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Lake Manapouri Trout Fishing

The beautiful Lake Manapouri receives low angling pressure despite being a productive fishery with shallow areas suitable for trolling or harling.

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Fish type Lake Manapouri holds brown and rainbow trout, plus a few landlocked Chinook salmon, Trout range between 1-3 kg.

Lake Manapouri, with its 33 islands, is a beautiful cold and scenic lake in surrounded by bush and magnificent mountains. It is large (142 sq km), cold and deep with a 170 km shoreline.

The lake extends about 25 km west from Manapouri township and has four arms: the Hope, North, South and West.


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Access map with topography

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F&G pamphlet Successful Boat Fishing on Southern Lakes pamphlet >>>

Manapouri is a deep lake but with shallow areas within easy reach, including the extensive flats from Frasers Beach right around to Shallow Bay, and the outlet towards Hope Arm. The best time to fish is at dawn or dusk, or on a dull day with some breeze.

Along the lake edge, fish are difficult to spot. The best shoreline fishing is between Frasers Beach and Supply Bay. Stream mouths are also a good option.

Lake Manapouri was modified for power generation in the 1960s, and occasionally the draw-off exposes sand and mud banks.


Pearl Harbour at Manapouri is the only place for public boat launching.

An area off View Street is reserved for parking boat trailers and a walkway connects back to the harbour, one block away.

DOC huts are at:

- Hope Arm

- At the mouth of the Freeman Burn at thr head of North Arm

- Shallow Bay on the Kepler track (Motorau Hut)

- Shallow Bay near the mouth of the Waiau River


The lake is best suited to boat fishing and the shallow water methods (trolling and harling) are most popular. On bright calm days, it's better to try deeper fishing methods such as leadlining or downrigging.

Recommended tackle


  • Trolling line (e.g. leadline)
  • A minimum 5 m maximum 6kg monofilament leader, with a small swivel attached
  • 1m of 3.5 kg monofilament to which is attached a green or brown Cobra lure with a split ring
  • 0.2 m monofilament with a fly attached


As for trolling but replace the lure with a second fly.

Recommended lures

Nymphs: Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Sandy Case Caddis

Dry flies: Coch-y Bondhu, Green Beetle, Adams, Early Brown (on small hooks)

Wet flies: Red Setter, Hairy Dog, Mrs Simpson, Craig's Night Time

Spinners: Green or brown Cobra


Waiau River

Maraora River

Regulations (1)
Applicable to Lake Manapouri except the areas below
Region Southland regulations
Season All year
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Total: 2
Salmon: 1
Size limit (cm) No limit
Regulations (2)
Applicable to Lake Manapouri within 100m of any part of the Real Journeys Company's Tourist Centre, Pearl Harbour, Manapouri
Region Southland regulations
Season Closed
Regulations (3)
Applicable to Manapouri, Lake: Those portions of the Waiau River, Mararoa River and the Waiau Arm of Lake Manapouri that are within 100m of the control gates on the Manapouri Lake Control structure, also known as the Mararoa Weir.
Region Southland regulations
Season Closed
Regulations (4)
Applicable to Lake Manapouri tributaries except the upper Waiau and the Mararoa
Region Southland regulations
Season Trout: 1 Nov-30 Apr
Salmon: 1 Nov-31 Mar
Methods Artificial fly, spinner
Bag limit Total: 2
Salmon: 1
Size limit (cm) No limit


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