HomeCentral South IslandCSI: Where to FishLake Clearwater

Lake Clearwater

Lake Clearwater is a pristine water in an exposed mountain valley that holds a good stock of rainbow and brown trout.

Fish type A good population of brown and rainbow trout averaging around 1.5 kg.
Situation Lake Clearwater is situated in a wide tussock covered mountain valley surrounded by high, generally snow covered, mountain peaks at the headwaters of the Ashburton River.
Maps and conditions

Access map

View the MetService weather forecast


Lake Clearwater is a challenging and at times frustrating fishery. It is subjected to the strong northwesterly wind that seems to blow almost constantly. There is little shelter on the lake from the wind which can make fishing very difficult at times. The water appears slightly tinged with colour but is clear enough to be able to spot cruising fish on those days when the wind is absent.

Due to the wind, the best time to fish is early in the morning, or during the evening when the wind sometimes drops. When flyfishing from the shore it is possible to move around the lake so that the wind is blowing from behind.


The road to Lake Clearwater is well signposted from Mount Somers on State Highway 72. This road take you directly to the small settlement of Lake Clearwater, from which a number of paths and walkways lead to various sections of the lake. See the access map.

Methods and tackle

Most fishing is shore-based, with streamer flies being the most popular method, and otherwise spin fishing. Trout will rise to take terrestrial insects that blow onto the lake.

When the conditions are right, i.e. the  wind is not too strong, it is possible to stalk cruising trout along the shallows using light floating or intermediate lines. During the warmer weather, when surface activity is spotted, large bushy flies with a trailing nymph can be productive.

When the wind is blowing, heavier lines are necessary. Because the lake shelves gradually, floating or very slow sinking lines are recommended.

The air around Lake Clearwater is very clear and trout are easily spooked by aerial casting over the water so false casting should be kept to a minimum.

Recommended lures

Dry fly: Large bushy flies such as a Humpy or Coch-Y Bondhu can work well during late summer.

Nymphs: Dark nymphs in damsel or dragonfly patterns.

The most popular flies a large wet streamers in bully patterns such as Hamill's Killer, Mrs Simpson or a Woolly Bugger.

Spinners such as Toby's and Rapalas in dark colours.

Applicable to Lake Clearwater and its tributaries
Region Central South Island regulations
Open season

First Saturday in November to 30 April

Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Size limit Trout: No limit
Bag limit Trout: 2

Other fishing waters of the region


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