HomeOtagoOtago: Where to fishLake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is a deep, glacial lake, offering challenging and unpredictable fishing from self–sustaining populations of salmon and trout.

Fish type Brown trout, rainbow trout, salmon.

Lake Wanaka lies north of Wanaka township, 3km west from the junction between SH6 and SH84. The lake covers 180km2 and is 300m at its deepest point.

The lake is a special holiday destination for families and tourists. Many small bays and deciduous trees provide shelter from the sun in warmer months.


Access map

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F&G pamphlet Lake Wanaka access pamphlet >>>
Description Shoreline fishing, where accessible, is possible but you’ll need a boat to reach the best fishing areas. Stevensons Arm, Glendhu Bay and Paddock Bay are popular fishing areas.

The type of fishing depends on the season. In summer, fish stay deep and feed in the morning and evening. In autumn, brown trout and salmon congregate near the river mouths and shoreline. In the winter and spring, rainbows congregate at the river mouths, brown trout near the drop-offs and close to the shore, and there salmon are also around.

When spin fishing, vary the length of the cast, the speed of retrieval, the depth and the lure. Fish are easily ambushed if you cast well in front of them across feeding areas like rocky and weedy spots.

Paddock Bay and Parkins Bay are good areas for stalking when fly angling and in mid to late November green beetles swarm over the water.


The east of the lake is accessible via roads off SH6. The southern part of the lake from Wanaka to West Wanaka.

Road access

There is a gravel road to Roys Bay just west of Wanaka, and foot access via the beach at the campground in Glendhu Bay.

Boat ramps

Most of the western side of the lake is only accessible by boat. Ramps are available at:

- Roy's Bay near Wanaka

- The lake outlet at Dublin Bay

- Waterfall Creek

- Glendhu Bay

- Camp Creek

- Wharf Creek off SH6 at the Makaroa delta

4WD boat access is available from the  Camp Creek and Dublin Bay beaches on the eastern side.

Recommended lures Nymphs: March Brown, Woolly Caddis, Hare’s Ear, Corixa, Black Gnat, Peacock, Damsel Fly, midge pupa, Pheasant Tail.

Dry flies:  Coch-y-Bondhu, Humpy, Black Gnat, Royal Wulff,  Dad’s Favourite, Twilight Beauty, Blue Dun, Kakahi Queen, Adams

Wet flies/Streamers: Woolly Bugger, Hamill’s Killer, Mrs Simpson, Rabbit, Grey Ghost, Muddler Minnow.

Spinners: Tinker, Toby, Z-Spinner, small Rapala, small green or gold/silver finnies, green/red or black Veltic. small green or gold/silver finnies, green/red or black Veltic.

Tributaries Tributaries to Lake Wanaka include:
– Makarora River
– Matukituki River
– Albert Burn
-  Dingle burn
– Hunter River
– Hawea River
– Wilkin River
Regulations (1)
Applicable to Lake Wanaka except the area 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 Within 150 metres of any part of the launch wharf at the township of Wanaka, within 150m of any part of the public jetty at the Wanaka Marina and anywhere within 150m of the shoreline between the wharf and the 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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