Notable Waters: Mataura and Oreti Rivers
This region encompassing Fiordland and Southland has a deserved worldwide reputation as one of New Zealand’s premier brown trout fisheries.
Southland contains numerous rivers, streams and lakes that contain brown and rainbow trout and salmon. These rivers can be cold and windy at times but the quality and quantity of the fish are unsurpassed.
The Mataura is a world class fishery and perhaps New Zealand’s most heavily fished river. The best reaches are downstream from Gore, Southland’s ‘Trout Capital’, but these fish are highly intelligent creatures and should not be considered an easy meal. The Mataura is famous for its ‘Mad Evening Rise’ of big trophy brown trout. As these huge fish tantalisingly rise to merely dimple the surface, often in full view of the angler, the thrill of casting precisely into the ripples is an ultimate fishing experience. Always the unknown factor is – will they take the lure? Suffice to say that the Mataura is arguably the best fly-fishing river in the world.
The Oreti River west of Mossburn is well stocked with brown trout and vies with the Mataura as an exceptional fly-fishing venue. The Upper Waiau River drains Lake Te Anau into Lake Manapouri with one of the largest water flows in the country. This big water is a trout frontier-land with deep pools that might never have yielded a trout. In common with other Southland waterways there is a large population of trout in good condition. The low density of anglers ensures a high probability of a catch – just the way it should be.
Fiordland National Park contains the beautiful glacial lakes of Te Anau and Manapouri which along with Lakes Monowai, Hauroko and Poteriteri, are significant fisheries in their own right. The Eglinton and Hollyford rivers are matchless scenic gems epitomising the regions unique qualities of seclusion, tranquillity and superlative angling.
Guided sight fishing and heli-fishing for brown and rainbow trout is available in Te Anau, Athol, Gore, Manapouri and Invercargill.