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Otago Harbour

Since thousands of quinnat salmon smolt were released into a river near Dunedin in 1985, big salmon have been caught from the wharves in Otago Harbour. The Otago salmon fishery is restocked with smolt each year by the Otago Branch of the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association as it is not completely self-sustaining.

Fish type Quinnat salmon. The size and numbers vary from year to year.

Otago Harbour, Dunedin.

The Leith Stream is the only rivers that flows directly into Otago Harbour,  though the mouth of the Taieri River is nearby.


Access map by Google

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Annual competition In February or March each year, the NZ Salmon Anglers Association holds a salmon fishing competition at Otago Harbour.

The competition will be held on 6th & 7th March 2021. 

Tickets can be obtained from Dunedin Hunting and Fishing and Elios Gun Shop, Dunedin form February.

Methods Fish are caught either on bait or by trolling lures behind a boat with the aid of a paravane, or in some cases a downrigger (methods rarely used for salmon fishing elsewhere in New Zealand).


Within the harbour and outside the entrance off Taiaora Head.

Bait fishing


The inner harbour and Port Chalmers wharves

Recommended tackle

Generally an eight foot rod and 20lb monofilament line. However, a 12 foot rod helps to keep the float and the hooked salmon from tangling with the wharf piles.

Use a whole baitfish hooked with two to three hooks  suspended  just off the bottom with the aid of a float. Use 40lb mono for the rig.

A drop-net is essential.

Local anglers use various devices to hold the rod safely so that the rod tip and the float are kept away from the wharf during the hours of waiting for a bite.


Locally caught yellow-eyed mullet about 10-20cm in length or frozen pilchards (imported from Australia) purchased from local tackle stores.

Tributaries Leith Stream
Applicable to The waters of Leith downstream from Leith Street foot bridge
Region Otago
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit 3 sport fish of which only 2 may be salmon.
Size limit (cm) Salmon: 450mm minimum

Other fishing waters of the region


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