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Baton River Trout Fishing

The Baton is a small stream in a delightful setting with several kilometers of wadeable water that holds good fish averaging 3 lbs and many much larger.


Baton River access map

Baton River topographic map

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Fish type Brown trout
Situation 1 hour from Nelson
20 minutes from Motueka
10 minutes from Tapawera
Setting The Baton is a small tributary of the Motueka that runs over a stone and gravel bed allowing several kilometers of fishable water. It is a beautiful river throughout its length with ever-changing vistas on each stretch. The lower reaches as it nears the Motueka River can provide challenging fishing but the middle reaches are a delight. In its headwaters, the Baton is fed by a number of tributaries that are small but contain some impressive fish. A highly scenic river.

Access map
Access map with topography

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

Check conditions

View graphs at the Tasman District Council website of recent:
- Baton river flow
- Baton rainfall

View MetService weather forecast for Motueka

F&G pamphlet Motueka River access pamphlet  >>>

Despite its size, the Baton holds reasonable size fish that can provide anglers with a real challenge fishing for large fish in clear water. It is very isolated and so an ideal stream to get away from other anglers.

The river runs over a bed of stones and gravel and the bankside vegetation makes for ideal trout habitat. But the lower reaches of the Baton are not easy to fish as vegetation grows on both banks near its confluence with the Motueka. However, just a few kilometres up the road a number of points provide easy access to the river and good unrestricted casting.

Stealth and accurate casting with light gear is essential to success. This river remains clear for most of the season and so allows anglers to spot fish and fish to them.

Fish numbers and size Average numbers of fish (though numbers are higher at the beginning of the season). Average size around 3lb though many fish go much bigger.

Access to the lower middle reaches of the Baton is easy as the Baton Valley Rd follows the river for many kilometres. The river can usually be reached by pushing through the bankside vegetation. At the lower end, at the confluence with the Motueka, and in the upper reaches where the river veers away from the road for considerable stretches, you must seek permission from landowners which is usually given readily. Please enquire at the nearest farmhouse.

See the access map.

Recommended lures

Nymphs: Hare and Copper, Pheasants Tails and Theo's Bombers in small sizes (14 or smaller)

Dry flies: Greenwell's Glory, Kakahi Queen, Parachute Adams, beetle patterns such as Coch-y-Bondhu and cicada patterns (in the late summer)

Wet flies: Small wets such as Greenwell's Glory, Twilight Beauty, Invicta, Purple and Grouse work well, especially in the evenings when fish are rising.

Applicable to Baton River
Region Nelson Marlborough >>>
Season 1 October to 30 April
Methods Artificial fly and spinner
Bag limit 2 (with only one fish exceeding 500mm in length)
Size limit (cm) No minimum size


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