New Zealand Self Drive Adventures

October 30, 2018

There are three regions in New Zealand that have differences in the length of their fly-fishing season. Most of the North island runs from 1 October to 30 June. Some North Island rivers remain open all year but any area that is a potential spawning ground is closed from the end of June to the beginning of October. The waters that remain open are generally the lower reaches of the large rivers. The lower reaches do hold resident trout during that time of year but, often the water is clouded due to rain and the majority of fish have moved upstream or into tributaries to spawn.

Taupo remains open all year but requires a separate license. The Taupo region covers all of the streams and rivers that enter into or drain from Lake Taupo. If you are planning to come in the winter this is your only option (but a very good one.) Taupo is world famous for its trout fishing both from a size and abundance point of view. Having said that, winter is the rainy season and rivers can cloud up or flood so there can be days when fishing is a waste of time.

The South Island only runs from 1 October to 30 April. The majority of trout in the South Island catchments are brown trout and they tend to start spawning earlier. (The north has a mixture of rainbows and browns, both of which can grow to trophy size.)


Early season fishing (October / November) in NZ can be very productive but is still subject to variable weather and many of the trout are in poor condition still recovering from the spawn. The upside is that they haven’t been fished to in months and may be aggressively feeding to recover condition.

Around Christmas the streams begin to lose water volume and increase in temperature. This can make fishing more location specific.

In January through to March there is often a rise in the evening and this can be a magical time to be fishing in NZ, particularly during the cicada hatch.

Fishing in June, just before the season closes, can produce some enormous specimens as they move upstream to spawn but, the weather often has its say.

For more specific information visit year.htm

What a wonderful place; where else can you fish 12 months a year and catch monster trout in tiny streams. Nirvana!

Check out our DIY fishing road trips in the touring section of our website or click below. A bucket list fishing trip in NZ can be much more affordable than you would imagine.

Author: David Turner