Owen River Lodge (NZ)

Butter yellow brown trout in New Zealand

Brown Trout – Rainbow Trout

SEASON: October – April
DURATION: 3 – 7 Night Packages
GUESTS: 6-12 Anglers

Owen River Lodge is located near the tip of New Zealand’s South Island. Over the years, New Zealand has developed a reputation for having the best-sighted river fishing for trout in the world, and more so on the South Island. Owen River Lodge offers easy access to the Nelson, Marlborough, North Canterbury, and West Coast fisheries and is ideally positioned to put anglers at the epicenter of New Zealand’s best fishing.

Fishing at Owen River Lodge

Fly fishing at Owen River Lodge

At Owen River lodge, guests enjoy fly fishing on numerous blue-ribbon streams and rivers. There are over 30 waters accessible by road – mostly within an hour’s drive – and countless others by helicopter. As a result, the region offers a vast variety, ranging from small, intimate rivers like the Owen River to iconic freestone rivers like the Wairau.

The average fish ranges between 3lb & 6lb, but each season, this fishery produces many fish over the 10lb mark.

Sight fishing paradise

New Zealand streams are impeccably clear, making 99% of your fishing sight fishing.
Imagine stalking a 7 or 8lb wild brown trout in water so clear that you can see your flies bouncing on the bottom in waist-deep pools.

Most local fishing from Owen River Lodge involves walking and stalking sighted brown trout. This means that for most rivers, you must see the fish before the fish sees you, making your guide an integral part of your stay.

All Owen River Lodge guides are professional, full-time fishing guides, with a wealth of experience. All the senior guides are also members of the NZPFGA.

Fishing tips:
You should use a dull-colored fly line, long leaders, and a fine tippet. Unlike lake fishing, most of the casting you will do will be medium to short distances—accuracy being much more important than the ability to cast the complete fly line. Generally, anglers use a 5 or 6-weight rod, 9 to 10 feet in length.


Early season – October and November

Early season fishing in New Zealand has some advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, the fish haven’t seen an angler for five months. Some of the rivers may still be high due to the rainy season but with the abundance of rivers in the area, finding a fishable stretch is relatively simple.

The smaller streams are at their very best during the early season and for some, fishing for 5lb trout in 20-foot wide streams is the highlight of the fishing year.

In the early season, fishing is predominantly done with big nymphs, but all your fishing is still sight-fishing.

The weather this time of the year can be changeable, so it’s always an idea to pack your DULL-colored raincoat.

Trophy brown trout at Owen river Lodge

Summer – December, January, February and March

Summer in New Zealand is the busiest time to fly fish as it offers classic New Zealand dry fly fishing at its best.

The river levels will have dropped sufficiently, and the stable weather conditions make for comfortable days out casting dry flies. However, midway through summer, the sound of cicadas fills the air, and the brown trout seem to spend a lot more time looking up for a tasty morsel to float by. Typically, 75% of your fish will be caught using a dry fly (Cicada, Blowfly, or Grasshopper).

Late season – April

April in New Zealand sees the weather cooling, which sends a message to the browns that it’s time to stack on weight in preparation for their spawning in winter. Mayfly activity increases, making parachute style dries a go-to pattern, and also small nymphs.

The weather this time of the year can be changeable, so it’s always an idea to pack your DULL-colored raincoat.

New Zealand Brown Trout from Nelson area

Fishing Licenses

Any visitor from overseas must buy a Non-Resident Licence (NRL) – “Non-resident” means a person who is NOT ordinarily a resident in New Zealand. A Non-Resident Licence (NRL) entitles the holder to fish for trout & salmon in all Fish & Game regions, excluding the Taupo Fishing District.

Reasons to visit Owen River Lodge – Heli Fishing

Owen River Lodge is directly adjacent to Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand’s second-largest national park, and the Nelson Lakes National Park. The lodge has the appropriate concessions with the Department of Conservation to provide guided fishing in these National parks for unrivaled access to some of the most remote streams on the South Island.

Accommodation at Owen River Lodge

Owen River Lodge offers six purpose-built guest cottage suites. The suites are located in the garden, a short stroll from the main lodge building & offers stunning views of the water, the valley, and Kahurangi National Park. The suites can be configured with either a king-size double bed or twin single beds.

Cottage suites

Suites are equipped with reverse cycle air conditioning, an electronic safe, ironing facilities, an alarm clock, a mini bar stocked with complimentary soft drinks, premium New Zealand fruit juices, homemade mineral waters, and tea and coffee making facilities – with freshly ground coffee beans.

All suites offer en suite bathrooms with oversized towels, bathrobes, a hairdryer, and the usual accompaniments.

WiFi is available in the suites and the main lodge building – ideal for sending fish pictures to family and friends back home.



Before exploring the local rivers, guests start the day with a hearty country-style breakfast. This includes fresh fruit, cereals, homemade granola/muesli, fresh breads, and free-range eggs prepared to your liking. Breakfast is from 6.30 am until 10.00 am.


Lunch is a picnic pack to be enjoyed on the river. For non-fishing companions, lunch is available at the lodge on the deck.


Owen River Lodge taps into New Zealand’s unique fusion style cuisine – Māori, Polynesian, Asian and  European.

After cleaning up from the day’s adventures, enjoy pre-dinner snacks at the bar before dinner, which is between 7.00 & 7.30 pm. The Owen River Lodge is a place to unwind – please feel free to dress casually for dinner – no jacket required!

Getting to the fishing

hook up at Owen River Lodge

New Zealand has three primary international airports: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. You can catch a direct flight to Nelson from any of these cities.

The lodge is about 100 kilometers (90-Minute drive) from the Nelson airport and 4 hours drive from Christchurch. We will arrange specific directions based on your individual travel requirements.

Itinerary for a typical day at Owen River Lodge

Your guide will arrive at the lodge at 7.45 am, meet with the other guides, and discuss the fishing plans for the day.

Your guide will be ready to leave the lodge between 8 am – 8.15 am. The guides carry your lunch and a stainless water bottle which is yours to keep. Typically you will return to the lodge between 5 pm – 6.30 pm.

Image Gallery

Rates based on 7 Night Packages

Package Rates

All tariffs are on a per person basis unless otherwise stated

Spring 1 October > 6 December 2022

Summer 7 December 2022> 21 March 2023

Autumn/Fall 22 March >30 April 2023

3 Night /2 Day Guided Fishing Package

Double/twin share – per person

NZ $2,930

NZ $3,800

NZ $2,930

4 Night /3 Day Guided Fishing Package

Double/twin share – per person

NZ $4,045

NZ $5,205

NZ $4,045

5 Night / 4 Day Guided Fishing Package

Double/twin share – per person

NZ $5,165

NZ $6,615

NZ $5,165

6 Night / 5 Day Fishing Guided Package

Double/twin share – per person

NZ $6,282

NZ $8,020

NZ $6,282

7 Night / 6 Day Guided Fishing Package

Double/twin share – per person

NZ $7,400

NZ $9,430

NZ $7,400

Rates Include

  • Three-course dinner
  • Cooked English or Continental breakfast
  • A picnic lunch daily
  • New Zealand house wine
  • New Zealand beer
  • WiFi
  • Use all lodge facilities, including loan fly fishing equipment such as Simms G3 waders & wading boots, Current model Sage rods & reels, mountain bikes etc.
  • GST and accommodation in one of our guest cottage suites

Rates Exclude

  • International flights
  • Transfers & car rental
  • Fishing licenses
  • Tip for the guides
  • Tip for the staff
  • Extra alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses & fishing tackles
  • Laundry services
  • Excursions

Extra Info

New Zealand Customs officers are very serious about maintaining New Zealand’s disease-free status. Naturally, therefore, you must declare any fishing equipment you have!

Please ensure that your boots and waders are dry and spotless with no attached mud, grass, or other material. We recommend that you do not bring any fly tying materials (e.g., feathers)


From 1 October 2019, visitors from visa-waiver countries must request an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) prior to coming to New Zealand. You may also have to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). For more information on the ETA and IVL, visit Immigration New Zealand.

When you arrive, your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date, and if required, have a valid New Zealand visa.

You do not need a visa to visit New Zealand if you are:

  • A New Zealand or Australian citizen or resident
  • A UK citizen and/or passport holder (you can stay up to six months)
  • A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (you can stay up to three months).

If you don’t meet the above, you’ll need a visitor visa, allowing you to holiday in New Zealand for up to nine months. The fastest and easiest way to apply for a visitor visa is online.

While basic travel insurance is included, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that clients purchase Global Rescue insurance.

Medical Evacuation
It is important that clients have adequate travel and medical insurance that includes Medical Evacuation from point of Injury. Global Rescue offers the most comprehensive and inclusive insurance.


The New Zealand power supply is 230 / 240 volts. Loan adaptors are available.


NZ Dollar


If you thought your guide and/or the lodge staff exceeded your expectations, you may wish to tip them. Guests typically tip their guides between $75 – NZ $150 per guide per day and around $50 – NZ $75 per night for our chefs, housekeepers and other lodge support staff.

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