HomeNelson – MarlboroughNelson Marlborough: Where to fishLake Rotoroa

Lake Rotoroa

Lake Rotoroa is a beautiful deep mountain lake surrounded by dense native bush and high mountains. It has a large self-sustaining population of large brown trout.
Fish type Brown and rainbow trout
Situation 30 minutes from St Arnaud, 1 hour from Nelson.
Setting Lake Rotoroa is a remote and very beautiful deep water lake within the Nelson Lakes National Park. While it can easily be reached by road, most of the lake is surrounded by virgin native forest requiring anglers to either walk or take a boat or water taxi to reach the many wonderful fishing opportunities it offers. It is the source of the boisterous Gowan River and has two top quality wilderness rivers, the D'Urville and the Sabine at its head. A small settlement is found near where the Gowan river leaves the lake but otherwise this is a truly wilderness area offering excellent fishing for wild brown trout that can grow to impressive sizes.

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast
Description The lake is very deep and has very cold clear water throughout the year making it an ideal fishing venue even in the hottest months. While a boat will open more venues to fish and more ways to fish, shore based anglers will also find that they will see plenty of action especially where the D'Urville and Sabine enter the lake and where the Gowan leaves. Other than these areas however there is very little scope for the land based anglers as the water shelves away quickly fro m the shore providing no platform to stand and fish from. Good fishing can also be found where-ever any small tributary enters the lake.
Fish numbers and size There is an excellent head of fish in the lake (and the surrounding rivers) Fish average between 3-4lbs but bigger fish are often caught, some reaching impressive sizes.
Ease of fishing There are plenty of opportunities for those fishing from boats while the shore based angler may be required to walk some distance on well defined paths around the lake. Many areas have a steep drop-off close to the shore and the heavily vegetated shoreline makes land-based fishing difficult.

Access is via the Gowan Valley Rd which is off State Highway 6 between Nelson and Murchison. See the access map.

Recommended lures

Large heavily weighted nymphs in sizes from 10 - 14 work best. Any Pheasant Tail, Hare and Copper or Green Stonefly patterns work well.

Dry flies:
Fishing terrestrial 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.

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 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 Rotoroa 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 Rotoroa of:
- Sabine River
- D'Urville River
- Gowan 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

Other fishing waters of the region


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