HomeOtagoOtago: Where to fishLake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu is a well stocked deep glacial lake surrounded by soaring mountains and fed by a number of rivers that are important fisheries in their own right.

Fish type Brown trout, rainbow trout, salmon.
Situation This S-shaped lake, 80km long and up to 300m deep, runs from Glenorchy in the north, past Queenstown and south to Kingston. Being fed by glacial run-off it is very cold with temperatures reaching a maximum of 10 degrees.

Access map

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The barren terrain and lack of shallow inlets makes some fishing difficult. The more popular areas for boat and shore fishing are the Frankton Arm and the section near Kinloch and Glenorchy.

Due to the rugged terrain and lack of bays and inlets, trolling is very popular and accounts for most of the fish caught. Both lead lines and downriggers are popular. Trolling a lure around any area where a stream enters the lake can prove effective.

Brown trout congregate around the lake edges where they feed on insects from nearby vegetation. Any area where a small stream enters the lake can be good. If the weather permits, try casting a spinner or fly from a boat towards the shore in any likely looking spot.

Rainbow trout are often found in deeper water and most commonly targeted by trolling. In late winter they congregate around the river mouths before moving upstream to spawn.

Salmon are mostly small and caught by trolling though they can also be caught in autumn as they move to the river mouths in preparation for the spawning runs.

Fish numbers and size Salmon seldom exceed 1kg but are present in reasonable numbers in the lake.

Rainbow trout average 1-2kg but can reach in excess of 5kg.
Brown trout average 1kg, but 2-3kg fish are caught frequently.


Good road access is available up to the east side of the lake from Frankton to Glenorchy, and via SH6 from Frankton down to Kingston.

Most of the western side is only accessible by boat and there are boat ramps at Kingston, Kelvin Heights, Frankton Marina, Sunshine Bay and Glenorchy.

An unsealed road gives you access to the head of the lake west of Glenorchy to Kinloch.

Methods Fly fishing, spinning and trolling using either a downrigger or leadline.
Recommended lures

Beaded Hare, Green Stonefly, Green Cicada, yellow or green Humpy, Hare’s Ear, Hare and Copper.

Dry flies:
Wobblers, Royal Wulff, Dad’s Favourite, Black Gnat, Love’s Lure, green or brown Beetle.

Wet flies / streamers:
Grey Ghost, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Hairy Dog, Mrs Simpson.

Spinners: Rapala, Toby, King Cobra, Mepps, Tasmanian Devils.

Tributaries Tributaries to Lake Wakatipu include:
– Rees River
– Dart River
– Caples River
– Kawarau River
– Greenstone River
– Von River
– Lochy River
–Routeburn River
Regulations (1)
Applicable to Lake Wakatipu except the areas below
Region Otago regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit 2 trout; 4 salmon
Size limit (cm) None
Boat fishing Fishing from boats is permitted.
If fishing from a mechanically propelled boat, the boat must stay at least 100m from any angler fishing from the shore.
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Lake Wakatipu: Within the waters of Queenstown Bay bounded by a straight line drawn from the outermost point of Queenstown Gardens to the point where the south bank of One Mile Creek meets Lake Wakatipu.
Region Otago regulations
Season Closed
Methods None
Bag limit 0
Size limit (cm) N/A
Regulations (3)
Applicable to Lake Wakatipu: Within 100m of any part of the wharf in Black Bay (commonly known as the Walter Peak Jetty)
Region Otago regulations
Season Closed
Methods None
Bag limit 0
Size limit (cm) N/A

Other fishing waters of the region


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