Freshwater Fishing in Southland

The Southland Plains are bisected by four major rivers, the Aparima, Waiau, Oreti and Mataura.

They represent just the starting point for a huge variety of fishing opportunities. When you consider the dozens of smaller rivers and streams, as well as the lakes, it’s not too surprising that Southland has one of the highest angling participation rates in the country.

Brown trout are the mainstay of Southland’s angling, and the rivers are justifiably famous for their quality. Perhaps you want to be able to spot very large brown trout, swaying in a crystal clear river, and carefully cast a nymph to tempt him to make a mistake? Or perhaps you’d prefer to take up the challenge of targeting super fussy and frustrating browns of the Mataura rise? Whatever your angling passion Southland can satisfy it.

Rainbow trout are more common in our lakes and their tributaries, providing even more diversity to the region's angling scene. Watching a large green snout close over a cicada pattern as you prepare to set the hook spins most anglers' wheels.

While our fly fishing tends to grab headlines, spin fishing opportunities are equally abundant. It remains the most popular fishing method in Southland that rewards many anglers. The sport has changed dramatically with the advent of modern spin fishing setups.

As with every other region, competent anglers catch more fish. For novices, there's a wealth of 'how to' information on both fly and spin fishing, in hard copy publications and online videos.

For information on fishing spots and access to Southland rivers, you can click on the ‘local fishing locations & access’ page in the left hand menu and scroll down to the various brochures that can be downloaded as Pdfs.  You can also visit local fishing stores for tips and other info, or visit us at Fish & Game.

View our Fishing licence information in this section.

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Southland Fishing Spots