owen river lodge

Welcome to New Zealand
Location, Type of Fishing:

The South Island of New Zealand is a captivating place where snow-capped peaks crown scenic mountains, picturesque streams and rivers flow through verdant green forests, and large brown trout seem to be animated above beds of river-rock in crystal clear waters. At the heart of this magical scene, sits a luxury retreat, centrally located at the top part of the island in the midst of this fantastic brown trout fishery. Strategically positioned within the historic Nelson Lakes District of the northwest, Owen River Lodge sits on the east shore of the river for which it was named. From the lodge you will fish an incredible variety of rivers and streams throughout the region, including all of Marlborough and parts of the North Canterbury and West Coast regions. With over a couple dozen trout streams within comfortable reach of the lodge, it is easy to see why this remarkable area was chosen as the locale for a premier fly fishing lodge. Not only a sanctuary for fly fishermen, the Owen River Lodge has unprecedented access to 3 National Parks and a variety of fun and exciting activities for the non-angler. Discover why Owen River Lodge has the best chances to sight-fish for browns and rainbows anywhere at the top of South Island. The lodge offers full-service guided fly fishing for trout by wading on a myraid of freestone rivers and creeks. You can also hire private air charters through the lodge to access another dozen remote, mountain streams of the Kahurangi National Park. Whichever you choose, the lodge’s goal is to provide the very best service during your stay, while delivering a comfortable and relaxing experience that will have you coming back year after year.


  • Season: November- April
  • Species: Brown and Rainbow Trout
  • Rods: 5- 7 wt. Slow- Medium Action
  • Rates: 7 night/ 6 days fishing $5,377.00



What Makes It Special:

A diverse landscape, the Nelson region near the town of Murchison affords anglers many opportunities to stalk trout on a number of streams in an array of different settings, all within a relatively close proximity of the Owen River Lodge. One of the best things about its location is the wonderful opportunities for sight-fishing to large browns in gin-clear waters. The guides of the lodge are fantastic teachers, great at showing you the fish and putting you into position to make short, accurate casts without the trout even knowing that you’re there. New Zealand’s brown trout can be notoriously wary, so stealth is a necessity in your success at catching these completely wild and cagey salmonids.  Practice making accurate, soft presentations upstream of fish with reach casts, as the conditions generally demand that you be tricky in order to fool them. A good first cast is a must.  A number of streams may be accessed from the lodge by vehicles, usually a short drive of less than an hour, and there are some more that are a little bit further off the beaten path. It is not necessary to have to fly-out in order to access incredible fishing, but if you choose to do a fly-out, the lodge will be happy to accommodate the services of a local company specializing in heli-fishing. A helicopter gives you access the even more rivers and streams, some that may not have been visited by another angler that season. Imagine stalking wild trout on a clear, mountain stream that have not seen a fly all year, inaccessible by car, wild and untouched as it can only be fished on foot.



The fishing season opens on October 1. This is springtime in New Zealand, and the rivers are running high. Trout have not seen an angler for the past 5 months, and this is the time of year to show them big flies, with stoneflies, damsel flies and other large nymphs being the preferred food source of spring. Pack a rain jacket, and plan on doing a little more deep-nymphing than sight fishing. The fishing season at the Owen River Lodge really begins in November, with cool mornings giving way to comfortable afternoons. Mayflies and caddis hatches are occurring, and you can expect to fish about half the time with a nymph rig, and the other half with a dry. January is the driest time of year, and the busy season is in full swing as the season changes into summer. The rivers will soon be low and clear, and the waders have been ditched in favor of wet wading. It is also a great time to be throwing terrestrials, as the browns are looking up for the easy meal of a cicada or adult stonefly. As summer progresses, the dry fly season  continues with small beetles and caddis comprising the trout’s main diet.As the calendar turns over to April, the mornings begin to cool, signaling the arrival of fall. Fall fishing in New Zealand finds browns and rainbows eagerly trying to put on weight ahead of winter. This is an excellent time to visit the lodge, as the rivers are cool from the chilly mornings and occasional rainstorms that provide fresh, cold water to the rivers. The trout fishing season closes on May 1 so that the eggs being deposited in fall and early winter can hatch on beds undisturbed until spring.



Situated on 16 acres of farmland in the fertile Owen Valley and surrounded by lush green hills, the lodge rests among beautifully landscaped gardens and perfectly-manicured lawns with the soothing sounds of the river rushing nearby and spectacular views of Mount Owen and the Kahurangi National Park in the distance. Three duplex cottages are set in gardens with decks that have great views of the property and all of the beauty that surrounds it. The lodge grounds are a relaxing and mesmerizing space with pathways arranged among the gardens where you will find quiet niches to reflect on the days events. Six luxury suites accommodate no more than 12 guests at any time, making it an intimate experience. Each luxurious room sleeps two guests and can be configured with a king double or two full-size beds. Each room is well-lit and open with plenty of lighting, a sitting area, accents of wood trim, vaulted ceilings, and plush bedding with a cozy comforter. Satellite-delivered broadband wireless internet is available in the main lodge. In the main lodge you will find a bright and attractive area with hardwood floors, recycled wood trim and beams, fine artwork adorning the walls, and houseplants adjacent to the comfortable couches and seating arranged for you to relax and take it easy. Off of the dining area, there is a bar, a lounge and sitting area, a fly tying area and a small shop is located in the main lodge as well. At the back of the house there is a large deck with stairs that lead to gravel paths that meander through 2 acres of gardens and to a dock by the river.



All of your meals at the Owen River Lodge are included in the fishing package. Dinner is served family-style around an exquisitely-presented table in the dining room. The large garden on property supplies the kitchen with much of the produce used to create meals in Chef Ryan’s kitchen. Fresh produce from the region and a thriving fishing industry is found right in the Nelson Region of the South Island, so you know you’re being served top quality food harvested at the peak of freshness. The garden at various times of the season produces a variety of vegetables and fruits, like lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, rhubarb, strawberries, grapes and currants. Herbs like basil, mint, fennel, thyme and sage are picked fresh each night, ensuring that some portion of your meal is direct farm-to-table dining every meal.  The food tastes better knowing that it was harvested just moments ago. Classical South Island-fare includes dishes of roasted lamb, but Ryan’s amazing kitchen staff will surprise you with their multicultural food style, called Pacifica, that fuses culinary ideas from Europe, Asia, Polynesia as well as the Maori culture, an indigenous group of New Zealanders. The region also produces some of the best Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and you’ll be sure to enjoy a glass or two of premium local wine or beer with dinner, along with mineral water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages.



How to Get There:

To get to Owen River Lodge, you will need to fly into either Nelson (NSN) or Christchurch (CHC). From the states, you will most likely fly out of Los Angeles (LAX) for a 13-hour flight into the Auckland International Airport (AKL) losing just a mere five hours, as New Zealand Standard Time is 19 hours ahead of the west coast of the US. In Auckland, you will have to make a connection. Retrieve your luggage, clear customs and check in at the ticket counter for the domestic flight to either Nelson or Christchurch. Once on South Island, you can rent a car to drive to the lodge, or a 2Salt Travel specialist will be happy to arrange to have a lodge representative pick you up and transport you to the lodge via shuttle. From Nelson, the lodge is about an hour and a half drive, and from Christchurch, it’s about 3.5 hours. Both will take you through beautiful hill-country and farmland where you will see some spectacular landscapes and countryside, as well as herds of sheep. There is a minimum 3-night stay requirement at the lodge. A note on New Zealand Customs. Please, make sure you thoroughly clean your boots and waders before you enter New Zealand as the government is adamant about not allowing any aquatic hitchhikers into these waters. You are not allowed to use boots with felt soles, so bring vibram-soled boots with carbide-tipped studs. Please do not bring any fly tying materials, as they will likely be confiscated. Travel to New Zealand from the US requires a valid passport.


Typical Day:

A typical day at the Owen River Lodge starts with breakfast and coffee. Choose from breakfasts of homemade bread, fresh fruit, muesli, yogurt, and eggs made-to-order. There is no set itinerary at the lodge, as you will make arrangements with Felix Borenstein, the owner/host, the previous evening about the days fishing and what time to meet the guide. Your guide will pick you up at the lodge. Most of the day will be spent sight-fishing to brown trout. There are occasionally some rainbows. Brown trout average 3- 6lbs, with some specimens reaching up to 10 lbs. and over. Lunches are taken picnic-style on the river, with the guide carrying your lunch for you in his backpack. There will be bottled water available as well. While there are days when the bite is wide open, a really good day’s fishing might net you a half a dozen quality, wild fish. When you arrive back at the lodge, you should be tired from an active day on the water, stalking fish like a predator. Freshen up with a shower and a change of clothes in your room, and head back to the main house for a cocktail and some tasty appetizers at the bar. Happy hour starts at 6 pm with a 4-course dinner to follow. Felix will take dinner with you at the dining room table each night, and it is a great time to ask him questions and talk about your expectations for the next day. You will have a chance to place a lunch order for the next day, as well.


What’s Included:

Luxury guest suite accommodations, guided fly fishing, meals, snacks, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

Not included: International air to/from Auckland, domestic air to/from Nelson or Christchurch, ground transportation to/from the lodge, private fly-out charters for heli-fishing, fishing license, alcohol and gratuities for the staff.


Non-angling Activities:

There are a couple of hiking trails up the Owen River Valley with views of Mount Owen and the surrounding vista. There is mountain biking along the Owen River with bikes that can be used free of charge. Relax by the river, or choose to walk the lodge’s golden retriever. Whitewater rafting trips are available for full and half days, and can be arranged through the lodge. There is also a nine-hole golf course on the Buller River outside of Murchison. Walks in the Nelson Lakes National Park at Lake Rotoiti are well-marked on fairly easy walking trails. Horseback riding is available. Jet boating on the Buller River in beautiful Buller Gorge is also an option, or check out the Buller Gorge Swing Bridge. There is some shopping in nearby Murchison, and more in Nelson, a couple of hours away by car.



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