6 Best Trout Fishing Lakes in South Island New Zealand


Situated in the heart of the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand’s South Island is a paradise for trout fishing enthusiasts. With its pristine waters, abundant fish populations, and breathtaking landscapes, the South Island offers some of the best trout fishing experiences in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, these six lakes boast unparalleled opportunities for both rainbow and brown trout fishing amidst stunning scenery. Here’s a run-through of the top 6 trout fishing lakes in South Island, New Zealand.

1. Lake Wakatipu

Nestled among the dramatic Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty. Stretching 80 kilometers long, it’s the third largest lake in New Zealand and offers ample room for trout fishing. Both brown and rainbow trout are abundant here, along with the occasional salmon. The lake’s unique zigzag shape and depth create a perfect habitat for trout, making it one of the premier destinations for anglers. The picturesque town of Queenstown, located on its shores, provides excellent access and facilities for those looking to explore the lake’s fishing potential.

2. Lake Te Anau

As the largest lake in the South Island, Lake Te Anau is a gateway to the Fiordland National Park, offering a tranquil fishing experience amidst one of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes. The lake is home to sizable populations of both brown and rainbow trout, providing a challenging yet rewarding experience for anglers. Fishing from a boat is particularly popular here, allowing access to the more secluded spots where the fish tend to gather. The surrounding Fiordland National Park also offers plenty of opportunities for non-fishing related adventures, making it a perfect destination for a mixed-activity holiday.

3. Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka lies in a glacial valley in the Otago region, framed by the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps. Its clear blue waters are home to both brown and rainbow trout, with some areas known for excellent fly fishing opportunities. The lake’s numerous inlets and bays offer plenty of space for anglers to find their perfect spot. Boat fishing is also popular, allowing enthusiasts to explore the more remote areas of the lake. The town of Wanaka, situated at the southern end of the lake, provides all necessary amenities for a comfortable fishing trip.

4. Lake Pukaki

Famed for its vibrant turquoise waters, caused by glacial flour from the surrounding Southern Alps, Lake Pukaki offers a unique trout fishing experience. The lake hosts a healthy population of both brown and rainbow trout, which thrive in its cool, clear waters. While the lake’s vast open spaces are perfect for trolling and boat fishing, the shores also offer excellent spots for fly fishing. The unforgettable view of Mount Cook/Aoraki from the lake adds to the appeal, creating a serene fishing environment unlike any other.

5. Lake Rotoroa

In the heart of the Nelson Lakes National Park lies Lake Rotoroa, a lesser-known gem that’s ideal for those seeking a quiet retreat with abundant fishing opportunities. The lake is particularly noted for its trophy-sized brown trout, attracting anglers from all over who are looking to land a significant catch. The surrounding native beech forest provides a stunning setting for fishing, whether from the shore or a boat. Additionally, the lake’s relatively isolated location means it’s less crowded than some of South Island’s more famous fishing destinations, offering a peaceful escape for dedicated anglers.

6. Lake Ohau

Another glacial lake in the Mackenzie Basin, Lake Ohau, is a favorite among those who appreciate the tranquility of a remote fishing spot combined with the potential for catching both brown and rainbow trout. The lake’s stunning clear waters are complemented by breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, including the Ohau Range. Its location away from major tourist paths means you can often have the lake to yourself, providing a serene environment to focus on the art of trout fishing. The lake is accessible by road, and the nearby Ohau Lodge offers accommodation and facilities for anglers.

New Zealand’s South Island is a trout fishing haven, with each lake offering a unique set of conditions and landscapes. Whether you’re looking for trophy-sized catches, the thrill of fly fishing in crystal clear waters, or simply a peaceful retreat in nature, these six lakes provide the perfect setting for an unforgettable fishing adventure. With sustainable fishing practices in place, these pristine environments promise to provide thrilling experiences for anglers for generations to come.

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