NEW DESIGNATED WATERS FISHERIES
From the start of the new trout fishing season on October 1st 2023, Fish and Game New Zealand have introduced a new 'Designated Waters' licence category to replace the previous Backcountry Endorsement. Our sports fisheries managers are seeking to mitigate overcrowding on a small number of New Zealand's most pressure-sensitive and fragile fisheries. Pressure-sensitive fisheries are highly regarded by both resident and non-resident anglers for the unique angling opportunities they provide. However, research and monitoring of these fisheries have shown that both resident and non-resident anglers are regularly being displaced from these fisheries because of overcrowding. To manage the angling pressure and experience in these pressure-sensitive fisheries it has become necessary to implement fisheries management mechanisms to control crowding and disperse angling pressure. The Designated Waters Licence has been applied to only a very small proportion of fisheries, comprising less than 2% of available fisheries.
What has happened to the Backcountry Licence Endorsement?
There is no longer a Backcountry Licence. The Backcountry Licence has been replaced with the DW Licence. Many (but not all) rivers that once required a Backcountry Licence are now classified as DW.
Who needs a DW Licence?
Any angler who wishes to go fishing in a river/ stream that is classified as a DW. The following regions have DW: Currently, six Fish & Game regions in New Zealand have Designated Waters Fisheries; Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, North Canterbury, West Coast, Otago and Southland. Wellington: • Rangitīkei River
Nelson/Marlborough : • Mātakitaki River • Upper Wairau • Travers River
West Coast: • Karamea River • Mokihinui River
North Canterbury: • Hope River • Hurunui River North Branch • Hurunui River South Branch
• Waiau Uwha River
Otago: • Dingle Burn • Greenstone River • Hunter River • Lochy River • Nevis River • Pomahaka River • Wilkin River • Young River
Southland: • Ōreti River
For anglers not fishing in these locations, there will be no impact. The Designated Waters Licence works differently for resident and non-resident anglers. For resident anglers, if you want to go fishing in a fishery that is classified as a Designated Water, you will be required to:
Hold a whole-season licence; and
Purchase a full season Designated Waters Licence for the region whose Designated Waters you want to fish.
All regional Designated Waters Licences carry a cost of $5.00 to fund the higher management costs of these fisheries.
Only resident whole-season licence holders can be issued a full season Designated Waters Licence.