Angling etiquette in New Zealand

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On New Zealand's rivers and streams, a wonderful angling etiquette system has evolved that works well.

Locals and travellers alike love our majestic rivers and the abundance of fly fishing spots. On the river, there’s almost an unspoken code that everyone seems to follow. Here are a few insider tips.

When you choose your starting point for the day to begin your upstream adventure, make sure you are entering the water at least three or four kilometers above any downstream parked cars. This allows everyone their best chance at running into happy, feeding and undisturbed fish.

Leaving a note on a car window stating exactly where you will be fishing is another way to help ensure that you don’t run into any other anglers. The numerous designated “Anglers Access” signs along many rivers will also help you find the best access points to begin or end your day.

With the exception of the Tongariro River, where traditional wet fly swinging takes place as anglers move down the pools with each cast and always start at the top, practically all trout fishing is done by working your way upstream. So when you see a car parked at an access point, be sure to drive at least 4 or 5 kilometres upstream so as not to disturb their fishing water for the day.

Fishing courtesy is a big part of the New Zealand angling tradition and helping other anglers with car shuttles or rides back to their car at the end of the day can often lead to lots of good, solid info.

Remember to take any rubbish with you at the end of the day – it’s an offence to leave fish refuse alongside lakes or rivers.

A little insider knowledge will go a long way towards a first-class fishing expedition. Your lodge can tip you off as to the best local spots, giving you a head start.

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