Wellington Designated Waters Fisheries

The Wellington Fish and Game region manages one Designated Waters fishery.

It is situated within the Rangitikei River catchment.

If you have any questions please contact wellington@fishandgame.org.nz 

To obtain a Wellington Designated Waters Licence click here.

The Upper Rangitikei River fishery:

Open Season: 1 Oct – 30 Apr
Methods: Fly and Spin
Bag Limit: One Fish
Fish Length Limit: 550mm (Trout greater than 550mm must be returned).
The upper or headwaters of the Rangitikei River and its tributaries (north of the Ohinewaione Stream confluence, 9 km upstream of the Springvale Bridge) is a Designated Waters Fishery (see Map below).

The headwaters of the Rangitikei River are both nationally and internationally significant as a rainbow trout fishery.


The upper Rangitikei River is quite difficult to access. Flying in via helicopter is the usual option adopted by most anglers, however, there are tracks where tramping in is possible (although it can take one to two days). Another difficulty is the large proportion of land that is in private ownership and is leased to various operators/guides. Similarly, a large proportion is Defence Force land, administered by the NZ Army. Wellington Fish & Game is currently investigating ownership and access issues.

wellington backcountry 1Photos courtesy of Mr J MacKenzie

Previous surveys have shown aesthetic factors (natural environment/scenery, clear water, peace and solitude) rate ahead of fishery factors - reinforcing the notion that anglers are seeking a remote experience while fishing, over and above other factors. The presence of too many anglers detracts from this experience.

Fish & Game has increasingly been questioned about its role in actively managing appropriate levels of angler use to preserve a high-quality angling experience. Currently, the fishery is managed only on biological factors (abundance and size of trout). Restrictions are imposed on the size (trout over 550mm in length must be returned), the number of trout allowed to be harvested each day (limit of 1), the length of the fishing season ( October 1 to April 30), and the fishing methods allowed to be used (spin and fly fishing only).

Stop Didymo from entering the North Island: Please read the attached important information.


Fish & Game will have a strong presence in the upper Rangitikei 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.

Proposed Survey:

It is expected a very short web-based questionnaire will be sent by email to all of the Designated Waters licence holders, to evaluate their Designated Waters experience. The provision of an email address will be confidential and is strictly for Fish & Game survey purposes only. Entering a false email address or not filling out the survey could hurt your chances in the future to obtain a designated Waters Licence

Wellington Fish & Game staff look forward to cooperation from all anglers and your help in managing this unique fishery for current and future licence holders.

wgtn fishery4Further Information (including access): Wellington Fish and Game
P.O. Box 1325,
Palmerston North 4440
Ph 06 359-0409 Fax 06 356-2780
Email wellington@fishandgame.org.nz