HomeCentral South IslandCSI: Where to FishLake Opuha

Lake Opuha


Lake Opuha is a 700 hectare man-made lake, built with the purpose of acting as an irrigation reservoir, which offers good fishing. The lake lies hidden away and sheltered within the Fairlie Basin, 12km from the township of Fairlie. As well as fishing, the lake is used in summer for boating, kayaking and water skiing.

Fish type Lake Opuha boasts three introduced species of fish. Rainbow trout were in the Opuha river before the dam was built; brown trout and salmon have been released since. Lake Opuha salmon are landlocked by the Opuha dam and generally have a life expectancy of three years.
Situation Stored winter and spring river flow is released in summer for stock watering and domestic and industrial use. In addition to water storage, Lake Opuha provides electricity with a small scale hydro 7.5MW electric plant on the outlet of the dam at the head of the Opuha River gorge. The Opuha River then flows south-easterly to join the Opihi River.

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast. 

View the rainfall. 

View  the lake level.


Lake Opuha is great fishing lake if you have access to a boat. Power boats are mallowed on the lake and there are several boat ramps to get you launched on to  this wide warm body of placid water. Spaces for camping and picnics are large and well spread out.

The Lions Club run a fishing competition on the lake every November in conjunction with CSI Fish & Game.


Turn off SH79 east of the Opihi River and Fairlie and follow Clayton Road, a long straight tar-sealed road, to Lake Opuha. See the Opihi/Opuha River access map.

Methods Trolling from a boat or spinning from the shore work best.
Recommended lures

Dry flies: Cicadas, hoppers and crickets in the summer. Small caddis patterns in the evenings when fish rise

Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, midges

Wet flies: Woolly Bugger

Spinners: Small bladed lures such as mepps and veltic

Applicable to Lake Opuha and its tributaries (but not the Opuha River)
Region Central South Island regulations
Season Trout: 1 Oct-30 Apr
Salmon: 1 Oct-31 Mar
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit 6 trout or salmon in total.
Trout: 4
Salmon 6
Size limit (cm) Trout: No limit
Salmon: 300 mm minimum

Other fishing waters of the region


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