HomeWest CoastWest Coast: Where to fishOkuru River

Okuru River

The Okuru River is a remote backcountry river that provides excellent fishing for large brown trout in a pristine environment.

Fish type Brown trout with sea run trout in the tidal area and estuary. There are good numbers of trout with many reaching very impressive sizes of up to 8lbs or more.

In the upper reaches, brown trout average 2kg.

Situation Approximately 12 kms from Haast Junction
Setting The Okuru is in a very beautiful setting in the remote southern section of the West Coast. Large mountains rise as a backdrop and the river runs through a wide forest lined valley till it reaches the lowlands where it meanders over a wide plain before entering the Tasman Sea. In the upper reaches the angler is treated to wonderful scenery where large waterfalls cascade over high valley ridges and the through verdant native forests of huge trees and ferns. Being the West Coast however it is also very wet for much of the time and any angler coming to this area should come prepared for rain (and lots of it).

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast
Description The Okuru is a remote back-country river offering excellent fishing to those who visit this area. The lower reaches have some large resident fish but the numbers of these large fish rises dramatically when the whitebait enter the river estuary from around October to December each year. (Note that this can also reduce the number of large fish in the upper reaches during this period.)

The river is rain fed and in the upper reaches is mostly gin clear running over a stone and gravel bed through a beautiful bush covered valley - a real treasure that should be respected by all anglers fishing this river.

Ease of fishing The lower reaches provide easy fishing for the angler as the river flows over farmland and open terrain. In the tidal area when the whitebait are running many fish will migrate downstream to feed on the feast that these small fish offer. Excellent fishing can be had at this time. Many areas above this section are hard to negotiate through the dense bush and rugged terrain however.

The upper reaches, while reasonably easy to fish, require a considerable tramp in unless flying in by helicopter. The upper reaches offer good night fishing in clear mountain water and there is good water upstream from Franklin Hut until the river reaches the bush.

Access The lower reaches can be accessed from the Haast Junction to Jackson Bay Road where several small side roads give the angler access to a reasonable section of the lower reaches.

The middle and upper reaches need to be walked into unless using a helicopter. It's a full day's tramp from the road to Franklin Hut.

Recommended lures Nymphs: Small nymphs such as Hare and Copper, Pheasant Tail and Caddis imitations all work well in sizes 14 or smaller.

Dry flies: Small flies such as Royal Wulff, Hardies Favourite, Dad's Favourite and March Brown all work well at all times of the day. Fish bushier flies such as Coch-y-Bondhu and Humpy over the faster water.

Wet flies: Small wets like Greenwell's Glory, March Brown and emerger Sedge patterns work well when fished sub-surface. These flies are particularly effective when fishing the evening rise. Large flies such as a Parson's Glory or Grey Ghost are excellent when the trout are chasing the whitebait in the lower reaches and estuary. Use large dark patterns such as a Hairy Dog or Scotch Poacher during the night.

Spinners: Small bladed spinners (Mepps or Veltic) fished upstream into the faster water or through the deep pools. Spinners such as a Gold or Silver Toby also work well in the lower reaches when the whitebait are running.

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Okuru River upstream of Haast/Jackson Bay Road
Region West Coast
Season 1 Oct-30 Apr
Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total sports fish: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Okuru River downstream of Haast/Jackson Bay Road
Region West Coast

Trout: All year

Salmon: 1 Oct-30 Apr

Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total sports fish: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit

Other fishing waters of the region


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