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Top Northland Destinations

Fishing in Northland

New Zealand – the land of awe-inspiring beauty, Haka dance, and incredible angling opportunities. With hundreds of miles of streams, rivers, and lakes which offer some of the best big game fishing on the planet, a Northland fishing experience should be at the top of every passionate angler’s bucket list! 

What to Expect

With so many different bodies of water to discover and explore, you can spend a lifetime fishing the northernmost part of New Zealand. Your fishing path will depend on your angling ambitions, and if you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty Northland fishing charters that can help you find your way.

Freshwater Fishing

If you’re not sure what all the fuss is about concerning New Zealand’s striking nature and views, all you have to do is book a freshwater fishing expedition. Between the striking scenery and premier fishing, what’s not to love?
Trout fishing is all the rage here, and for all the right reasons. Lakes are diligently re-stocked every year, which allows Rainbow and Brown Trout to thrive and grow, so you can easily land a 10-pounder on a good day.
Lake Manuwai and Kai Iwi Lakes are some of the most productive spots for Rainbow Trout, especially because the fishery is active year-round. These lakes are also a fun family destination, so your kids can still have a great time while you enjoy excellent fishing.
If you’re a fly fishing aficionado, then Wilson’s Dam, Whau Valley Dam, and the Wairoa River are the places to be. Resident Rainbow Trout can’t resist wet flies, but river fishing is recommended for seasoned fly fishermen.

Saltwater Fishing

It’s no secret that New Zealand is one of the most prominent fisheries in the world, and that trophy chasers come here to face off against the monsters of the deep. A wide array of species is only countered by the sheer quantity of beautiful and hard-fighting fish.
The east coast of Northland is a Striped Marlin paradise, and one of the best available spots to target these billed predators. Not to much surprise, most of the world-record-sized catches have been landed right here.
Whangaroa Harbour and the Bay of Islands are the Marlin El Dorado, where you can land some real Striped, Black, and Blue monsters. The best time to head out is in the summer months (December–April). The Three Kings Islands are the Striped Marlin hub from March–June.
While Marlin are the most coveted fish here, Yellowfin Tuna, Giant Trevally, Yellowtail Amberjack (Kingfish), Pink Snapper, and Swordfish are a close second. All these fish are offshore favourites and going after each of them is a different challenge in itself.
While Tuna fishing is best from January–July, the best time to go after Yellowtail is anytime between March and July. Sharks like Blue, Mako, Thresher, and Bronze Whaler are also game, especially in the Bay of Islands from December–April. This is also the place to chase massive Broadbill Swordfish that can weigh 500 pounds and more.
Spirits Bay is excellent for targeting anything from Kahawai and Giant Trevally to Snapper and Grouper (Hapuku). All you have to do is choose your prey, and there will be a fishing guide to take you to the next-level fishing action.

What to Bring

If you’re looking to experience the full potential of Northland fishing, hitting the water with a guide is a foolproof choice.
That way, you can relax and bring only drinks, snacks, food, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing and the skipper will take care of everything else. Bear in mind that sometimes you should buy your fishing licence and sometimes the charter will take care of it for you. Discuss this with the crew before you come aboard.
After that, you’re but one cast away from your New Zealand fishing adventure!
Based on 18301 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Northland Fishing Seasons


The beginning of the year is the time to visit Northland and all its most abundant fisheries. The Marlin action is superb, Pink Snapper are biting left and right, and Tuna fishing is getting into gear.


In February, you’ll have a hard time choosing what to target, seeing that so many monster fish are active. Striped Marlin are all the craze right now, as are Yellowfin Tuna and Pink Snapper. All you have to do is pick.

Summer is still in full swing, and fishing is nothing short of extraordinary. Giants of the deep like Tuna, Marlin, Swordfish, and Giant Trevally are all in the cards, as well as Tarakihi, Hapuka, and Pink Snapper closer to shore.

This is one of the best months to go after Swordfish in the Bay of Islands, and Yellowfin Tuna is also prowling the waters for their next meal. Marlin action is still top-notch, especially around the Three Kings Islands.

As autumn rolls in, your prey will move to deeper, warmer waters, and that’s where you should be to catch something worth your while. The Swordfish bite is still on, while Marlin are taking a break.

Kingfish are the most popular catch in June, and they come in impressive sizes. Giant Trevally is a close second, along with Pink Snapper and Hapuka.


During the winter, the best thing you can do is to stay closer to land and explore the inshore bite. Tarakihi is great fun to catch on light tackle,. Swordfish in the deep blue is still there for the taking.


Head out to chase anything from Yellowtail and Giant Trevally to Pink Snapper, Tarakihi, and Hapuka. Test out different techniques and see what works best to attract the fish to your line.

Winter action offers a different flavour of Northland fishing and a breather from the intense offshore action. Stay in the calmer waters and focus on Hapuka, Yellowtail, and Tarakihi.

Spring is just around the corner, which means that many species are voracious and ready to gobble down just about anything. This means great Yellowtail, Snapper, Tarakihi, and Hapuka fishing.


You can almost feel both inshore and offshore waters coming back to life and that means only one thing – incredible fishing. Marlin are slowly coming back, and giant Pink Snapper and Yellowtail are there for the taking.


Giant Trevally are entering the scene and if you wanted to catch a brag-worthy specimen, this is the time to start looking. Striped, Black, and Blue Marlin are waking up, and Pink Snapper and Yellowtail are hanging around too.

Northland Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Northland

My Birthday Fish Wish was "KING FISH" So I went fishing with Wild Blue Charters
Mike C. fished with Wildblue Charters on February 29, 2020
Keep your lines tight, have heart to fight game fish
Half day trip schnapper fishing
Wayne B. fished with Blue Sea Charters - Splash on February 11, 2020
Get an experienced captain and look to have a period of tide rising to get best chance of success.
Snapper fishing with Captain Hamish
Kristy B. fished with SpotX Fishing Charters - Screaming Reels on May 8, 2019
Go and fish with Captain Hamish. He knows is stuff
Had a great time caught a couple of fish enjoy d every minute Jim was new what was needed thanks
Donald C. fished with Big Fish Bay Of Islands on April 25, 2019
Go with mind you never know what to expect
Half day trip with Derek.
Louise G. fished with Big Fish Bay Of Islands on March 9, 2019
Get out with Derek on Big Fish charters and have a go. You won't be disappointed!!!
Morning Trip With Blue Sea Charters
Arthur W. fished with Blue Sea Charters - Splash on February 14, 2019
Get the crew to show you what you need to do to hook up fish
The Perfect Morning with Captain Geoff and Paul
Richard M. fished with Major Tom Adventures on January 23, 2019
Find a local charter, and get out there and catch fish!
November fishing trip
Steve J. fished with SpotX Fishing Charters - Screaming Reels on November 11, 2018
Book with Spot X as the are a professional Charter, and very helpful.

Top Targeted Species in Northland