South Island

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Fishing in South Island

The fishing South Island, New Zealand has in store is nothing short of superb, whether it’s freshwater or saltwater you prefer. On the South Island, you can hook your biggest Brown Trout yet or cast your line in the ocean waters for a variety of exotic game fish – everything is in the cards.
 

Types of Fishing

Freshwater Fishing

The South Island is famous for its spectacular freshwater fisheries, especially among fly anglers. From Gore, which is known as the ‘Brown Trout Capital of the World’, to Dunedin, which sports some of the best Salmon fishing in the country, there’s something for everyone.
 
Brown Trout are the most popular catch, and they come both in great quality and quantity. Haast River on the west coast is a great place to hook a Brown lunker, and if you’re looking for more of a challenge, then the Upper Clutha River will provide all that and then some.
 
Another big player in the freshwater kingdom is Chinook Salmon, aka Quinnat. They can only be found in the south of the country and weigh around 10–15 pounds on average. The best time to go after Salmon is from October–April, as Chinook begin their long journey upstream. Some of the most productive rivers to target them are Rangitata, Rakaia, and Waitaki.
 

Saltwater Fishing

If saltwater fishing is the name of your game, the South Island will not disappoint. While the North Island is a treasure trove for big game fishermen, its southern counterpart offers excellent Snapper, Kahawai, Blue Cod, Tarakihi, and Yellowtail fishing.
 
Hard-fighting Trevally, Hapuka, and sizeable Albacore Tuna are there for the taking as well, so there’s plenty to choose from, depending on your fishing appetite. The high season is from spring until late autumn, though you can find a solid bite year-round. Looking for the best spot? Golden Bay is one of the most diverse fisheries where you can catch just about any of the mentioned favourites.
 

What to Expect

Depending on your fishing preferences, you could be fishing in national parks, remote streams, or wild rivers surrounded by breathtaking mountains.
 
Local freshwater guides offer half day excursions that can turn into a fun family outing if you come with the kids. Full day expeditions are better suited for experienced fishermen, especially if we’re talking fly fishing. If you’d like to fish in the ocean, you don’t have to go far from the shore to prowl reefs and wrecks for a great catch and bring home a delicious dinner.
 
Fishing gear is usually provided, but you’re welcome to bring yours if you’d like. On some charters, you’ll have water, soft drinks, and coffee, as well as a variety of snacks and lunch on full day trips.
 
Stay in touch with your skipper, and he’ll tell you everything about fishing licences and additional equipment you might need. After that, the fishing South Island, New Zealand boasts is your oyster!
 
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South Island Fishing Seasons

The beginning of the year is a great time to target just about any species on the South Island. Salmon fishing is excellent, and Trout are biting as well. Pink Snapper, Giant Trevally, and Yellowtail are the prized catch in the saltwater.

It’s summer in New Zealand, and that can mean only one thing – it’s time to hit the water! Whether it’s Trout or Salmon, Yellowtail or Albacore Tuna, there’s a bit of something for everyone.

Autumn is just around the corner, the air is getting crisp, and Albacore Tuna, Giant Trevally, and Pink Snapper are all the craze. The Brown Trout action is on, while Chinook are leaving to spawn.

This is the time to go after Albacore Tuna, if you’re in the mood to chase giants of the deep. Yellowtail and Hapuka are very active, and Pink Snapper isn’t far behind.

As the temperatures are dropping, freshwater fishing is slowing down, but you can still find a decent bite. All the saltwater favourites are still on the menu, including Hapuka, Pink Snapper, Tarakihi, and more.

Going after Yellowtail will prove to be most productive in June, and you can hook Tarakihi and Hapuka in great numbers. Giant Trevally and Pink Snapper are also there for the taking.

Fish become lazier in the winter, but you can still have a great day on the water if you know where to go. This is the time to chase Tarakihi, Hapuka, and Yellowtail without going too far from the shore.

Hapuka, Yellowtail, or Tarakihi – the choice is yours. You can also test your hand in freshwater fishing and stumble upon a solid Trout bite.

The freshwater fish are looking forward to spring, which is just around the corner. While you wait for them to become more active, set your sights on Tarakihi, Hapuku, and Yellowtail.

Freshwater fishing is picking up, which means Brown Trout is the star of the show in the countless rivers, lakes, and streams of the South Island. On the saltwater front, Pink Snapper, Tarakihi, Yellowtail, and Hapuka are the main catch.

The Salmon are coming! If you’re itching for some Chinook fishing, November is the month to hit the water for the first trip of the season. Trout aren’t far behind.

Go after massive Pink Snapper, Giant Trevally, and Yellowtail in the ocean waters, or focus on Trout and Salmon fishing, which is fantastic at the end of the year.

South Island Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in South Island

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Australian)

Salmon (Australian)

Tarakihi

Tarakihi