HomeNelson – MarlboroughNelson Marlborough: Where to fishPelorus River

Pelorus River


The Pelorus is a serene and beautiful river holding large number of both rainbow and brown trout. It offers different types of water for all angling skill levels and many open stretches with good access.
Fish type Rainbow and brown trout
Situation 35 km/ 0.5 hr from Blenheim
80 km/ 1 hr from Nelson

Upper Pelorus access map

Lower Pelorus access map

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Upper reaches


The upper reaches of the Pelorus above the Tinline stream offers true wilderness fishing. Some areas are closed in by vegetation.

Fish numbers and size

Larger mostly brown trout are caught in the upper reaches and the Wakamarina tributary.


The upper reaches above the Pelorus Bridge require some effort to get to as here the river flows through a native bush lined valley. There is excellent access to the
headwaters by taking a well-marked walking track from above the Tinline Stream. Some DOC huts provide overnight accommodation.

See the Upper Pelorus access map.

The Tinline The Tinline is a small stream that enters the upper reaches of the Pelorus and holds some fish. It is best fished early in the season before the warmer drier weather reduces its flow.
Middle reaches


The middle section of the Pelorus has a number of glides and rapids flowing over a stone and gravel base. The middle section is easy to fish as it flows over
open farmland allowing good unrestricted casting.

The section around Pelorus Bridge can get a number of swimmers making fishing frustrating (for anglers) during the summer months.

The middle reaches below Pelorus Bridge are easy fishing as the river flows through open land over a rock and gravel bed

Fish numbers and size

Numbers are very high especially in the middle and lower reaches where fish average around 0.5 to 1.2 kg.


Above the Pelorus Bridge the Maungatapu road follows the river for several kilometers with a few access points signposted.

See the Upper Pelorus access map.

Downstream from the Pelorus Bridge the main Blenheim / Nelson Highway follows the river for many kilometres and has several well signposted access points for anglers.

See the Lower Pelorus access map.

Otherwise it is necessary to seek permission from landowners to cross their properties as the river can be some distance from the road.

Lower reaches


The very lower reaches are wider and more difficult in that the river is generally wide and deep. In this section there can be some good catches of sea-run fish

Fish numbers and size

The lower reaches are deep and hold good fish stocks but are best suited to spinning. Fish average around 0.5 to 1.2 kg.


See the Lower Pelorus access map.

Tributaries The Rai, the Wakamarina are major tributaries of the Pelorus. Other smaller rivers and streams such as the Tinline also hold some fish.
Recommended lures

Small nymphs such as Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tails and caddis imitations (all work well in sizes 14 or smaller. Some weight is required to get the flies down to fish in the deeper pools in the lower reaches).

Dry flies:
Small flies such as Hardies Favourite, Dad's Favourite and March Brown all work well at all times of the day. Fish bushier flies over the faster water.

Wet flies:
Small wets like Greenwell's Glory, March Brown and emerger sedge patterns such as such as Invicta or Caddis Emerger work well when fished sub-surface.

Spinners: Small bladed spinners (Mepps or Veltic) fished into the faster water or through the deep pools are best for this small river. As there are rainbow trout in the Pelorus they respond well to flashier colours such as gold and red when spinning.

Regulations (1):
Applicable to: Pelorus River upstream of its confluence with the Rai. Closed to salmon fishing.
Region Nelson/Marlborough
Season Oct 1 to April 30
Methods Fly and spinner
Bag limit 2 fish (with only one fish to exceed 500mm in length)
Size limit (cm) No minimum size
Regulations (2):
Applicable to: Pelorus River downstream of its confluence with the Rai
Region Nelson/Marlborough
Season All year
Methods All legal methods: artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit 2 fish
Size limit (cm) No minimum size

Other fishing waters of the region


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