HomeOtagoOtago: Where to fishManorburn Dams

Upper and Lower Manorburn Dams


The Upper Manorburn is a large, deep dam containing rainbow trout only and is a secluded spinning and fly fishing waterway with a good catch rate. It is linked to the Lower Manorburn.

Fish type Rainbow trout.

The Upper Manorburn Dam is situated south-east of Alexandra and north of Lake Onslow, 700m above sea level in the Central Otago plateau.

This 700ha dam combines two deep reservoirs connected by a gorge called The Narrows. The dam has a shoreline of 14km, so plenty of room for anglers, and a catch rate among the best of all the still waters in the region.


Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast

November and December are the best months, with March and April also being good. January and February can be too bright.

Fishing is best at dawn and dusk. Spinning and fly fishing are successful, particularly when it’s overcast. Fly fishing is the better option in smaller bays but elsewhere the dam’s steep banks and deep water make spinning more suitable.

Alternatively, try worm fishing and deep trolling from a boat.

Fish numbers and size



Road access

There is only one access road to the dam. From Alexandra: turn right 3.5km north of Alexandra on SH85 then right again at a junction 15km in.

A rough gravel road takes you 17km in to the fishing huts at the dam and further down the east side to Gravel Beach. Other tracks leaving this road are 4WD only.

Boat access

Access is available here at the dam and further down at Gravel Beach. The best way to the lower Greenland Reservoir is by boat. Look out for submerged rocks at the
start of the narrows.

Methods Mainly spinning and fly fishing.
Recommended lures

Bradshaw Fancy

Wet flies:
Mrs Simpson, Casual Dress, Grey Ghost, Dorothy fished in mid-water or near the bottom.

Spinners: Toby, Rapala, Jensen insects, Tasmanian Devil, Kiwi Lure, Legend Minnow, Tinker, Toby.

Tributaries Manorburn Creek.
Applicable to Manorburn Dam Upper
Region Otago regulations
Season 1 Nov-31 May
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit 4
Size limit (cm) None

Other fishing waters of the region