Controlled Fishery Licences

Controlled Fishery Licences in New Zealand

Certain fisheries are recognized for their unique ecological significance and high-quality angling experiences.

To ensure the sustainability and preservation of these delicate ecosystems, the Controlled Fishery Licence system was established. This licensing mechanism aims to manage angling pressure, protect the natural habitat, and maintain the unparalleled fishing experience that these waters offer.

Whether you’re a local angler or an international enthusiast, understanding the Controlled Fishery Licence is crucial if you’re venturing into New Zealand’s most coveted fishing spots.

Purpose of a Controlled Fishery Licence

The primary aim of a Controlled Fishery is to manage angling pressure, ensuring that anglers can enjoy a high-quality wilderness experience. This system ensures that the delicate balance of these ecosystems is preserved, and the unique angling opportunities they offer remain unparalleled.


How the Controlled Fishery Licence Works

A Controlled Fishery Licence permits backcountry anglers to either book or enter a ballot for specific river beats during designated periods. The process varies based on the management system of the river:

  • Booking System: For rivers managed through a booking system, once a booking is confirmed, anglers receive a ‘booking confirmation receipt’ via the online booking system. This receipt acts as the Controlled Fishery Licence and must be carried at all times when fishing within the Controlled Fishery. If requested, it should be produced to Fish & Game staff.

  • Online Ballot: Some rivers are managed via an online ballot system. Anglers can enter the ballot for the river beats and periods they wish to fish. After the ballot draw, successful anglers receive a Controlled Fishery Licence via email. This licence must be carried at all times when fishing within the Controlled Fishery and produced if requested by Fish & Game staff.


Qualifying for a Controlled Fishery Licence

To be eligible for a Controlled Fishery Licence, anglers must possess a qualifying Whole Season Sports Fishing Licence.


Controlled Fisheries in New Zealand

Several rivers in New Zealand are managed as Controlled Fisheries. Some of these include:

  • Otago Controlled Fishery Licences
  • Ettrick Burn Controlled Fishery Licences: A booking is required to fish the Ettrick Burn during specific periods from November onwards.
  • The Clinton and Worsley Controlled Fisheries: These rivers and their tributaries have special licencing requirements.
  • The Ōhau River Controlled Fishery: The upper section of the Ōhau River, from its confluence with Lake Ruataniwha to the Lake Ōhau Weir, is managed as a Controlled Fishery.