The Best Fly Fishing Spots Near Otago

While you’re in Otago, you’re never far away from an incredible fly fishing opportunity. Take a virtual tour of the area before you plan your trip.
The Best Fly Fishing Spots Near Otago

So you’ve found yourself near the south of the South Island in Otago, a region filled with enough landscape variation to keep you occupied for a lifetime (or a holiday - if you’re just passing through). If you’re anything like us, you’ll love the weathered mountains, alpine herb fields, remote beaches and fast-flowing rivers. And you’ll be searching for the best places to go fly fishing near Otago.

While you’re in the area, you’ll never be far away from an incredible fly fishing opportunity. Surrounded by productive coastal streams as well as the famous Taiera and Pomahaka rivers, let’s explore the best fly fishing locations near Otago.


1. The Southern Lakes - Wakatipu, Wanaka & Hawea

You’ll find some of New Zealand’s most diverse waters down south - a “fishing paradise” some may say. By some, we mean us and the rest of the Otago fly fishing community. This stunning trio of lakes, Wakatipu, Wakana and Hawea, are a must-visit, as they’re teeming with salmon, rainbow and brown trout.

Lake Wakatipu (3-hour drive via State Hwy 6)

A well-stocked glacial lake surrounded by mountains and fed by a collection of rivers that hold their own as key fisheries, Lake Wakatipu is defined by rugged terrain and decent-sized salmon and trout. The spot goes hand-in-hand with trolling, the technique anglers tend to adopt here for the best results.


Lake Wanaka (less than a 3-hour drive via State Hwy 85)

A year-round destination, the crystal clear Lake Wanaka is set amongst breathtaking mountains. It houses self-sustaining populations of salmon and trout, attracting experienced fly fishers that like a challenge (and ideally have a boat).

Lake Hawea (less than a 3-hour drive via State Hwy 85)

At around 57km long, Lake Hawea is large, deep, and home to a good population of brown and rainbow trout - as well as some quinnat salmon. Head to the Hunter River at the northern end of Lake Hawea and you won’t be disappointed. Plus, the lake’s open all year round, so if you’re twiddling your thumbs through the winter months, why not brave it?


2. The Clutha River (2 ½ hour drive via State Hwy 85)

Brimming with sea-run and resident brown trout, Clutha is open for fishing throughout the year. If you’re out for salmon, head here between January and April (you’ll want to fish downstream near the main road from Milton to Alexandra).

The impressive size of this river makes it a playground of opportunities for experienced fly fishers in Otago. This turquoise river is the longest in the South Island and the swiftest in New Zealand. What a show-off.


3. Taieri River (15-minute drive via State Hwy 85)

There’s a good reason fly fishing is the most popular method of catching fish in the Taieri. Home to a good stock of brown trout, you’ll likely have a successful day with wet or dry fly fishing, as long as you caste accurately at the narrow parts of the river, such as the upper reaches.

Access the river by vehicle, since its swampy areas can make it a challenge to reach it on foot. Otherwise, the second largest river for fly fishing in Otago offers just the right conditions and terrain variety for a memorable day out.


4. Makarora River (3 ½ hour drive via State Hwy 6)

Grab a sink-tipped line and whitebait imitation when you take your spot by the clear waters of the Makorara, where you’ll find plenty of brownies, rainbow trout and salmon. Set against a backdrop of beech forest and high mountains, this scenic spot is best around the start and end of the season, when competition from anglers is at its lowest.


5. Lake Onslow (2 ½ hour drive via State Hwy 87)

A man-made lake that’s perfect for dry fishing when the weather picks up, Lake Onslow has a good stock of wild brown trout and is best accessed with a 4WD. Plan your venture around the weather, since a calm day at Lake Onslow makes all the difference!


6. Poolburn Dam (2-hour drive via State Hwy 87)

Otago Daily Times encourages you to pack a picnic if you’re going flyfishing in the Poolburn Dam. “It is worth the trip for the scenery alone,” the publication says. “This 300ha irrigation dam is surrounded by spectacular moonlike rock formations in a stark tussock landscape under huge skies.”

Your best bet is to fly fish close to the shore during the warmer months, when there’s no shortage of trout and koura that get friendly. Situated on the Ida Valley side of the Rough Ridge Range, access Poolburn Dam via the Poolburn Hotel. Near the start of the season, it’s recommended you use dry flies such as brown and green beetle, Royal Wulff and Coch-Y-Bonddu. When the season is coming to a close, imitate adult diving beetles using Black Gnat and Peveril of the Peak.


7. Upper Manorburn Dam (less than a 2-hour drive via State Hwy 87)

You’ll find the Upper Manorburn Dam at the south end of the Ida Valley. With a shoreline of 14 km, there’s enough rainbow trout to go around! Just like Poolburn Dam, the best access point is near the Poolburn Hotel.

Feathered lures prevail early on in the season and at the height of summer, there’s an abundant cicada hatch alongside midge hatches at dawn and dusk. November and December are the best months to head here, but you can also take on the smaller bays in March and April.


Fly fishing in Otago? Take your handcrafted fly rod with you

There’s really no shortage of lakes, rivers and fisheries in Otago. Make the most of it by fly fishing with the best fly rod you’ve ever cast. Epic Fly Rods is all about adding that little bit extra that takes your rod from ordinary to extraordinary. Trust us: You won’t want to go fly fishing in Otago without your Epic.

Shop the best sellers  before you plan your tour of the area.



Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers
Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers from $50.00
Give the Gift of Choice No Delays, No Shipping. The Perfect Fly Fishing Gift On Time Every Time - Instant Delivery! Looking for the perfect gift for the Fly Angler in your life? Give them the gift of choice with a gift card. Gift cards are delivered by email from you directly from our website and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. Gift cards are charged and redeemed on our stores base currency - $US For customers outside of the USA you can still shop and check-out in your native currency, our store does the conversion for you. Shopping for someone else (or yourself) but not sure exactly what to choose?Not sure what to get? Length, color or size?  It's very easy with an Epic Gift Card. You give - they choose! Schedule a Time to Send!You can even prescheduled  time / day / date that you would like your Gift Card delivered What is this?Gift Cards are delivered to you the purchaser by email and contain simple instructions to redeem them at checkout for products in our store. Each gift card features a unique code. Your gift card can also be printed out and gifted to the recipient, or it can be emailed to them immediately. Need Help? - drop us a line and we'll help you or your gift card recipient choose. How does it Work? Simple, you purchase the gift card you would like to give and check out just like you would for any online purchase. Our system will send you an email the recipient your gift card with your custom message. (That gift card has a unique voucher code on it) The recipient uses the voucher code to redeem against the purchase of their choice. Questions: Gift Cards work just like cash Any unspent balance can be used later Purchases can be topped up with cash, credit card or Paypal for larger purchases Customers can check their balance by visiting the unique gift card link sent via email Gift Cards have no additional processing fees. Purchase in your native currency to be redeemed at any time.Any questions or problems, just email us
Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag Epic Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault $83.99 $119.95
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Fish faster and smarter with the Backcountry Double Fly Rod Vault! This powerhouse of a storage solution is designed to carry two 9ft fly rods and reels, rigged up and ready to roll. Durably crafted from tough, water-resistant 600D Cordura material and reinforced by 210D Ripstop Polyester inner, you can rest assured your valuable fly rods and reels will be safe in all conditions. Waterproof YKK zippers keep moisture and dust out while the thickly padded interior protects your precious fly reels from being scratched. A hardshell outer helps look after your fly rods no matter what terrain awaits you. This is an unbeatable way to transport two complete setups. Save time and be ready to fish at a moment's notice!
Best fly reel for fly fishing as voted by field and stream best of the best Best fly reel waterproof fly reel
Backcountry Fly Reel $295.99 $399.95
Large Arbor Backcountry Fly Reel II The best looking fly reel on the river. Our Backcountry fly reel features a smooth, sealed ceramic drag mechanism that boasts 3kg of drag and is easily swapped from left to right-hand wind. Super smooth sealed drag, lightweight large arbor, stealthy satin finish. Suitable for both fresh and saltwater use. CNC machined from cold-forged tempered 6061-T6 aluminum, High capacity large arbor spool Waterproof sealed stacked ceramic drag Type III military spec hard anodised finish Suitable for both fresh & saltwater use Large Arbor Spool The large arbor spool features a curved U shaped design that adds strength and assists in line levelling upon retrieval. The exposed reel edge makes for easy palming. A no-nonsense, tough, waterproof and lightweight fly reel. Epic in every way. Finished in a stealthy low sheen type III hard anodised satin finish available in any color as long as it's black.  Backcountry 3/4 Backcountry 5/6 Backcountry 7/8 Weight: 115g (4oz) Weight: 131g (4.6oz) Weight: 139g (4.9oz) Capacity: line + 50m  Capacity: line + 100m  Capacity: line + 150m  Dia:  84mm Dia: 94mm Dia: 104mm Got questions? - Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.
Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit $138.99 $199.00
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry Fly Tying kit features the very best Italian made tools by Stonfo and a pair of remarkable hand crafted fly tying scissors by Renomed of Poland. There are no finer fly tying tools made. We've taken the best of the best and presented them in a thoughtful waxed cotton canvas tool roll featuring genuine leather trim and straps fastened with classic brass catches. The hand stitched waterproof tool roll houses & protects these high quality tools and features two additional pouches to tuck away fly tying materials and hooks. The Renomed "Fly Tier" scissors feature a 'super cut' finely serrated blade that makes cutting deer hair and fur a breeze, and the larger scissor handles afford comfort and extraordinary durability and functionality. Tool Collection  Renomed Fly Tier Super Cut scissors (retail US$45) Stonfo Dubbing Twister Stonfo Hackle pliers Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Dubbing Brush Stonfo Bobtec1  Adjustable Bobbin With Ceramic Insert (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless steel) Stonfo Elite Whip Finisher (Stainless Steel)
Stainless steel Hip Flask Hip Flask
Good Libations Stainless Hip Flask $23.99 $34.95
The Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip Flask  Carry your favourite adult beverage in style with our Good Libations Stainless Steel Hip flask. About the size of a small fly box it's the perfect addition to your fly vest or bag. Smooth rounded corners make for quick extraction in times of celebration. Stainless steel and about as tough as they come, at a hearty 9oz ( 28 ml) there's plenty to share! Stainless Steel Silicon cap retainer Easy sippin' ergo design Bigger than most Cheers! Capacity: 9oz ( 266 ml) Dimensions: 127mm x 83mm x 29ml Material: Stainless Steel Positive Mood Adjustment
Stroft Tippet carry system Stroft Cutter and Carry System - 3 spool Set
Stroft Cutter and Carry System - 3 spool Set $27.95
3 Spool Stroft tippet system Three high quality German made Stroft Cutter & retaining rings - made to fit over standard Stroft tippet Spools. Spool Holder Stroft short strap - Vest strap & Carabiner The ideal system to hold, dispense and trim Stroft tippet A retainer rings and high quality cutter ring. Cutter is razor sharp, and coated in some magical stuff that is corrosion resistant. (We couldn't even spell the alloy) Fits all Stroft spools from 25m to 50m (ABR, GTM, FC!, FC2, Fluer) Includes colour coded easy peel labels  This is an incredibly well made tippet system! *does not include spools of tippet material - Stroft Tippet Spools available for purchase separately  Got questions? - Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.

The Epic Fly Rod Chooser

Find your perfect fly rod with our 10 second quiz

Lifetime Warranty
Lifetime Warranty

Love It or Return It

100% total satisfaction guarantee

5 Star Support

Industry leading support and service

Easy Returns

Hassle free returns

World Wide Shipping

Shipping worldwide daily
Experience the Epic® difference.