Fish Lake is one of the lakes in the Tarndale collection of lakes and tarns. The way the lake is positioned in the valley it is exposed to the norwest wind that funnels between Turk Ridge and Stafford Ridge making it a battle to fish when its blowing, but, pure magic on a calm sunny day. Due to this it is best fished when planning around calm weather. The majority of the lake's perimeter can be walked and fished although attention to footing is needed in the many swampy areas. There are many great vantage points for sight fishing and the results can be rewarding. The fish in this lake are cunning at the best of times, late in the season with angler pressure this is amplified and they can become quite a challenge to convince.
Due to non-catch and release angling pressure fish numbers have dropped off and unfortunately many of the larger residents have disappeared. Although catch and release is not enforced on this lake it is highly encouraged, especially for the larger fish that are vital breeding stock.
The south side of Fish Lake
This side offers the best sight fishing opportunities with a good portion of the lake edge elevated. Patrolling fish can be ambushed with an assortment of flies however late in the season the fish become increasingly wary so you will have to be bang-on with your pattern, size and delivery. The lake bed is predominantly shallow with silty patches in amongst weed beds that aid in sight fishing. There are some thick sections of matagouri, when working these portions it will be a test to your casting skills to keep out of trouble! The narrow inlet is surrounded by swampy ground but can be crossed (stepped over) at any point.
The north side of Fish Lake
This side offers many slightly elevated sections aiding in sight fishing along most of the stretch when the weather allows. There are a few swampy areas with the largest at the most northern point but the majority of this stretch can be walked without too much drama. With little cover a stealthy approach is needed for success.
A fishing buddy (Jaymie) just hooking up to a nice brown
The west end of Fish Lake
This is the end where the outlet exits the lake through a maze of swampy pocketed channels. Although the majority of this area can be successfully covered on foot there are many areas too sketchy to access due the swampy ground giving way to your weight. Careful footing is required!
Fish Lake General Information
- General location
- Fish Lake is one of the lakes in Tarndale located in the South Island High Country
- Access Cost
- No cost
- Access Permission
- No permission needed, free public access
- Access Route
- Fish Lake is accessible by foot only. From Rainbow Road you park up at the car park that allows access to the Tarndale lakes. From the car park, Fish Lake is 1.3km northeast as a crow flies. To get there, you follow a 4X4 track (past Lake Sedgeme on your right) and towards Bowscale Tarn. Don't follow the track that veers to Bowscale Tarn in an east direction, keep on the 4X4 track heading in a northeast direction and the lake will soon pop into view. The walk takes about 20 minutes
Fish Lake Camping and General Facilities
- Toilet facilities
- There are no toilet facilities at this lake
- Rubbish disposal
- Not serviced for rubbish, please take ALL rubbish with you on departure
Fish Lake Fishing Information
- Fishing license
- Fishing region
- Nelson Marlborough
- Fish present
- Brown trout
- Fishing regulations
- Nelson Marlborough fishing regulations
- Catch and release
- Catch and release is not enforced but very highly recommended
Fish Lake Cautions and Safety Information
- Weather cautions
- The weather in this area can be subject to extreme conditions. Both night time and daytime temperatures can plummet without warning, make sure you are well prepared with the correct gear. Snow is a regular occurrence in winter time and can also occur in any season
- Weather report
- High Country weather report
- Sandflies can be present in low numbers, insect repellent is recommended