HomeNelson – MarlboroughNelson Marlborough: Where to fishMotupiko River

Motupiko River


The Motupiko River is a major tributary of the Motueka and an excellent dry fly water, particularly early and late in the season.

Fish type Brown trout
Situation 1 hr from Nelson; 35 minutes from Murchison
Setting A  scenic river that meanders over farmland and through bush allowing easy access to some top quality dry fly and nymphing water.

Access map

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Description The river is a mixture of sparkling riffles, long glides and surprisingly deep pools over a mostly gravel bed. The majority of the river is through open farmland with  plenty of overhanging vegetation providing shelter for the fish especially during the heat of the summer months. Careful observation around overhanging vegetation will often reveal fish feeding on small insects floating by. Due to the clear water delicate casts with reasonably long fine leaders are recommended.
Fish numbers and size Fish numbers are highest in the early part of the season when fish are returning to the main river (the Motueka) after spawning. Average size is around 3lb though some larger fish are always present. Numbers are average.
Ease of fishing A challenging river with very clear water requiring stealth and accurate casting with light gear. Easily waded.

The river follows Highway 6 though it is usually around 300 metres away from the road. Five access points are well signposted. Otherwise seek permission from land-owners to cross their properties to the river. See the access map

Recommended lures

Nymphs: Any Pheasant Tail variant or Hare and Copper (14 or 16 sizes or even smaller during the very warm months).

Dry flies: Greenwell's Glory, Coch-y-Bondhu, Adams, Kakahi Queen, Beetle patterns (in early summer) and cicada patterns (from mid summer) during the day and Twilight
Beauty and Dad's Favourite for the evening rise.

Wet flies: Greenwell's Glory, Grouse and Purple and Red Tipped Govenor.

Applicable to Motupiko River
Region Nelson Marlborough
Season 1 October to 30 April
Methods Artificial fly and spinner
Bag limit 2 (with only one fish exceeding 500mm in length)
Size limit (cm) No minimum size

Other fishing waters of the region


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