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Goulter River Trout Fishing

The Goulter is a beautiful scenic bush lined river that provides anglers who are prepared to walk to fish in clear water for large trout in scenic surroundings.


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Fish type Brown trout
Setting The Goulter is a beautiful river that  runs through bush for much of its length. It drains Lake Chalice (which only contains small native trout of no interest to anglers) and joins the Wairau in its middle reaches.

Access map
Access map with topography

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

Check conditions View MetService weather forecast for Blenheim
F&G pamphlet Wairau River access pamphlet 

The Goulter is probably the best of the Wairau tributaries in fishing terms as it maintains good flows throughout the year. The water is generally clear even when the Wairau is discoloured and so offers good opportunites to anglers for a greater proportion of the year. The river is a mixture of enticing runs, riffles and pools.

While the open aspect of much of this river make it a delight to cast in, it is a challenging river to fish for the wary fish that inhabit its waters. Any angler prepared to walk will be able to spot fish in the clear water however and the scenery alone is a just cause to spend time on this river. It is wadeable.

Fish numbers and size

Fish numbers are good though as the river receives heavy angling pressure so catch and release is recommended. Fish average around 3-4lb.


The Goulter is around 40 minutes drive from Blenheim and 2 hours from Nelson. A walking track beginning at Patriarch Station allows anglers to follow the river's length. Ask permission at Patriarch Station prior to crossing their land.

See the access map

Recommended lures

Nymphs: Small nymphs (sizes 14 or smaller) such as Pheasant Tail patterns, Halfbacks and Hare and Coppers are recommeded

Dry flies: Green Beetles and humphy patterns work well from early summer during the day and Twilight Beauty and Greenwell's Glory being good evening flies.

Wet flies: Small wets such as March Brown and Greenwell's Glory work well especially during the evening.

Spinners: Bladed spinners such as Mepps or Veltic in duller colours are the best for spin fishing.

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


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