Fish & Game's easiest South Island access points with good numbers of trout in these locations. 

Click on the location name for a map and directions. The link will open in Google maps.

Nelson / Marlborough

Lake Argyle This lake is one of the most popular trout fisheries in the Nelson Marlborough Region attracting anglers with its easy accessibility and good catch rates.

Lake Argyle tips

Wairau River Great access point to fish the lower hydro canal, the Wairau River, or even the Goulter River (requires fording of Wairau on foot during low flows). 

Rai River Annual releases of large rainbow trout in this river (at this point). If you catch a tagged fish please report to Fish & Game 03 544 6382

Motueka River MacLeans Reserve provides fishing adjacent to the camping area. There are multiple access points on this river and you can click here to view all the details in a PDF. 

West Coast

Lake Brunner is the most popular and productive fishery on the West Coast. productive. Bait fishing, especially following heavy rain where creeks and rivers enter the lake is excellent. 

Arnold River exits Lake Brunner before joining the Grey River 15kms from Greymouth at Stillwater. It holds a high population of medium sized brown trout and is usually fishable in all but extreme flows. 

Grey River Excellent access from roads on both sides up to Ikamatua. Spin fishing is popular along the mid and lower Grey River. During the early season bait fishing is very productive in the lower reaches. 

Mawheraiti River This is a Grey tributary joining at Ikamatua (between Greymouth and Reefton). The Mawheraiti is a smallish tea coloured stream usually holding good numbers of medium sized trout.

Mahinapua Creek/Hokitika River lagoon The best access is via Golf Links Road. Good early season tidal water for sea-run browns, especially when main river is in flood. Large perch inhabit the creek above tidal reach.

North Canterbury

Lake Lyndon Access to the lake is excellent and good catches of rainbow and brown trout can be had. In the past the lake has tended to hold large numbers of smaller fish. Today there appear to be fewer, but larger fish.

Waimakariri River Dickeys Road. Stalk trout during the day and target large pools at night with streamer flies. Below Dickeys Road there is a good walking track beside the river that trout can be spotted from.

Waimakariri River The mouth can be accessed on the north side through the Kairaki settlement. The mouth opens into a big tidal bay that is renowned for its excellent salmon runs in summer.

Rakaia River Dobbins Ford. Generally fished for salmon, but has sea-run brown trout in the lower reaches and resident rainbow  and brown trout upstream. Good runs of salmon from November to March. 

Lake Georgina Stocked with both brown and rainbow trout. Most anglers wade out and fish the deeper parts of the lake near the public toilet. Best fished early in the morning.

Central South Island

Lake Opuha Multiple access options, shore fishing and formed boat ramps at Bennets and Hays Roads. The North and South Opuha rivers are the lakes main source of water and offer small river fishing options.

Lake Tekapo Trout and salmon fishing with breath-taking views of the Southern Alps. Target the stream mouths. Spin anglers should try casting silver lures like hex wobblers and ticers around 14 grams. 

Lake Hood A park-like lake offering great perch fishing and the chance to catch brown and rainbow trout. Just a quick detour from State Highway 1.

Tekapo Canal Road-side access and all legal methods are permitted. It is renowned for its scenic setting and trophy trout. The canal has brown and rainbow trout of all sizes with many reaching over 4kg and a few over 15kg. 

Pukaki Canal This Canal provides relaxing road-side access and all legal methods are permitted. The canal supports brown and rainbow trout of all sizes with many reaching over 4kg. 


Lake Wanaka Spin fishers are advised to use light tackle and most prefer green-coloured lures. Brown trout are opportunists and will often take advantage of easy prey where tributaries - large or small - enter the lake. 

Lake Dunstan Public access is available to most parts of the lake.  The entire eastern shoreline of the Dunstan and Clutha Arms is easily accessed from SH8.  The Clutha Arm is the most productive part of the Lake Dunstan fishery and can also be accessed directly off SH6 (Wanaka – Queenstown), and through Pisa Moorings, Smiths Way and Amisfield.

Coalpit Dam has been consistently stocked by Fish and Game over the years is home to both rainbow and brown trout. It often gets an influx of trout from draining the water race in April. 

Southern Reservoir There are some shallow areas around the western bank, where trout can be spotted cruising. There is a bag limit of one fish per day and it is stocked with rainbow trout, but also contains a population of brown trout.

Lake Waihola  Perch and brown trout can be caught from the shoreline on light spinning gear in this shallow lake. A walkway, playgrounds, public toilets and snack shops are nearby.


Oreti River Easy access and good fish numbers. There are brown trout, redfin perch and at times, Chinook salmon. This section of river is tidal and fishes best on an incoming tide. 

Lower Mataura River Easy access and very high fish numbers. Mayfly hatches  can occur throughout the day. Spin anglers should use Toby and bladed spinners. Soft baits can also work well.  

Middle Mataura River There is easy vehicle access to the river and high fish numbers in this stretch.  The river is well suited for fly, spin and bait fishing. 

Aparima River Good numbers of brown trout present. Free camping area near the bridge. Toby style lures work well, as do bladed spinners and soft baits of various colours.  

Middle Oreti River In the middle reaches of the Oreti River near Winton, the river becomes semi-braided. There is great access at this point with good fish numbers. You can drive your vehicle right to the river. Brown trout are common and average 0.75kg in weight. Small numbers of large (up to 6 kg) Chinook salmon can be caught between December and March. For best results, anglers should target willow lined pools and the deep runs. Bladed spinners, soft baits and Rapala style lures all work well. There is great access at this point with good fish numbers. For best results, anglers should target willow lined pools and the deep runs. Bladed spinners, soft baits and Rapala style lures all work well.  


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