Updated May 2016. The below text is copied from the Fish and Game Website http://www.fishandgame.org.nz/licences/backcountry/otago

Caples River

Open Season: 1 Nov – 31 May
Method: Fly Only
Bag limit: 1
Reach: The entire length of the Caples River.

You will require the appropriate Whole Season Fishing Licence number with an Otago Backcountry Endorsement for both the primary and any companion angler.



Otago Fish and Game will be monitoring compliance within the Caples and Greenstone Controlled Fishery.  Non-compliance with Backcountry and Controlled Fishery Regulations is an offence under the Conservation Act and subject to a maximum fine of $5,000. Otago Fish and Game look forward to your cooperation and encourage you to show courtesy and respect to one another.

Types of Licence

There are nine different types of licence on offer

Remember that overseas visitors planning to fish for more than a couple of days, must buy a Non-Resident Licence.

Full season licences (apart from Local Area) can be used anywhere in New Zealand except the Taupo area, which is administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). For more information on the regulations for Taupo, visit DOC’s website: www.doc.govt.nz

Please note that if you buy a Local Area Licence you can only fish in the ONE region you nominated – so you must be aware of that region’s boundaries. To fish the whole country (except Taupo), you should buy a Whole Season or one of the other full season licences.

  • You must have your licence with you whenever you are fishing or carrying assembled fishing gear.
  • Report lost or stolen licences to your local Fish & Game office and they can issue you with a replacement.
  • Back Country Licence and Controlled Fishery Licence:To fish designated backcountry rivers including the Greenstone, you must apply for a Backcountry Endorsement, available at no extra cost once you have purchased the appropriate Whole Season Licence.

To fish the Caples which is a designated backcountry fishery, a Backcountry Endorsement is required on your licence.

You first require one of these 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

If you are a visitor from overseas you must buy a Non-Resident Licence.

Once you have obtained a qualifying licence you can then apply for a Backcountry Endorsement.

Currently there are three Fish & Game regions within New Zealand with designated backcountry fisheries; WellingtonOtago and Southland. When applying for your Backcountry Endorsement you must select each region you intend to fish. You can add another region to your licence at any time.

Once your Backcountry Endorsement application is complete you will receive an updated copy of your licence by email showing the Backcountry Endorsement stamp and listing the regions for which you are endorsed. You must carry this copy of your licence when fishing designated backcountry rivers.

You will no longer be issued a backcountry licence number.

Please ensure that your correct personal email address is included on the application page. Online surveys are vital to the effective management of our backcountry waters and we require your participation.

Anglers intending to fish a Controlled Fishery must first obtain a Whole Season Licence and regional Backcountry Endorsement specific to the region where the Controlled Fishery is located.

The following Otago rivers are designated backcountry fisheries and require a Backcountry Endorsement:


For map and access information check the fish and game website

Etiquette for Otago Backcountry Anglers

  • Respect fellow anglers and remember they arrived at the river with the same expectations as you.
  • Never ever cut in front of other anglers regardless of how desperate you are to get to the water.
  • If fishing solo, invite an angler you meet to fish with you or share the available water. You may both learn something.
  • Use a quality line which strikes a balance between strength and visibility so that fish can be landed smartly. Do not play fish excessively
  • When releasing fish, do so with great care and try to keep the fish in the water as much as possible.

Prevent the spread of freshwater pests

Didymo is a microscopic pest that can be spread by a single drop of water. Unfortunately it is fairly widespread in the Otago Region. Please be vigilant when travelling between waterways and especially between regions. The North Island is Didymo free. Always check, Clean, and Dry anything that has come into contact with freshwater. For detailed information and specific cleaning guidelines refer to the Ministry of Primary Industries website at http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/didymo/cleaning

Compliance Monitoring

Fish and Game will be monitoring compliance on designated backcountry fisheries during the season. Non-compliance with the backcountry licence and controlled period licence requirements is an offence under the Conservation Act and subject to a maximum fine of $5000.

Fish and Game look forward to your cooperation in the management of these fisheries and we encourage you to show courtesy and respect to one another.