HomeOtagoOtago: Where to fishYoung River

Young River


The Young River is a remote tributary of the Makarora that offers good fishing for a reasonable population of mainly rainbow trout in a beautiful mountain setting.

Fish type Mainly rainbow trout (averaging around 1.5 - 2 kgs) with some larger browns also present.
Situation The Young rises in the Mt Aspiring National Park and flows east to join the Makarora just above Lake Wanaka.

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Description The Young is a small fast flowing mountain stream that is generally clear enough to spot fish. It is however very popular with both anglers and trampers. The best fishing requires a walk of a few kilometres above the confluence with the Makarora along a track that follows the true left bank.

In the middle reaches the river is made up of a series of pools and fast runs between well vegetated banks of tussock and beech trees. The water flows a mixture of rock and stone and there good food for the fish as well as good holding water. There is  good fishing for several kilometres until a steep sided gorge is reached on the North Branch.

Access To get to the Young requires a good walk and for the angler to cross the Makarora (which should only be attempted when the water is low). Otherwise get the jet boat from the village to take you to the confluence or hire a helicopter (or guide and let them worry about how to get you there)
Methods This is excellent nymph and dry fly water. Those who prefer wet fly fishing will also find good opportunities as will the spin fisherman.
Recommended tackle Rods between 8 foot 6 and 9 feet capable of casting a weight 5 - 6 line. Long leaders are needed as the water clarity is good.
Recommended lures

Roughly tied Hare and Coppers, Halfbacks, Hares Ears and Pheasants Tails.

Dry flies:
Attractor patterns such as a Royal Wulff throughout the season and cicadas and blowflies  or bluebottles in summer.

Wet flies:
Mrs Simpson, Kilwell, Lords Killer or even smelt patterns fished across and down the current can attract these rainbows. Spider patterns are also a useful variant to have on hand.

Spinners: Red veltics or mepps, rapalas and toby patterns.

Tributaries The upper reaches have two branches. The North Branch which is good and the South which should be ignored.
Applicable to Young River
Region Otago regulations
Season 1 Nov - 31 May. A backcountry licence is now required to fish the Young
Methods Artificial fly and spinner
Bag limit 1
Size limit (cm) None

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