HomeOtagoOtago: Where to fishDart River

Dart River


The Dart is a remote and beautiful river that flows into Lake Wakitipu at its northern tip. Despite its beauty however, it is not a highly regarded river to fish though some of its tributaries such as the Routeburn do hold reasonable stocks of fish.

Fish type Brown trout
Situation The Dart flows from the Forbes and Humbolt mountains in a southerly direction to enter Lake Wakitipu in its northern arm.

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The Dart is a shingle bed river that is prone to flooding due to the high rainfall in the area. The wide river bed is testimony to the huge flows of water that can move down after heavy rain. This combined with the snow and glacial melt makes it poor habitat for to sustain a good population of fish. There is very good fishing around the mouth where it and the nearby Rees River enters Lake Wakatipu and some of the small tributaries hold fish.

During the drier summer months some fish move into the river from the lake and some of the tributaries but this water is best appreciated for the scenery in which you will be fishing rather than the the fishing itself.

Methods This water is suited to both spinning and fly fishing.
Recommended tackle Rods capable of casting into a strong wind which can blow down the valley at any time of the year.
Recommended lures

Big bushy weighted nymphs are best when there is colour in the river.

Dry flies:
Big bushy flies such as a humpy or Coch-y-bondhu or a blowfly pattern during the warmer summer months.

Wet flies:
Any large wet fly such as a Red Setter, Mrs Simpson or a Rabbit pattern.

Spinners: Black and gold tobys and rapalas.

Tributaries The main tributary is the Routeburn River
Applicable to Dart River
Region Otago regulations
Season 1 Oct - 30 April
Methods Spinner and artificial fly
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) None

Other fishing waters of the region


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