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Fishing info for Visiting Anglers

Fishing info for Visiting Anglers

Fishing in the North Canterbury / Hanmer Springs region 
Helpful fishing information for the visiting angler 


Trout fishing is available from Spring to Autumn (October to April), in the Upper river catchments. 


Guides are available to take you to the best heli-fishing spots. These are fishermen that know the area, and are experienced in the local conditions, and therefore able to lead you to the best spots and practices. They more than likely have been out fishing in the area the day before, and therefore know where to go today. 

Guides will often be able to supply you with all fishing equipment needed for your excursion. 

Hanmer Springs Helicopters are able to assist with providing a guide, if you are using our services. Just make the request when you fill out the fishing trip form. 


Hiring equipment 
Hire tackle is available from selected sports shops in Christchurch. However, you will probably need to obtain your own waders, which are no longer supplied by most hire shops. 

If you are hiring a guide, they may provide you with some fishing equipment. 

What you will need 

Fishing licence:
Fishing licences are available from most sports shops and can be purchased in Hanmer Springs. For more information visit the Fish & Game website.

Types of Fish: 

Salmon Fishing
Salmon, including Quinnat, King or Chinook salmon were introduced into the South Island in 1901 from North America. Sea-run salmon spend 1-3 years in the ocean before they make their run up the east-coast rivers of the South Island. This occurs from November to April, with the best fishing from December. These mighty fighters are a thrill to have on the line, causing your line and legs to run wherever the snared fish will take you. 

The Waiau and Hurunui join the Rakaia as rivers that this much sought after fish haunt. Runs in each river will vary from season to season; and so does the average weight of the fish. They can range from 4kg (10 lb) and up to 16 kg (35 lb). 

Brown trout 
Brown trout in New Zealand are world-renowned for their large size; this region is no exception. These wily specimens were originally introduced to New Zealand waters in 1867 from Tasmania, Australia, and have flourished in the local conditions. 

Brown trout in the region are are totally wild and they are rather known for their size. Average catches of brown trout in the region are regularly between 2-5kg (4-10lb). The best method for catching them is the spot and stalk method, but you do have to be very careful, as they are extremely alert. Using a fishing guide is a good idea, as they know the area and the tricks. Coupled with the breathtaking and sometimes wild scenery with the fast-flowing rivers and crafty fish, the angler is in for an exciting and enjoyable time fishing these rivers and lakes

Rainbow trout 
Rainbow trout were introduced to New Zealand waters from California in 1877. These fish are known for their plucky fight on the end of a line. They haunt the icy mountain lakes and lake fed rivers, streams and backwater creeks. 

Hanmer Springs and Lake Sumner Forest Park areas are the prime areas in North Canterbury for trout fishing. 

Fishing Licenses: 
You are required to purchase a fishing license to fish in any fresh water in New Zealand. 

Licenses are available which allow you to fish in any location in New Zealand except the Taupo district, and to catch any species. Licenses are not transferable to another angler. 

Further Fishing Information 


Photography courtesy of Zane Mirfin.

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