Designated Waters Licences

Designated Waters Licences

Learn about the designated waters licence. This is an attempt to alleviate waters and prevent overcrowding…

Why the Designated Waters Licence?

Over the past decade, there has been a surge in complaints from anglers about overcrowding in certain fragile fisheries. These pressure-sensitive fisheries are characterized by:

  • Predominantly rivers.
  • Clear water with excellent sight fishing.
  • Large average fish size.
  • High scenic value, often set in wilderness or backcountry.
  • Predominantly located in the South Island.
  • High levels of non-resident angler use.

Such fisheries are highly valued by both resident and non-resident anglers. However, overcrowding has led to displacement of resident anglers, with some fisheries seeing an 80/20 usage split favoring non-resident anglers. The Designated Waters Licence aims to manage angling pressure and enhance the angling experience in these areas.


Fishing in Designated Waters

To fish in a Designated Waters Fishery, you need a Designated Waters Licence. Before obtaining this, you must first purchase one of the qualifying Whole Season Sports Fishing Licences:

  • Whole Season (Adult, Junior, or Child)
  • Family
  • Loyal Senior
  • Local Area (only qualifies for an endorsement in that region)
  • Non-Resident

Resident Anglers:

  • Must hold a whole-season licence.
  • Purchase a full season Designated Waters Licence for the region they wish to fish in.
  • Each regional Designated Waters Licence costs $5.00.

Non-Resident Anglers:

  • Must hold a non-resident whole-season licence.
  • Purchase a Designated Waters Day Licence for the days they wish to fish in Designated Waters.
  • The Designated Waters Day Licence costs $40 per day.
  • Non-resident anglers can purchase a maximum of five (5) Designated Waters Day licences for each Fish & Game region with Designated Waters.

Regions with Designated Waters Fisheries

Currently, six Fish & Game regions in New Zealand have Designated Waters fisheries:

Each region has specific fisheries classified as Designated Waters. Anglers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements and boundaries of each region.


Consequences of Non-Compliance

Anglers fishing in Designated Waters without the appropriate licence can face severe penalties. This can be equated to fishing without a licence, potentially leading to a fine or prosecution of up to NZD $5,000.00.


Purchasing Your Designated Waters Licence

You can purchase the Designated Waters Licence:

  • Online: Purchase a Designated Waters Licence.
  • In-Person: Visit hunting or fishing stores in New Zealand that sell licences.