The Mataura is arguably New Zealand’s most famous fishing river. Some claim that its consistent afternoon mayfly hatches make it the best dry fly fishing river in the world.

However, don’t be deceived into thinking the fishing will be easy, the brown trout can be challenging to catch.

The Mataura River originates in the Eyre Mountains, near the northern boundary of Southland and then meanders the full length of Southland before entering the sea on the south coast, at Fortrose, 240km from its origin.

This 240km of river provides an abundance of fishing opportunities.

The upper reaches offer clear water sight fishing opportunities for rising fish. Often fishable from the bank or an easy wade to get into a suitable casting position. This section is highly popular and access to the river operates under a voluntary beat system

Drift counts by Fish & Game staff in these upper reaches show a strong population of medium and large sized trout (e.g., 1.5 to 2.5kg or 3lb-5lbs).

Upstream of the Gore township, the addition of the Waikaia River substantially increases the size of the Mataura.

This section of river is well suited to both spin and fly anglers.

In response to the late summer afternoon mayfly hatches, Fish & Game have extended the season below Gore to allow angling during this time.

Further downstream, the Mataura is a significant size and is well suited to spin or bait fishing

Below the Mataura Island Bridge, the Mataura River is open to fishing year round and the  estuary at Fortrose is known to produce some large sea run and estuarine brown trout.

Visiting anglers are encouraged to chat to any locals they come across and pop into fishing shops. The experienced locals and knowledgeable staff might just give you the hot-tip needed to improve your success rate.

There is good access along the length of the river. All accesses can be found here.

Some notable tributaries of the Mataura River include:

Robert Creek
Quioch Creek
Eyre Creek
Nokomai River
Tomogalek Stream
Waikaia River & its tributaries; the Gow Burn, Steeple Burn, Argyle Burn & Dome Burn.
Waimea Stream
Otamita Stream
Waikaka Stream
Pukerau Stream
Mimihau Stream
Mokoreta River

Fishing tips for the Matarua River

Tips for fishing the lower Mataura River – the lower Mataura River between Fortrose and Gore is a great spot for fishing. There are heaps of access points an...