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Lake Rotoiti Trout Fishing

Lake Rotoiti is a deep clean lake surrounded by forest covered mountains and home to a good population of self-sustaining brown trout.

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Fish type Brown trout
Situation 1 hour 15 minutes from Nelson. 1 hour from Blenheim
Setting This lake which provides the source of the Buller River is deep and clean and home to a large population of brown trout. It is fed by the snow-fed waters of the Travers River which enters the lake at its head or at the southern end. It is surrounded by bush which mostly comes down to the waters edge making fishing difficult from the shoreline.

Access map
Access map with topography

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

Check conditions View MetService weather forecast for Nelson Lakes National Park.
F&G pamphlet Buller River access pamphlet  >>>
Description The clear cold waters of the lake and the surrounding bush makes for ideal trout habitat. Due to the closeness of the bush there are limited opportunities for the shore based angler though good fishing can be had around the outlet to the Buller River and at the southern end where the Travers River enters the lake. Mostly it is fished by trolling or spinning or fly fishing from a boat.
Fish numbers and size Fish numbers are good and they avaerage size is between 3 - 4lbs. Large fish are regularly caught however and there is always the chance of a trophy fish in these waters.
Ease of fishing Most fishing is from a boat (there are two boat ramps; one at St Arnaud and the other at the northern end of the lake). There is excellent fishing to be had where the Buller leaves the lake and at the mouth of the Travers at the southern end.

St Arnaud which is the only town on Lake Rotoiti is reached via highway 63 which turns of the Murchison Blenheim highway (State Highway 6) at Howard Junction.

See the access map.

Recommended lures

Nymphs: Large heavily weighted nymphs in sizes from 8 - 14 work best. Any Pheasant Tail, Hare and Copper or Green Stonefly patterns work well.

Dry flies: Fishing terrestial flies around the shore line can be productive in the warmer months and particularly in the early morning or evening. Patterns such as Humpy, Coch-y-Bondhu, Royal Wulff or any large sedge pattern can work if the trout are near the surface.  When trout are seen to be rising in the warmer months, a green beetle or cicada pattern can be effective.

Wet flies: Usually large streamer flies are fished in the lake. Trolled or harled flies such as Parson's Glory or a Rabbit fly work well. Use dark colours at night (eg Craig's Night-Time or Hairy Dog) and lighter colours during the day.

Spinners: Spinners either cast or trolled are very popular and effective. Toby patterns, Tasmanian Devils or Cobra work well.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Lake Rotoiti except for the areas defined below.
Region Nelson/Marlborough >>>
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner and bait.
Down riggers are permitted
Bag limit 4 of which only 2 may be salmon
Size limit (cm) None
Regulations (2)
Applicable to:

Within 100 metres from the centre meeting line with Lake Rotoiti of:
- Travers River
- Coldwater Stream
- Black Valley Stream
- Buller River

Region Nelson/Marlborough >>>
Season 1 October - 30 April (closed 1 May - 30 September)
Methods Artificial fly, spinner and bait.
Fishing from a boat is prohibited at all times.
Bag limit 4 of which only 2 may be salmon
Size limit (cm) None




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