The Clinton and Worsley Controlled Backcountry Fisheries

The Clinton and Worsley rivers and their tributaries are backcountry fisheries and controlled areas. Special licencing requirements apply to these rivers.   

Rainbow trout Worsley soft bait 1

A nice rainbow caught on a softbait in the Worsley

Backcountry Licence Requirements

All anglers who fish the Clinton and Worsley rivers must obtain a backcountry licence.

To get your Backcountry Licence (available for free) click here. Only Adult Whole Season, Family, Loyal Senior, Non-resident Whole Season and Local Area licence holders are eligible for a Backcountry Licence. 

Controlled-Period Licence Requirements

To help manage angling pressure on the Clinton and Worsley rivers, a fortnightly ballot operates throughout the sports fishing season (1 November-31 May).

Winners of the ballots are issued with a Controlled-Period Licence. 

How does the ballot work? 

The Beats

Clinton 190720 beats croppedThe Clinton River downstream of the Prairie has been split into two actively managed beats.

The Lower Clinton Beat includes the Clinton River North Branch, the Clinton River downstream of the con­fluence with West Branch, and the Neale Burn.

The Middle Clinton Beat includes the West Branch of the Clinton River below ‘The Prairie’ to the North Branch con­fluence.

The Upper Clinton River above the ‘The Prairie’ has no beat controls but normal angling etiquette applies.

The Worsley River Beat is one actively managed beat.

Click here to see a map of the whole Clinton River showing the fishing beat boundaries.

The Ballot

The Clinton and Worsley beats are balloted fortnightly.

The ballot for a specific fortnight period opens four weeks in advance.

Anglers will then have two weeks in which they can enter the ballot.

There are six fishing allocations balloted for each beat, each fortnight period.

These allocations are Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday/Thursday and Friday-Sunday.

Anglers can enter the ballot for up to six allocations across all beats, each fortnightly period.  

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

If an angler enters the ballot more than once for a given fortnightly period, all of their ballot entries will be void for that period.         

The ballot will close two weeks out from the start of a fortnightly period.

Anglers will be advised by email if they are successful with their ballot entry and issued with a Controlled Period Licence.

To enter the Clinton or Worsley ballot, applications will open on October 5 check back here then.

Compliance Monitoring

These regulations have been adopted to provide a better angling experience in response to increasing complaints regarding crowding and angler conflict on these fisheries.

While we appreciate it won’t suit all anglers, we urge people to ensure they only fish these waters if they have the correct controlled period licence.

To maximise the benefits of these changes, Fish & Game will be monitoring compliance on designated backcountry fisheries during the season.

Non-compliance with the backcountry licence and controlled period licence requirements is an offence under the Conservation Act and subject to a maximum fine of $5000, and will be treated the same as a fishing without a licence offence.

We look forward to your cooperation in the management of these fisheries, and hope you enjoy your season.  

For more information please contact Southland Fish and Game on 03 215 9117 or 

Glaisnock Wilderness Area

NOTE: The Worsley River is situated within the Glasisnock Wilderness Area. No commercial activities, including fishing guiding, are permitted in this area.

Ballot entry dates



Ballot entries open

Ballot entries close

Approximate notification date


1 Nov – 15 Nov

5 Oct

18 Oct

19 Oct


16 Nov – 29 Nov

19 Oct

1 Nov

2 Nov


30 Nov- 13 Dec

2 Nov

15 Nov

16 Nov


14 Dec – 27 Dec

16 Nov

29 Nov

30 Nov


28 Dec – 10 Jan

30 Nov

13 Dec

14 Dec


11 Jan – 24 Jan

14 Dec

27 Dec

29 Dec


25 Jan – 7 Feb

28 Dec

10 Jan

11 Jan


8 Feb – 21 Feb

11 Jan

24 Jan

25 Jan


22 Feb – 7 Mar

25 Jan

7 Feb

8 Feb


8 Mar – 21 Mar

8 Feb

21 Feb

22 Feb


22 Mar – 4 Apr

22 Feb

7 Mar

8 Mar


5 April – 18 Apr

8 Mar

21 Mar

22 Mar


19 April – 2 May

22 Mar

4 Apr

5 Apr


3 May – 16 May

5 Apr

18 Apr

19 Apr


17 May – 31 May

19 Apr

2 May

3 May

Ballot entry page

Please download, fill out and email the editable PDF below to enter the ballot for the next period: 

Click here for the Ballot Form