To legally fish for trout in New Zealand requires a licence. This licence must be carried at all times while fishing. Licences are obtainable at most sports and fishing tackle stores near fishing waters. Many motels and garages near fishing water often have licences.
For instance, in many areas treble hooks are banned (and in my view they should be banned everywhere). In some areas live baits are allowed, and in many others not allowed. Lead can be added to leaders in some areas, not in others. There are fly-fishing only areas and rules about what gear can be used when fly-fishing. The list of some do’s, some don’ts, is long.
Regional bodies set the rules and regulations for each of their areas. Even within these areas, different rules can apply to various rivers, streams and lakes, and even to different age groups. For instance, in some areas children can use different fishing methods to adults. These rules and regulations are printed on your licence and it is up to you to acquaint yourself with these rules.
This can be tricky. A licence bought, for instance, in Canterbury does allow an angler to fish in most waters throughout New Zealand (except – at the time of writing – the Taupo conservancy, which requires a separate licence). However the Canterbury-bought licence will not show the regulations for say, the Auckland region. It is up to the angler to find the local region’s rules and regulations. Ignorance is no defence.
For a FAQ page on licences [Fish & Game New Zealand]
For complete Regulations for all New Zealand [Fish & Game New Zealand]
The cost of non-compliance with these rules and regulations can be high. These can include confiscation of all fishing tackle (including a boat and the car that tows it) and substantial fines.
So please, do NOT regard any method of fishing covered in this book as being universally legal in all places in New Zealand. Please check the local regulations first!