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Backcountry licences

For a few specific rivers the Otago and Wellington regions you must apply for a Back Country Licence in addition to the standard Fish & Game licence.

There is no extra charge but you need to register to provide Fish and Game with a full list of backcountry fishery users and to enable it to monitor angler use on those fisheries.

The backcountry fisheries licence is effectively an endorsement on a whole season licence. A whole season licence holder can use their Backcountry Fisheries Licence subject in the regulations that apply in that region.

   Back Country Licences

Because of high use, a back country licence, at no extra cost, is also required for some rivers. Back-country licences are required for the following waters:


  • The Caples River, a tributary of the Greenstone.
  • The Greenstone River upstream of the swing-bridge at the river mouth car park catchment. In addition, a booking system controls the number of anglers on sections of the upper Greenstone during the controlled fishery fishery period from 1 Feb to 31 March.
  • Dingle Burn catchment above the bridge on the Dingle Burn Station access road
  • Upper Lochy catchment above the confluence with Disputed Creek
  • Nevis River
  • Hunter River
  • Wilkin River
  • Young River


  • Ettrick Burn


Nelson Marlborough


Obtaining a Back Country Licence

You need to apply to the relevant Fish and Game Council to have your licence endorsed as a backcountry licence. You can get full details, view maps and and apply online at the Fish & Game website.

  Greenstone River Controlled Fishery Licence

As well as a Backcountry Licence, a Controlled Fishery Licence is required to fish on the Upper Greenstone River and its tributary streams in Otago during the period between 1st February and 31 March each year.

Angling opportunity is limited during this time so that anglers can have a reach of the river or ‘beat’ to themselves for a one or two day period. The aim of this restriction is to preserve the quality of angling experience by limiting angler density.

Obtaining a Controlled Fishery Licence

Anglers must hold a Backcountry Licence in order to apply for a Controlled Fishery Licence.

You must have licence details ready (whole season licence number and backcountry licence number) when making your booking. Booking periods are only available between five days in advance and the same day.

Controlled Fishery Licences are obtainable through an online booking system at the Fish & Game website which operates five days in advance.

   For more information and enquiries

For more information see the Guide to Backcountry Fishery Regulations at the Fish & Game website.

For enquiries, contact the following:

Otago Fish & Game

Southland Fish & Game

Westland Fish & Game

Nelson Marlborough Fish & Game

Wellington Fish and Game


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