New Zealand offers some of the best trout fishing in the world – hard fighting, well-conditioned brown and rainbow trout in gin-clear rivers and lakes. And don’t forget the salmon!

The freshwater fishing is great value for money by international standards. 

If you are a visiting angler and want to fish for longer than a couple of days, or want access to back country fisheries, you will need to buy a full season adult Non-Resident licence (NRL).

For shorter trips and non back country fisheries you can purchase a non-resident day licence for adults, juniors and children.

An NRL allows the holder the freedom to fish anywhere in the country (except Taupo) as often as they like over several visits within the same season if they wish (usually from 1 October to 1 30 September, but check the local regulations as season length can varty from water to water).The Taupo fishery requires a separate licence, whether you are a Kiwi or a non-resident. The Taupo licence is available from the Department of Conservation.

Buying an NRL also allows you to apply for an endorsement providing access to New Zealand’s renowned back country wilderness fisheries, at no extra cost. The process is straightforward – once you have your whole season NRL, you simply apply for a free Designated Waters Licence for the region of your choice.

These back country rivers are wild and wonderful places, but are inherently sensitive and need careful management of fish populations and angling pressure. The endorsement allows Fish & Game to monitor just how much pressure these fisheries are getting and better manage them.

If you are fishing for only a few hours, or perhaps one or two days, a One Day licence gives you the best value.

The way New Zealand’s freshwater fishing and game bird hunting is managed by Fish & Game is an historic system dating back more than 150 years. The core principle is that freshwater sports fish anglers and game bird hunters pay for and manage the resource they enjoy. Fish & Game doesn’t receive any funding from central or regional government, and doesn’t benefit from international visitor spending on local transport, accommodation or attractions.

As a result, the entire cost of protecting, managing and administering the country’s world famous freshwater fishery falls on licence holders. Each fishing licence sold represents that angler’s contribution to the total cost. Any increased revenue to Fish & Game NZ from this NRL category goes specifically towards the improvement of back country fisheries management.

So enjoy the fishing knowing that you are contributing to the cost of managing and protecting this country’s unique resources.

Visit Fish & Game’s regional offices and talk to staff about where to go, or ask for the free informative brochures detailing local rivers and fishing techniques. These are also available at sports shops where Fish & Game licences are sold.

Enjoy one of the world’s best fisheries in the knowledge that you are also contributing to its protection and maintenance for future generations.

Non-resident licence

If you are a visitor from overseas planning a fishing trip, you must purchase a Non-Resident Licence (NRL).

Bringing equipment into NZ

Fishing flies which are clean and dry are not confiscated by New Zealand Customs officials when you arrive in the country.