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Southland: Where to fish


Best fly fishing for trout

The Mataura River is reputed to be the ultimate in dry fly angling for brown trout, with nearly 150km of easily accessed waters.

The Eglinton River has abundant trout with fly fishing only permitted. It's a magnificent river with crystal clear waters which make the trout easier to spot than to catch.

The Oreti River is a popular and highly regarded fly-fishing river that offers superlative brown trout fishing. Trout can be sighted in the clear waters and individual fish targeted.

Challenging trout fishing

The Hollyford River lies in remote, rugged terrain and is a challenge for experienced and fit anglers in search of brown trout.

Trout fishing for novices

Waiau River is the largest of the Southland rivers, well stocked and a great choice for novice fly anglers though it can be a difficult water to fish when the river is high. There are limited land access points and so it is recommended that anglers take advantage of the boats that take people out to the best fishing spots.

Boat fishing near world-class tourist facilities

Lake Te Anau’s extensive eastern shore offers boat ramps and easy shoreline access for spin anglers targeting brown trout. World-class tourist facilities are nearby.


Most Southland rivers are fish best in a light southerly wind. A north-westerly wind can also be good if you are casting from a sheltered spot. During an easterly however, the fish seem reluctant to feed.

Other fishing waters of the region is the complete guide to New Zealand trout and salmon fishing.

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