The upper section of the Ōhau River from its confluence with Lake Ruataniwha upstream to the Lake Ōhau Weir, commonly known as the Upper Ōhau River, is a controlled area. Special controlled period licencing requirements apply to this river during the months of September and October. The controlled period is commonly referred to as the “Spring Season”.

Controlled Area: The Ōhau River from its confluence with Lake Ruataniwha upstream to the Lake Ōhau Weir.

Controlled Period: 1st Saturday in September 2024 – 1 November 2024.

Open Season: 1st Saturday in November 2024 – 30 April 2025.

Method: Fly and Spin only.

Daily Bag Limit: 2 trout, 2 salmon.

Access: All access points to the river requires driving on rough gravel roads. Access to the uppermost section at the Lake Ōhau weir via Glen Lyon Road and the river’s mouth area via the Ōhau A Power Station Road are usually passable by all vehicles. The gravel road that follows the true right (South) riverbank, starting at the Ōhau Weir, skirting the river and Lake Ruataniwha and ending near the Ōhau B Canal Bridge on State Highway 8, generally requires a high clearance 4WD vehicle to access and is not recommended for cars.

Controlled-Period Licence Requirements

To help maintain high-country fishery aesthetics and angler satisfaction during the Spring Season, a ballot (lottery) is held to randomly distribute a limited number of controlled-period licences to fish the Ōhau River for the months of September and October only.

Winners of the ballots are issued with a controlled period licence valid for a specified 2-day fishing allocation only.

Only anglers that are named on controlled-period licences are permitted to fish the Ōhau River in September and October for the specified dates. Any angler found by a Fish & Game Ranger to be fishing the Ōhau River during the controlled period without holding a valid controlled period licence will be processed for fishing without a licence.    

How does the ballot work? 

To be eligible to enter the ballot, anglers must hold one of the following sports fishing licences:

  • Adult, Junior or Child Whole Season,
  • Non-resident Whole Season,
  • Loyal Senior,
  • CSI Region Local Area, or
  • Family.

Up to 3 members of a Family licence can be entered in the ballot as companion anglers of the primary licence holder.

Ballot entries are made via the online ballot entry form available on this webpage from 24 June 2024 to 5pm 15 July 2024.

The is no charge to enter the ballot (it’s free).

A party leader must choose which allocations the party wishes to apply for.

There are three types of allocations:

  1. “Opening Weekend” – the first Saturday & Sunday of September. Controlled Period Licences will be issued for up to a maximum of 20 anglers.
  2. “Mid-week”, Tuesday & Wednesday. Controlled Period Licences will be issued for up to a maximum of 12 anglers.
  3. “Weekend”, Saturday & Sunday. Controlled Period Licences will be issued for up to a maximum of 16 anglers for the first two “weekend” allocations and 12 anglers thereafter.

A party leader and up to three companion anglers can be named on a ballot entry. Each angler can only be named on one ballot entry, regardless of whether they are a party leader or companion angler.

If an angler is named on more than one ballot entry, all the entries that they are named on, including their companions, will be void for that ballot. Applications with incomplete or incorrect information may be void for that ballot.

Information required for all anglers on ballot entry forms includes:

  • Full name.
  • Current 2023/24 whole season licence number (if applying for September allocations).
  • Valid email address.        

Ballot entries will be accepted from 24 June 2024 and close at 5pm on 15 July 2024.

The ballot will be drawn on 17 July 2024.

Anglers will be advised by email if they are successful with their ballot entry and issued with a controlled period licence.

Anglers winning October allocations will be required to provide their 2024/25 whole season licence number before being issued their controlled period licence (available for sale from late August 2024).

Anglers will be advised by email if they are unsuccessful in drawing an allocation.

The result of the ballot draw is final. No party member swaps will be granted. Vacated allocations will not be reissued.   

For more information and ballot enquiries, please contact Central South Island Fish and Game on 03 615 8400 or 

2024 Spring Season Ballot entry dates and allocations schedule:

Fishing Dates


Max anglers


7 - 8 September

1 - Opening Weekend



11 – 12 September

2 - Mid Week



14 - 15 September

3 - Weekend



18 - 19 September

4 - Mid Week



21 - 22 September

5 - Weekend



25 - 26 September

6 - Mid Week



28 - 29 September

7 - Weekend



02 - 03 October

8 - Mid Week



05 - 06 October

9 - Weekend



09 - 10 October

10 - Mid Week



12 - 13 October

11 - Weekend



The ballot will open for entries from 24 June 2024 and close at 5pm on 15 July 2024.

The ballot will be drawn on 17 July 2024.

Online Ballot Entry Form

The ballot is now open for entries!

The ballot closes at 5pm on Monday 15 July.

Ballot entries are made via an online Google Form only – link below.

Click here to enter the ballot.

If you need assistance to enter the ballot, please phone CSI Fish & Game 03 615 8400 during office hours.

Fishery Monitoring

A short email survey will be made for all 2024 controlled period licence holders to evaluate their angling effort, catch, and satisfaction during Spring Season.

Please be sure you have provided the correct email address for each individual angler named on the controlled period licence. Your contact information will be confidential and is strictly for Fish & Game survey purposes only.

Central South Island Fish & Game look forward to the co-operation of all anglers and your assistance to help manage this unique fishery for current and future licence holders.

Thank you to all the anglers who participated in the 2023 Spring Season angler survey. The 2023 Spring Season monitoring report can be read here.

Compliance Monitoring

Controlled fishery regulations have been adopted to manage angler use of this highly valued one-of-a-kind fishery.

While we appreciate that many anglers will not be lucky enough to draw an allocation, we urge anglers to ensure they only fish the Ōhau River in September and October if they hold a valid controlled period licence.

To ensure the benefits of controlled fishery management, Fish & Game will be monitoring angler compliance on the Ōhau River during the season.

Non-compliance with the controlled period licence requirements is an offence under the Conservation Act and subject to a maximum fine of $5,000, and will be treated the same as fishing without a licence offence.

We look forward to your cooperation in the management of this fishery and hope you enjoy your season.  

Please Avoid Nesting Terns

There is a major nesting colony of the threatened black-fronted tern on an island about halfway up the river. The birds are actively nesting from late September through the October period (and beyond) and they will aggressively dive bomb anyone who comes close. If you encounter this behaviour, please move on, and do not cross to the island. Drones are not permitted to be used in this area.

Tern Island2