Freshwater Fishing on the West Coast
The region extends from Kahurangi point, north of Karamea, to Awarua point south of Haast.
In between lies some two million hectares, much of it in wilderness. With the pressures of modern life, increasing numbers of anglers rate isolation, peace and solitude almost as highly as the opportunity to fish for wild trout. You'll find all this and a lots of angling opportunities on the 'Coast.'
While the region offers abundant fly fishing opportunities, there is also plenty of scope for other anglers including novices, to fish using bait or spinning gear.
Brown trout and salmon are found in a range of habitats between the mountains and the sea, including lakes, rivers, spring-fed river tributaries and estuaries. With almost 90% of the region in public ownership, barriers to access for anglers are dictated more by climate and terrain. Iif you aim to fish a waterway with adjoining private land where there's no marked access, please ask at the nearest farm house.
Many of the West Coast's rivers support trout populations that fluctuate depending on the time of year. The usual pattern is for the lower reaches of the major rivers to carry more fish in spring and early summer, after which trout move upstream to occupy mid-headwater habitats. Smaller streams generally fish best in early season before water temperatures increase and trout become active for shorter periods. Evening fishing is usually best in mid to late summer when insect hatches peak. Sea-run salmon turn up in the region's lakes and rivers from January with numbers peaking in March. River fishing and trolling in South Westland lakes is popular.
We hope you enjoy your ‘Coast angling experience'. Please don't take any more fish than you can use, and to preserve our waterways from didymo and other pest species, please 'check, clean and dry' all angling equipment before moving between waterways.
View our Fishing licence information in this section.
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Fishing Licence FAQs
General Licence FAQs
West Coast Fishing Spots
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