Fishing & Hunting



Note that a fishing license is required to fish for trout and salmon.


The Whataroa River and its tributaries are snow and glacier fed rivers and often cloudy. Brown trout are present through the catchment. The lower reaches and lagoon offer good fishing but are difficult to access. The middle and upper reaches are best fished when the river clears. There is also a small salmon run in the Whataroa in the Months of January to April. Common access points are above the State Highway bridge at the scenic flights area, and Whale Road.

 Waitangi-Taona – from where it re-emerges below Bird Hill.
A medium sized river, which flows crystal clear in normal conditions. Good trout numbers in the lower section, which is easily accessible from the Lower Whataroa Flat Rd. Turn off at Whataroa and the follow signs to ‘White Heron Sanctuary Tours’ boat launching ramp. Approximately 4 to 5km of good water are available above and
below this point. Regarded as World Class!

Waitangi-Taona – above the Main Road
This section of the river often flows underground therefore is not suitable for a permanent fish population and is not recommended as a place to fish.

Vickers Creek
Another slow, usually clear waterway that contains brown trout. This creek runs alongside Bird Road on mostly private land. Knock on the door of the nearest farmhouse for permission to access it.

Lake Wahapo
This little lake contains brown trout but is tricky to fish as it is often silty and there are submerged logs present.

Okarito River
The Okarito contains a good brown trout population and sea-run salmon from December to March. Access is difficult due to the forest terrain but try near the source (Lake Mapourika outlet) and near Zalas Creek (Power house) confluence at the Forks, 15mins drive from Whataroa.

Okarito Lagoon
Salmon and trout may be caught at the mouth of the Lagoon. Access is near the boat shed and the grassed area at Okarito township. Be very careful of the tidal run!

Lake Mapourika
Lake Mapourika is adjacent to SH6, 15kms South of Whataroa and is a productive brown trout and Quinnat salmon fishery. Lake resident salmon can be expected in the 1-2kg range and sea runners arrive from December to the end of March. Fish of 3-5 kg are common.In calm conditions large brown trout are easily spotted cruising lake margins. Use a bully imitation if fly fishing or small dark lure when spinning. Deep water trolling is most productive for salmon. Best spots are along the western fringe south of the lake outlet, off the entrance to Jetty Bay where the main boat ramp is located, or off the roadside edge from Jetty Bay to the mouth of Redjacks Creek. Foot access is available to the mouth of McDonalds Creek (turn off at SH6 bridge at the northern end of the lake) Because most fish are hooked close to the bottom, a slow retrieve is recommended.

Please refer to the sports fishing Regulations for season dates and bag limits. Fishing licences, regulations booklets and gear are available from the Whataroa Service Station. Licences may also be obtained through the Fish and Game West Coast website which is also a mine of useful information.



Note that a license is required for game hunting.



If you wish to hunt on Department of Conservation land, you will need a DOC permit.
Hunting permits are available from the Department of Conservation, these can now be obtained on-line. See the DOC website for more information about permits. Contact the Franz Josef Area Office phone 03 752 0796.
See Fish and Game for licences as well as useful information.

The hunting in Westland is here to be enjoyed by all New Zealanders as well as visitors from around the world. Respect the game we have to hunt, take only what you need and leave the other game you see for the next visitors.

Hunting around the Whataroa area
The Whataroa area has some exceptional hunting opportunities. Himalayan tahr and Alpine chamois are present in moderate numbers, hunters travel from all over New Zealand to hunt these animals in the Whataroa River and its many catchments. Red deer are also found in low to moderate numbers.

The Whataroa River is popular with hunters, it has a great network walking tracks, the tracks link up with good Department of Conservation huts. There are 3 DOC huts in the Whataroa valley and two in the Perth River. These huts can also be accessed by helicopter. For the more adventurous hunter there are plenty of places you can hunt with no huts, put up your tent and enjoy the wilderness.
There is also a hut in Reynolds Creek on the Price Range (Stan’s Hut), this hut was originally set up by Stan Peterson. Stan used the hut for his guided hunting business. Stan is now retired, but his hut is still available for people to use. To use Stan’s hut you must book through Safari Club International (SCI) currently Gary Mullings is taking the bookings. PH. 03 442 1426 or 027 4598 570
To the north of the Whataroa River is the Adams Wilderness Area, aerial access into the wilderness area is restricted. Foot access into this area is difficult as a result most hunters access this area via helicopter. To gain access to this area you must participate in the annual Tahr Ballot run by the Department of Conservation.  read more whataroa
To the north of Whataroa around Hari Hari and Ross there are also feral goats, like our other game these animals can be hunted year round.

Hunting Guides
Marcus Pinney and Raewyn Cooper own and operate Wilderness Trophy Hunting. Marcus and Raewyn guide both international hunters as well as catering for local Kiwi hunters. They specialise in free range / fair chase hunting. The main species they hunt are tahr, chamois and fallow deer. They also offer rusa deer hunts in Australia. For bookings phone 03 753 4263 or email Marcus on the form at the bottom of this page.

Read more from these pages.

Wilderness-Hunting-WebsiteWilderness Hunting FacebookWilderness-Trophy-Hunting YouTube

Game Birds
Hunting licences are required to hunt game birds, the main season is May-July. When bird numbers are high there is often a season for Paradise Duck and Pukeko in March. Licences can be obtained from the Whataroa Service Station or online: