HomeWest CoastWest Coast: Where to fishTurnbull River

Turnbull River


The Turnbull River is a wilderness river offering anglers the chance to fish for trophy size trout in a pristine environment.

Fish type Brown trout
Situation Approximately 13 kilometers from the Haast junction on the Jackson Bay Road
Setting The Turnbull River runs through a pristine environment that offers anglers a chance to fish for truly wild fish in gin-clear water. The forest setting and the mountain backdrop make this a wonderful fishing venue but beware the sand-flies and prepare to get rained

Access map

Check conditions View the MetService weather forecast
Description Despite the high rainfall, the river is generally clean and clear (and does quickly clear after any heavy rain). The very lower reaches are estuarine and are really only of interest when the whitebait are running between the months of October to December. The section that flows over farmland and through bush below the power station offers the angler a wide variety of waters to fish to sighted fish that can grow to impressive sizes. The river holds a lot of debris such as tree trunks and skill is needed to land one of these hard fighting fish.
Fish numbers and size In the lower reaches below the power station in Venture Gorge there are good numbers of very large trophy size trout that range up to 10lb in size. Above the power station however there are no fish at all.
Ease of fishing The lower reaches offer good access to a wide range of excellent fishing areas. While it may be easy to cast to the fish you see, fooling them into taking your offering however is another story.
Access View the Turnbull River access map.
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 which can also work as indicators with a lightly weighted nymph suspended below.

Wet flies: Small wets like Greenwell's Glory, March Brown and sedge emerger 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 Turnbull 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 Turnbull 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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