Brown Trout Fishing in the Top of the South Island


Nelson / Marlborough and the upper West Coast  regions of New Zealand’s South Island have become favourite destinations for any fly-angler serious about their sport. If you love clear waters and wild places come and explore the amazing rivers at the top of the South Island and catch some of the best quality brown trout in the world. 

When to Fish?

Fishing Licences

Every person who intends to go fresh water sport fishing in New Zealand must first purchase a licence.

Fishing Licences are issued by Fish and Game New Zealand who are the statutory managers of freshwater sports fishing and game bird hunting in New Zealand. Licence fees were originally spent mostly on increasing fish and bird populations. Priorities changed in the 1960’s when management became more focused on protecting important habitat. Habitat advocacy remains the major focus of Fish and Game Councils and a significant percentage of the councils’ money goes into advocating habitat protection.

All non-resident visitors to New Zealand must purchase a Non Resident Licence so please check out this link for more details. A Whole Season Non-Resident Licence is required if a visiting angler wants to apply for a Back Country Licence or a Controlled Fishery Licence.

NB … At this time the following rivers in the Nelson-Marlborough and West Coast Fish and Game Districts require a Back Country Licence;
– Nelson-Marlborough: Travers River, Goulter River, Upper Wairau River, Upper Matakitaki River.
– West Coast: Karamea River, Mohikinui River.

For more details on all Licence Categories and to purchase a Fishing Licence Online, click here – Fish and Game New Zealand


Fishing Techniques and Gear



New Zealand is a sub-tropical island chain in the South Pacific Ocean, lying across a westerly airflow in the Roaring Forties. Nelson Province lies at latitude 41′- 42’S. New Zealand has a variable temperate climate. The climate in the northern area of the South Island is mostly pleasant, boasting New Zealand’s highest sunshine hours. However the weather can change at any time and wise anglers come prepared for extremes.

Insect Pests

sandfly_1You may have heard of New Zealand’s infamous ‘sandflies’, which are similar to ‘blackflies’. They can be a nuisance, especially on evening or just prior to rain. Regular use of a good insect repellent helps control them to tolerable levels. This is readily available in local stores; gels, liquids or roll-ons are better than sprays. Use repellent liberally and sandflies are seldom more than nuisance value. For anglers who react when bitten, hydrocortisone cream 0.5% – 1% are excellent for taking away the inevitable itch. It is a useful addition to the travelling first aid kit. Unlike ‘No See-ums’ … at least these little guys are big enough for you to get your own back!

From late January to late April, wasps (yellow-jackets) are around in many areas of our native beech forests. Wasp stings are very unpleasant. Anyone who is allergic to either bee or wasp stings should ensure they carry their medication with them at all times. Be sure to advise their guide. Mosquitoes are rare and seldom a nuisance. They carry no disease and are only around at night in some remote wilderness areas.


… but plenty of trout.