Bringing fishing equipment into New Zealand

New Zealand is known for its clear pristine water ways and famous for sight fishing.

We welcome many international anglers to fish their trophy trout, however, it’s also important that the fishing equipment that anglers bought in are thoroughly cleaned and dried.

Fishing flies which are clean and dry are not confiscated by New Zealand Customs officials when you arrive in the country. While it can be tempting to carry a large number of different patterns and sizes most New Zealand anglers agree that it is better to carry a smaller selection of patterns in a good variety of sizes. Most North American and British patterns work effectively in New Zealand.

Felt soled boots are prohibited for use by freshwater anglers in New Zealand. This is because the felt may harbour and transport microscopic waterborne pests, particularly didymo. To slow the spread of the invasive alga didymo and other aquatic pests in New Zealand waterways, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand also requires ALL used freshwater fishing equipment brought into New Zealand to be clean and dry.

MAF Biosecurity staff require any freshwater fishing equipment which is NOT COMPLETELY DRY (inside and out) to be treated, regardless of whether it has been cleaned before coming to New Zealand. Treatment for some items takes time and will most likely take place outside of the airport. If it is not feasible for the owner to wait for treatment to be completed, they will have to make their own arrangements to collect the item or have it shipped to their New Zealand, or home address.

To avoid this inconvenience Fish & Game New Zealand asks visiting anglers to leave their felt soled waders at home and not bring them into New Zealand. It also reminds anglers to check, clean, dry all fishing equipment before arriving in this country.

New Zealand has some of the most pristine rivers and lakes in the world. To help us to keep it that way, freshwater users must ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ aquatic equipment between waterways – regardless of location and perceived didymo risk.

Didymo has only been found in the South Island. To protect the North Island, a controlled area notice requiring cleaning of aquatic equipment when moving from the South Island to the North Island is in force.

Detailed cleaning instructions (including specific items such as felt-soled waders) and more information about didymo is available at

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