Hinemaiaia

- Waitahanui

- Waiotaka River


These rivers are very popular and, if you are to enjoy your fishing there, it is vital to be aware of the fishing etiquette that applies.

Note that the upper parts of the rivers are closed from 1st June to 30th November to protect the trout while they are spawning. It is only he lower reaches of the rivers that remain open and so be aware of where the boundary is.

Hawke's Bay

The Hawkes Bay has good winter fishing and lake such Tutira are actually at their peak in the winter months as the fish move closer to shore.

Open waters include

- Lake Tutira

- Mohaka River

- Tukituki River (downstream from SH50 road bridge)

- Ngaruroro River (downstream from the Kiwi Creek confluence but excluding tributaries)

- Tutaekuri River (downstream from the Mangaone Stream confuence)

- Esk River (downstream from the Waipunga Road bridge)

- Waipawa River (downstream from SH50 road bridge)


Winter is traditionally a quiet time for trout fishing on the Taranaki ringplain as most waters are closed for the trout spawning season. But fishing is still available in a number of local lakes and the lower reaches of rivers and streams that flow from Mt Taranaki are open in their lower reaches below SH45.

Other open waters are:

Manganuioteao mainstem (excluding tributaries) downstream of the Orautoha Stream confluence

Mangawhero River (excluding tributaries) downstream of the SH49 “golf course” Bridge

The Tokiahuru and Waitaiki Streams downstream of the SH49 bridges

Lake Mangamohoe

Lake Ratapiko

Waiwhakaiho River

Lake Ngangana

Opunake Lake

Patea River

Lake Namunamu

Wellington / Wairarapa

As with all North Island regions, the Wellington region has a wide range of winter fishing opportunities. Mostly these are large rivers and in the lower sections of the rivers (the upper reaches are generally protected to allow undisturbed spawning).

Some waters of note near Wellington city are:

- The Hutt River

- Otaki River (downstream from the Tararua Forest Park Boundary)

- Ohau River


Other waters around the Wairarapa and Rangitikei are:

- Rangitikei River (downstream from the Matawhero Road Bridge)

- Ruamahanga River (downstream from the Tararua Forest Park Boundary)

- Waiohine River (downstream from the Tararua Forest Park Boundary)

- Moawhango River

- Manawatu River (downstream from the Maunga Road Bridge)

- Mangatainoka River (downstream of the Scarborough-Konini Road bridge )

- Pohangina River

- Mangahao River (downstream from Marima Reserve Bridge)

- Makakahi River (downstream from the road bridge at Eketahuna).


Places to target during the winter month are the lower to tidal reaches of rivers, especially the

- Buller

- Wairau

- Motueka

- Pelorus

The lakes Rotoroa and Rotoiti in the Nelson National Park can also fish well but can be very cold in the winter.

West Coast

With light angling pressure spread over a large number of rivers, the West Coast region is able to maintain winter trout fishing in its larger rivers and lakes.

Fishing waters include

- Lake Brunner

- Arnold River

- Ahaura River downstream from the Haupiri confluence

- Buller River downstream of Lyell confluence

- Cascade River downstream of Martyr confluence

- Grey River downstream of Clarke confluence

- Ianthe Lake (except the outlet)

- Inangahua River (downstream from Perserverance Bridge)

- Kaniere, Lake

- Mahinapua, Lake

- Moeraki, Lake

- Paringa, Lake

- Taramakau River downstream of Bridge at Jacksons

- Hokitika River downstream of the swing bridge at Lower Gorge

- Mokihinui River downstream of the Welcome Creek cableway

Note that many other rivers have the lower sections open all year as well. To see the full list of which waters are open check the West Coast Regulations.

North Canterbury

The winter waters in the North Canterbury region are mostly close to the coast as inland can get very cold. The exception is Lake Coleridge which is open most of the year and only closed in May and September. Many small waters around Christchurch are open and so check the North Canterbury regulations to see if other waters are open.

The major winter fishery waters are:

- Lake Coleridge (closed May and September)

- Otukaikino River also known as Waimakariri, South Branch below Dickies Road Bridge

- Hurunui River below the South Branch confluence

- Rakaia River below the Coleridge Tailrace confluence

- Selwyn River below the Upper Huts

- Sumner, Lake

- Waiau River below the Hope River confluence

Central South Island

Although a winter season is permitted on specific waters, winter fishing does not appear to be hugely popular during the colder months. Much of this region gets very cold over the winter months and the fish are much less active. On a warm day however it is certainly worth getting the rods out.

Open waters over the winter include

- Waitaki River

- Rangitata River

- Opihi River

- Asburton river (downstream of the SH1 bridge)

- Waitaki hydro canals

It is important to note that the winter fishing is regarded as from June 1 and closes on the 31st August. Fishing methods are restricted to spinner and fly fishing only (bait fishing is prohibited during the winter season).

Please check the Central South Island regulations for the current regulations.


Otago has a large number of open waters and list below is by no means a full listing of what is available. To see the full list and to ensure that if you are fishing Lakes Wanaka or Wkatipu you do not stray into closed waters check the Otago Regulations

The following are some of the major winter fishing waters in the Otago region:

Clutha River (except Deans Bank section)

Coalpit Dam

Dart River

Dunstan, Lake

Hawea, Lake

Makarora River downstream of Wilkin River confluence

Matukituki River downstream from Mototapu confluence

Pomahaka River downstream of Swans Bridge (Clydevale Road)

Shag River downstream of SH1 Bridge

Taieri River downstream of Silverstream confluence

Wakatipu, Lake

Wanaka, Lake


As the southernmost fishing region in New Zealand, Southland can get very cold. Most fishing waters are the lakes and larger rivers near the coast. To see the full list check the Southland regulations

The following are some that are open.

- Aparima River, downstream from the Thornbury Bridge

- Hollyford River (but closed for salmon)

- Manapouri, Lake (some restrictions apply - check the regulations)

- Mavora, Lake (North and South)

- Mataura River - Gorge Road Bridge to the sea

- Monowai, Lake

- Te Anau, Lake (some restrictions apply - check the regulations)





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