With their head waters in the Southern Alps, the Waitaki and the Rangitata are the region’s biggest rivers. These are noted chinook salmon fisheries with fish of 4-8kg and more being regularly reported. The Opihi and Orari River mouths also attract an annual pilgrimage of stalwart salmon anglers although the salmon runs are not as large.
Smaller rivers including the Opihi-Temuka and Ashburton, together with many high country lakes, are habitat for substantial brown and rainbow trout fisheries. Sockeye salmon and brook trout add variety for the keen angler. This region offers some of the country's best high country angling. Without the usual visible trappings of civilisation, fishing in streams or tarns set in open tussock lands and beech forest against a backdrop of the Southern Alps provides a special experience.