There are nearly 200 lakes in Southland. Not all of them hold trout but it does highlight the extent of our stillwater fisheries.

Our most heavily utilised lake fisheries are lakes Te Anau, Manapouri, Mavora and Monowai.

The lakes offer keen boaties a near unlimited amount of water to explore and fish; either by trolling, casting from the vessel or mooring on a remote beach and fishing from the shore. Not to mention, the vast array of tributaries made accessible from the lakes.

Here is a video with tips for trolling our southern lakes. [INSERT link ]

Motorised vessels are prohibited on Lake Thomas and South Mavora Lake. So, those with smaller craft will not be disadvantaged here.

Child and Junior anglers have exclusive access to McGregor Pond. McGregor Pond is being developed as a family friendly area but it is better suited to school-age children.

Shore based lake anglers will do well by targeting the mouth of inflowing tributaries, fishing around structure or vegetation, macrophyte beds (ie. aquatic plants) and by utilising the wind.  The wind plays a vital role in mobilising food for the fish. Firstly, it blows insects onto the lakes. So, try and selecting a fishing spot downwind of feed sources. Secondly, the wind creates waves that disturb the lakebed and pull fish-food from the beaches into the water. This wave action suspends food (insects) in the water column and the discolouration of the water makes an anglers’ imitation more difficult to discern from the naturals.

When people think of trout fishing in New Zealand, the image that is conjured up is in flowing water.  Stillwater fishing has a larger following and up-take overseas. Kiwi’s and our visiting anglers are encouraged to not overlook our lakes. Our lake fishing can be very productive and exciting.

Anglers who enjoy fishing competitions, will enjoy participating in the Stabicraft Te Anau Manapouri Fishing Classic and the Cruise Milford Take a Kid Fishing events.  These events are held simultaneously in the Te Anau basin each Labour Weekend and has good support from both keen participants and generous sponsors.

Conditions on our southern lakes can change rapidly and have claimed numerous boats over the years. Please ensure you are thoroughly prepared and have suitable weather and lake conditions.

If you are planning an adventure onto our Fiordland lakes, please take the time to become familiar with the biosecurity requirements - Check, Clean, Dry - before entering these areas. 

All accesses and boat ramps can be found here.

F&G - Lake Trolling Tips

Bill Jarvie from Southland Fish & Game offers some helpful advise to improve your chances of landing a fish or two next time you are out on the lake.