Top Fishing Destinations in New Zealand: A Local’s Guide

Welcome, fellow angler! If you’re on the hunt for the best fishing destinations in New Zealand, you’ve come to the right place. 

As a local with a passion for fishing, I’m here to be your guide through the crystal-clear waters, majestic mountains, and serene landscapes that make New Zealand a true fishing paradise.

Top Fishing Destinations in New Zealand

Why New Zealand is a Fishing Paradise

New Zealand’s allure as a fishing paradise lies in its unparalleled natural beauty and diverse fishing opportunities. 

With over 15,000 kilometers of coastline and numerous inland waterways, this country offers a bounty of fishing experiences for anglers of all levels.

Crystal-clear Waters: Picture yourself casting your line into pristine waters surrounded by breathtaking scenery. 

From tranquil lakes to raging rivers, New Zealand’s waters are renowned for their clarity, making them ideal for spotting and targeting various fish species.

Abundant Marine Life: Whether you’re angling for trout in a mountain stream or battling big game fish offshore, New Zealand’s waters are teeming with marine life. 

From snapper and kingfish to tuna and marlin, there’s always a chance to reel in the catch of a lifetime.

Welcoming Local Culture: One of the highlights of fishing in New Zealand is the warm hospitality of the locals.

Kiwis are known for their love of the outdoors and are always eager to share their fishing tips and secret spots with visitors, ensuring that every angler has an unforgettable experience on the water.

Now, let’s dive into the top fishing spots in both the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

North Island Gems: Where to Cast Your Line

Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a true angler’s paradise, known for its stunning scenery and rich marine biodiversity. 

Here, you can cast your line for a variety of fish species, including snapper, kingfish, and the elusive yellowtail kingfish.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for different species varying throughout the year.

Fishing Techniques: Deep-sea fishing, coastal fishing, and fly fishing in sheltered bays.

Lake Taupo

Nestled in the heart of the North Island, Lake Taupo is a trout fisherman’s dream. 

With its crystal-clear waters and healthy trout population, it’s no wonder anglers flock here year-round to test their skills against these elusive freshwater giants.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for trout varying by location and weather conditions.

Fishing Techniques: Fly fishing, trolling, and jigging from boats or the shoreline.

Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel Peninsula offers endless fishing adventures, from surfcasting off the beach to exploring hidden coves by kayak. 

With its diverse marine habitats, you’ll have the chance to target big game fish like tuna and marlin offshore, or reel in snapper and kingfish from the coastline.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for different species varying by location and weather patterns.

Fishing Techniques: Surfcasting, kayak fishing, and deep-sea fishing offshore.

Hauraki Gulf

Just a stone’s throw from Auckland, the Hauraki Gulf is a hotspot for saltwater fishing enthusiasts. 

With its stunning views of Rangitoto Island and beyond, you can hook into snapper, kingfish, and kahawai while soaking in the beauty of this coastal paradise.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for different species varying by location and weather conditions.

Fishing Techniques: Bottom fishing, jigging, and soft baiting from boats or the shoreline.

South Island Treasures: Where the Big Ones Bite

Marlborough Sounds

The Marlborough Sounds is a maze of secluded bays and sheltered harbors, offering a haven for fishing enthusiasts. 

Here, you can drop a line for blue cod, snapper, and scallops, then feast on your fresh catch while overlooking the stunning scenery.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for different species varying by location and weather conditions.

Fishing Techniques: Bottom fishing, jigging, and drift fishing in sheltered bays and channels.


Prepare to be awestruck by the dramatic landscapes of Fiordland. With its rugged coastline and deep fjords, this remote region offers unparalleled fishing opportunities. 

Whether you’re hooking into a monster trout in a mountain stream or dropping a line for deep-sea species like groper and hapuka, Fiordland is sure to leave you breathless.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for different species varying by location and weather conditions.

Fishing Techniques: Fly fishing, trolling, and deep-sea fishing in fjords and offshore waters.


Renowned for its rich marine ecosystem, Kaikoura is a mecca for anglers seeking big game thrills. 

Head offshore for a chance to battle giant bluefin tuna, swordfish, and even the occasional great white shark. 

With its stunning coastal scenery and adrenaline-pumping fishing experiences, Kaikoura is a must-visit destination for any serious angler.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for different species varying by location and weather conditions.

Fishing Techniques: Deep-sea fishing, trolling, and live baiting offshore.

West Coast

The wild and untamed West Coast of the South Island is a dream destination for adventurous anglers. 

Whether you’re casting your line into pristine rivers and streams for brown trout or trying your luck at surfcasting for snapper and kahawai along the rugged coastline, the West Coast offers endless fishing opportunities against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

Best Time to Fish: Year-round, with peak seasons for different species varying by location and weather conditions.

Fishing Techniques: Fly fishing, spin casting, and surfcasting in rivers, streams, and along the coastline.

With these top fishing destinations in mind, let’s move on to the next section where we’ll discuss essential tips for a successful fishing trip in New Zealand.

Tips for a Successful Fishing Trip

Timing is Everything

Researching the best times of year to target your preferred species is crucial for a successful fishing trip in New Zealand. 

Consider factors such as weather patterns, water temperatures, and spawning seasons to maximize your chances of a good catch. 

For example, autumn is prime time for trout fishing in the South Island, while summer months are ideal for saltwater species like snapper and kingfish in the North Island.

Pack the Essentials

Don’t forget to pack everything you’ll need for a comfortable and successful fishing trip. 

Essentials include sunscreen to protect against the strong New Zealand sun, plenty of water to stay hydrated, snacks to keep your energy up, and a hat and polarized sunglasses to shield your eyes from glare. 

A waterproof jacket is also essential, as weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in coastal areas.

Essential Packing List:

  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hat
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Waterproof jacket

Respect the Environment

Preserving New Zealand’s pristine waters and natural habitats is essential for future generations of anglers to enjoy. 

Practice catch and release whenever possible, especially with threatened or protected species. 

Dispose of rubbish properly and follow local fishing regulations to help maintain the health of our waterways. 

Always leave the area cleaner than you found it, and be respectful of any wildlife you encounter during your fishing excursions.

Embrace the Local Culture

Take the time to connect with fellow anglers and learn from their experiences. Whether you’re chatting with a local fisherman at the bait shop or swapping stories around the campfire, building connections with like-minded individuals is all part of the fishing experience in New Zealand.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or recommendations from locals—they’re often happy to share their knowledge and secret spots with visitors.

Planning Your Fishing Adventure

Accommodation Options

New Zealand offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every angler’s preferences and budget. 

Whether you prefer roughing it in a tent under the stars or relaxing in a cozy cabin with all the amenities, you’ll find plenty of places to rest your weary head after a long day on the water.

Camping: Pitch a tent in one of New Zealand’s many campgrounds and enjoy the rustic charm of sleeping under the stars

Campgrounds are often located near popular fishing spots, providing convenient access to the water.

Cabins: For a bit more comfort and privacy, consider renting a cabin or beach (holiday home) near your chosen fishing destination. 

Many cabins are equipped with kitchen facilities, making them ideal for preparing your fresh catch after a successful day on the water.

Lodges: Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at one of New Zealand’s fishing lodges, where you can enjoy first-class amenities, gourmet meals, and expert guidance from experienced fishing guides. Fishing lodges often offer all-inclusive packages that include accommodation, meals, and guided fishing excursions.

Backcountry Huts: If you’re planning to venture into remote wilderness areas, consider staying in one of New Zealand’s backcountry huts. 

These basic shelters provide a roof over your head and a place to rest after a long day of fishing, hiking, or exploring.

Guided Fishing Tours

If you’re new to the area or simply want to maximize your chances of landing the big one, consider booking a guided fishing tour with a local expert. Guided tours offer valuable insights into local fishing techniques, hotspots, and seasonal patterns, helping you make the most of your time on the water.

Benefits of Guided Tours:

  • Local expertise and knowledge of the area
  • Access to exclusive fishing spots
  • Instruction on fishing techniques and equipment
  • Opportunity to learn about local flora, fauna, and culture

Weather Considerations

New Zealand’s weather can be unpredictable at times, so it’s essential to check the forecast before heading out on your fishing adventure. 

While a little rain or wind won’t dampen the spirits of dedicated anglers, severe weather conditions can pose safety risks and may require you to adjust your plans accordingly.

Tips for Fishing in Variable Weather:

  • Dress in layers to stay warm and dry
  • Monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to change plans if necessary
  • Seek shelter in bad weather or consider postponing your trip if conditions are unsafe
  • Be mindful of changing tides and currents, especially when fishing in coastal areas

By carefully planning your accommodation, booking guided fishing tours, and staying informed about weather conditions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable fishing adventure in New Zealand.

guided fishing tours


Congratulations! You’ve now been equipped with a comprehensive guide to the top fishing destinations in New Zealand, straight from the perspective of a local angler. From the tranquil lakes of the North Island to the rugged coastlines of the South Island, New Zealand offers endless opportunities for anglers to reel in the big one and create unforgettable memories on the water.

Now, it’s time to pack your gear, gather your mates, and embark on the fishing trip of a lifetime in the stunning waters of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice angler, there’s no shortage of adventure waiting to be discovered on the waters of this beautiful country.

Tight lines and happy fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Best Fish to Catch in New Zealand?

 New Zealand offers premier saltwater fishing and prolific Trout fisheries. 

Trout are abundant in freshwater, while Chinook Salmon, known as Quinnat, are prominent in the eastern rivers of the South Island. 

Some top Salmon fishing spots include Waitaki, Waimakariri, and Rakaia Rivers.

How to Go Fishing in New Zealand?

To embark on a fishing adventure in New Zealand, it is crucial to find a skilled skipper who can navigate the unpredictable weather and waters. 

Different types of expeditions cater to various preferences, from day trips for beginners to multi-day deep-sea fishing for seasoned anglers. 

Communication with your guide is key to ensure a successful fishing experience.

Saltwater Fishing Spots? 

New Zealand boasts various saltwater fishing hotspots. Wellington offers opportunities to target Tarakihi, Kahawai, Kingfish, and Snapper. 

The Bay of Islands is renowned for Marlin and Tuna fishing, while Dunedin and Bay of Plenty are popular for Salmon and Yellowfin Tuna respectively. 

Marlborough provides excellent fishing opportunities for Kingfish and Snapper.

Freshwater Fishing Spots:?

Lake Taupo stands out as a world-renowned destination for trout fishing in New Zealand. The crystal-clear rivers and lakes across both North and South Islands offer excellent freshwater fishing experiences. 

Rainbow and brown trout are abundant in these waters, with sea-run salmon being prevalent in the South Island.

General Fishing Tips?

 When fishing in New Zealand, it is advisable to wear light cotton trousers and wading boots for wet wading. Polaroid sunglasses are essential for spotting fish, and sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. 

A fast action 6 weight rod with a matching dull-colored weight forward floating line is ideal for New Zealand conditions. 

Practicing casting, being prepared for changing weather, and understanding the nature of fishing in New Zealand, where fewer but larger fish are common, are key to a successful fishing trip.