HomeCentral South IslandCSI: Where to FishLake Benmore

Lake Benmore


Lake Benmore is a large man-made lake that holds numerous trout and salmon, and offers excellent fishing either trolling from a boat or fishing from the shore.

Fish type Brown and rainbow trout, salmon

Lake Benmore was formed from the upper reaches of the Waitaki River by a hydro-electric power dam. It has two arms: the Ahuriri Arm and the Haldon Arm. The latter has some swift-flowing water as a result of the Benmore Dam. The lake is popular for many water sport activities and anglers may find themselves competing for solitude if staying close to the main areas.

Lake Benmore is located in the Mackenzie Country between Twizel, Omarama and Otematata.


Access map

Check conditions

View the lake level

View the MetService weather forecast.

Waitaki lakes pamphlet The Waitaki Lakes Recreational Information pamphlet, available at the Environment Canterbury website, includes sections on the lakes, safe boat navigation, camping, hydro power station statistics, wildlife and plants, local walks, and important contact information.

Deep trolling is popular even in winter when snow covers the surrounding the countryside.  In favourable conditions in summer, you may spot cruising fish in the shallower bays.

Fly fishing: The clear snow-fed water of the Ahuriri delta and mouth make for good fly fishing either at night or stalking the brown trout that lie in the shallows during the day. In calm clear conditions, cast into a sandy patch and wait for a trout to approach before twitching or moving the fly. Rainbows tend to cruise the edges of the deeper water. Keep low to avoid being spotted by them and cast ahead of them.

Fish numbers and size The lake holds vast stocks of brown and rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. The average trout weights in at 0.75-1.5kg.

Boat ramps:

There are boat ramps:
- At Sailors Cutting on Ahuriri Arm
- Off Grays Road at the Haldon Boat Harbour

Haldon Arm:

Near Burke Pass, turn off SH8 at Dog Kennel Corner and take the Halson Road to the east side of Haldon Arm.

In dry weather only, from SH8, take the Tekapo Canal Road and its extension which follow the true right bank of the Tekapo River from the Tekapo powerhouse to Haldon Arm (there are unbridged fords to cross).

From Ruataniwha Dam, a road leads to the west side of Haldon Arm.

Ahuriri Arm: 

From SH83, take the road to the Benmore Dam and Ahuriri delta.

Recommended lures

Nymphs: Pheasant Tail, dragon fly nymph.

Dry flies: Coch-y-Bondhu, Royal Wulff, green or yellow Humpy. Palmer varieties

Streamers: At night use a black lure such as Hairy Dog, Black Phantom, Mrs Simpson, Fuzzy Wuzzy

Spinners: Black Toby, Flatfish

Tributaries Tributaries to Lake Benmore
- Ahuriri River
- Tekapo River
- Falstone Creek
- Otematapaio River
- Black Forest Stream
- Stony River
Regulations (1):
Applicable to 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: 300 mm minimum
Regulations (2):
Applicable to Lake Benmore tributaries except Tekapo, Ahuriri and Otematapaio rivers
Region Central South Island regulations
Season First Saturday in November to 30 April

No fishing for sockeye salmon 1 March - 30 April

Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait.
Exception: Bait fishing is not permitted if fished from a boat or flotation device.
Bag limit Trout: 4
Salmon: 2
Size limit (cm) Trout: No limit
Salmon: 300 mm minimum

Other fishing waters of the region


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