Maori Lakes in the Central South Island Fish & Game Region

Stopping for a rest in my motorhome at the small Maori Lakes on the road to Lake Heron, in the Ashurton Lakes district.
Stopping for a rest in my motorhome at the small Maori Lakes on the road to Lake Heron, in the Ashurton Lakes district.

Maori Lakes – O Tu Wharekai

The Maori Lakes are a challenge for any trout angler. These lakes are shallow with perhaps little more than a metre or so of water over the weed beds. Most of the shoreline is swampy and hidden by reeds. Only a few areas around the shore are accessible on foot. 

The preferred, and permitted method for fishing these lakes is by casting from an anchored dinghy. Once you get your boat into a position you must drop your anchor before you commence casting. Harling, or casting from a drifting boat, is not permitted. Kayaks and float tubes are also permitted but again you must fish only while anchored.

Another view across the same lake from further up the road towards Lake Heron. Taken on an overcast day the raupo along the distant shore hides a second lake behind it. You can get to the back lake down a rough 4x4 track. The Maori Lakes hold some big browns weighing between 2.5 and 3 kgs.
Another view across the same lake from further up the road towards Lake Heron. Taken on an overcast day the raupo along the distant shore hides the second lake behind it. You can get to the back lake down a rough 4×4 track. The Maori Lakes hold some big browns weighing between 2.5 and 3 kgs.
View looking north over one of the two Maori Lakes from the Hakatere Heron Road. The conical shape of Mt Sugarloaf on the eastern side of Lake Heron can be seen in the center of the picture some 10 kms away.
View looking north over one of the two Maori Lakes from the Hakatere Heron Road. The conical shape of Mt Sugarloaf on the eastern side of Lake Heron can be seen in the centre of the picture some 10 km away.

When hooked trout invariable head for the raupo and weed beds. Once in there, they will be lost for certain. A landing net is an essential item for lifting a fish aboard.

Though we endeavour to keep bag limits and other info up to date on this vast Fishingmag website please don’t rely on it being correct at all times. Always check your Fish & Game Regulation booklet that is supplied with your fishing license before fishing a lake, river or stream. You can also check the regulations on the Fish & Game website. For the 2022-2023 fishing season the daily bag limit for the Maori Lakes and their tributaries is 2 trout. There is no minimum length for trout in the Maori Lakes.

Flyfishing only is permitted for the Maori Lakes. The season opens on the first Saturday of November (this year 2022 which will be 5 November) and ends on 30 April 2023.

Refer to Notes 1 and 4. Note 4, 4.1 No sports fishing from any unmoored boat in Lake MacGregor and Maori Lakes. The full Fishing Regulations are here (scroll down and open the .pdf). 

The trout can be difficult to spot and most anglers resort to blind fishing with nymphs or wet flies. Hamill’s Killer, Mrs Simpson, or a green or brown Woolly Bugger have brought success on these lakes.

Mirror reflections on one of the two small Maori Lakes on the Hakatere Heron Road in the Haketere Conservation park Ashburton lakes district
Mirror reflections on one of the two small Maori Lakes on the Hakatere Heron Road in the Haketere Conservation park Ashburton lakes district.

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