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Ashburton Lakes Trout and Salmon Fishing

The Ashburton Lakes are a number of high country lakes and tarns that offer a wide variety of fishing in spectacular scenery for quinnat salmon, brown and rainbow trout and even American Brook trout.

View Ashburton lakes photos

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Fish type, number and size The lakes mostly hold brown trout with some rainbow trout but anglers can also fish for Quinnat salmon that enter Lake Heron from the Rakaia River and for the very rare fontinalis or American brook trout which is present in Lake Emily.
Situation These lakes are very special as anglers fish in very clear water against a backdrop of snow covered mountains. A variable catch rate is amply made up for by the clean crisp air and the beautiful, pristine surroundings.

Because of the altitude and locatio, all the lakes are very exposed and subject to the strong winds particularly those from the northwest (known as the Nor'wester) which can make fishing extremely difficult at times. Conditions on these lakes can change rapidly and snow can be expected at any time of the year except for during the very hottest months of January and February.


Access map

Access map with topography

LINZ topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260 series)

The lakes

The nine Ashburton lakes are:

- Lake Clearwater

- Lake Heron

- Lake Emma
- Lake Camp
- Lake Emily
- Maori Lakes
- Lake Roundabout
- Spider Lakes
- Lake Denny


Access to most of the lakes is easy with roads leading to a number of them. Accommodation however is limited and several of the lakes can only be accessed on foot or with a four-wheel-drive. Due to the weather's unpredictable nature and its ability to change rapidly from beautiful warm sunshine to blustery freezing cold, great care should be taken and anglers should be well-prepared should they venture very far from their transport.

See the Ashburton lakes access map


Most high country lakes open for fishing on the first Saturday in November and close on 30 April.

Please see the  topic about the specific lake or the alphabetical list of lakes and river in the Central South Island regulations.



Lake Heron Cottage

Lake Heron cottage

The Blue Pub Methven

The Blue Pub Methven

Sierra Motel Omarama

Sierra Motel Omarama

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