Nelson Marlborough Designated Waters Fisheries

The Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game Region has three Designated Waters fisheries. Anglers wishing to fish these Designated Waters must first hold a valid Designated Waters Licence in addition to their whole-season Fishing Licence.

Travers map2Travers River Designated Waters Fishery

Reach: The Travers River and its tributaries – upstream of Lake Rotoiti

Open Season: 1 October – 30 April

Method: Fly and Spin

Bag limit: 2 trout (only 1 may exceed 500m)

Upper Wairau River Designated Waters Fishery

Upper Wairau map3

Reach: The Upper Wairau River and its tributaries (but excluding Fish Lake) upstream from Six Mile Creek (upstream of Rainbow Ski Field bottom carpark).

Open Season: 1 October – 30 April

Method: Fly and Spin

Bag limit: 2 trout (only 1 may exceed 500m)

Upper Wairau beat system

A voluntary beat system is in place for the Upper Wairau from No Catchem Stream to the Molesworth Boundary. 

Indicate which beat you have chosen by parking next to the appropriate sign.

Leave your intentions on your vehicle dashboard indicating whether you have gone upstream or downstream.

BEATS:Wairau River Beat System 2022

Map of all beats

No Catchem Stream to Woolshed Stream (no map)

Woolshed Stream to Six Mile creek (no map)

Six Mile Creek to St Ronans Stream

St Ronans Stream to Hamilton River

Hamilton River to Irishmans Flat

Irishmans Flat to Shroders Creek (Old Rainbow Homestead)

Shroders Creek to Connors Creek

Connors Creek to Bridge

Bridge to Hells Gate

Hells Gate to Coldwater Creek

Coldwater Creek to Molesworth Boundary

Note: No beat system for Rainbow River and upstream of the Molesworth Boundary, normal courtesy applies.

You may fish an occupied beat behind other anglers.

Please respect this system which is designed to minimise angler contacts, otherwise, future access to this fishery may be restricted.

Matakitaki mapUpper Matakitaki River Designated Waters Fishery

Reach: The Matakitaki River and its tributaries – upstream from Horse Terrace Bridge

Open Season: 1 October – 30 April

Method: Fly and Spin

Bag limit: 2 trout (only 1 may exceed 500m)

Note: there is private land adjacent to the river in the lower section of the Designated Waters fishery, so normal permission is required by the landowner if access to private land is required.    


Fish and Game will have a strong presence in these rivers this season. Non-compliance with the new regulations is an offence under the Conservation Act and is subject to a maximum fine of NZ$5,000.00.


It is expected a short web-based questionnaire will be sent to all Designated Waters licence holders to evaluate their experience. Please be sure you have provided your correct email address. Your email address will be confidential and is strictly for Fish and Game survey purposes only. Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game look forward to the cooperation of all anglers and your assistance to help manage this unique fishery for current and future licence holders.

Etiquette for Designated Waters Anglers

nelson backcountry 1Respect fellow anglers and remember they arrived at the river with the same expectations as you.

Never ever cut in front of other anglers regardless of how desperate you are to get to the water.

If fishing solo, invite an angler you meet to fish with you or share the available water. You may both learn something.

Use a quality line, which strikes a balance between strength and visibility so that fish can be landed smartly. Do not play fish excessively

When releasing fish, do so with great care and try to keep the fish in the water as much as possible.

For further information contact us