The Oreti originates in the Thomson Mountains, near the Mavora Lakes at the northern boundary of Southland. It then meanders the full length of Southland before entering the sea on the south coast, at New River estuary near Invercargill, 170km away.

The upper reaches of the Oreti River are as picturesque as they come, making it a popular fishery. An angler requires a Designated Waters licence to fish it and access to the river operates under a voluntary beat system.

Drift counts in these upper reaches show that there is a healthy population of large brown trout. A video from one of these dives can be viewed below.  The water is clear, and the fish are weary so a stealthy approach is needed in order to be successful.

The middle reaches, near the towns of Lumsden, Dipton and Winton can be overlooked by anglers but are well worth visiting as they hold a good population of medium sized fish that are not too difficult to catch.

There are a large number of backwaters on this section of the river and the resident brown trout can be found cruising these stillwaters. Setting up an ‘ambush’ with an emerger or a small, slow sinking nymph will usually see interest from a passing trout on its feeding beat. A video with some tips on fishing this section can be viewed below.

The lower reaches of the Oreti River near West Plains provides Invercargill based anglers with an excellent fishery just 10-15minutes drive from home. This section of river is tidal, holds good stocks of medium sized trout with the occasional large trout.

Taking kids bait fishing on this lower section is a great way to introduce them to fishing. For me info on this, see the video below. 

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

Notable tributaries of the Oreti River include:

Weydon Burn
Action Stream
Cromel Stream
Irthing Stream
Makarewa River
Waikiwi Stream

Oreti River drift dive

The beautiful Oreti River was home to Southland Fish and Game staff recently as they conducted their annual drift dive of the river. Drift dives are a crucia...

Fishing the mid Oreti River in Southland

Tips for fishing the mid-Oreti River – the mid reach of the Oreti River between Winton and Mossburn is a great spot for fishing. Check out this video for a f...

Bait fishing basics

Watch as the team from Southland Fish & Game give us some nice and easy bait fishing tips for beginners.