Aug 19th, 2020
For a number of reasons we consider the New Zealand angling experience the most distilled and rewarding trout fishing in the world. Over the years we have seen it described primarily as challenging and technical, and a game for advanced anglers. But we see it differently. Our take is that this is a fishery where short, accurate casts matter most, as does a desire to truly hunt fish. New Zealand is rarely a number’s game, but rather a place where walking, stalking, teamwork, and exciting visuals come together to produce what we feel is some of the most exciting trout fishing imaginable.
Below are some of our favorite destinations and people to hunt trout with in New Zealand.
It was scarcely more than an experiment. One fateful day in late 1883, Malcolm Ross’ wife, Forrest, knelt along the bank of the upper Tongariro and released a small bucket of fingerlings. Back then, no one even fantasized that these tiny Sonoma Creek steelhead would produce one of the world’s most prolific rainbow fisheries. Today the Lake Taupo fishery is estimated to hold over one million fish averaging four pounds. And more remarkably, its prime tributary, the Tongariro, hosts 70 percent of the system’s annual spawning migration. It is no coincidence that legendary New Zealand outfitter and angler Tony Hayes built his lodge on the banks of this remarkable system. Even more notable is that the mighty Tongariro is just the beginning of what makes the North Island’s angling experience so spectacular. With superb heli-fishing, adventuresome backcountry angling, and over thirty fishable rivers — many of which are chock-full of large, feisty rainbows — this area yields some of New Zealand’s most impressive specimens and catch rates.
● Experience one of New Zealand’s iconic lodges. Established in 1982 by angler and guide Tony Hayes, Tongariro Lodge has established a reputation for being one of the finest fishing lodges in New Zealand.
● Enjoy gourmet dining in an unpretentious and friendly setting.
● The lodge is the perfect base camp to trek the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and experience Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest national park.
● Fish with some of the most experienced guides in New Zealand.
● Fish one of New Zealand’s most productive and famous rivers, the Tongariro.
Poronui’s unique combination of world-class wilderness fishing, elegant accommodations, gourmet food and wine, varied non-angling activities and modern conveniences has earned them a devout and loyal following from around the world. Located near the center of the North Island, east of Lake Taupo, Poronui’s 16,000 acres are recognized as some of the finest and most productive trout and game habitat in the country, if not the world. Anglers visiting the ranch can expect to fish new water every day. In addition to their nearly 25 miles of private water, Poronui has special access to vast tracts of Maori owned land as well as a limitless supply of remote public water. Much of the access is gained via modern off-road vehicles or helicopter fly-outs.
● Sight fish for large brown and rainbow trout in a pristine wilderness setting.
● Experience top-notch luxury on the North Island of New Zealand.
● Enjoy extensive travel companion experiences including mountain biking, shooting courses, horse riding, hunting, hiking, Maori culture classes, cooking classes and wellness programs.
● Fish some of New Zealand’s most exciting and beautiful locations. Guests can stay at the lodge and fish a combination of drive-to water and remote backcountry rivers and streams via helicopter.
● Enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared by world-class chefs.
Built from local stone and timber, this exclusive riverfront property sits on 156 acres of private forest and offers luxury accommodations in close proximity to three spectacular national parks (Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes, and Kahurangi). The lodge’s large stone fireplace and the open kitchen adjoining the dining area create a warm, earthy atmosphere and a great base from which to explore the region’s parks and fisheries.
● Experience world-class luxury at one of the most stunning properties in New Zealand.
● With quick access to three national parks Stonefly Lodge is in a fantastic location for anglers and travel companions alike.
● Fish amazing trout fisheries just one hour from Nelson.
● Fish with one the most accredited fly fishing lodges in New Zealand.
● Enjoy one of the top 10 eco-friendly lodges in New Zealand and Australia. The lodge is totally self-sufficient in power, water and waste. The building of the lodge has left a very low environmental footprint.
Located in the greater Nelson Lakes/Murchison region at the north end of the South Island, Owen River Lodge is a stylish and cool, yet understated lodge for discerning fly fishers. From home base on sixteen acres of serene riverfront property on the Owen River, guests can easily access more than thirty rivers in the area, most of which are less than an hour’s drive from the premises.
● Fish one of the very best sighted, wild brown trout fisheries in the world.
● Fish with some of the longest active and most experienced guides in New Zealand.
● Challenge yourself at one of New Zealand’s most technical but rewarding fisheries.
● Experience a luxury lodge that has the laid-back feel of a private fishing club.
● Enjoy a specialist fly fishing lodge with the very best in food, accommodations, service and of course fishing.
Cedar Lodge, New Zealand’s only pure helicopter fly out lodge, sits along the banks of the Makaroa River in the South Island’s stunningly beautiful Makaroa Valley. The valley is surrounded by prime fly fishing territory in Mt Aspiring World Heritage National Park. Established in 1979 by Dick and Robyn Fraser, Cedar Lodge is comprised of four rooms with views of the rugged and ever-changing south island, and a comfortable lounge and dining area where gourmet meals are served.
● With over 40 years of experience, Cedar Lodge has been a top destination on the South Island for a long time. When you fish at Cedar Lodge you are following in the footsteps of some of the angling greats.
● Fish with New Zealand’s top fly out only lodge. Guests will helicopter fish every day that that they fish with the lodge.
● Experience Cedar Lodge’s amazing food and hospitality. The staff at Cedar Lodge are committed to going a little further to make sure that their guests have an unforgettable experience.
● Enjoy world-class scenery and amazing rivers.
● Boasting diverse and robust travel companion programs, Cedar Lodge is not just for anglers.
Located just a short walk from the South Island’s Mataura River, and known for its famous mayfly hatches, Nokamai Station is the perfect blend of fly fishing lodge and New Zealand farm stay. The station is one of New Zealand’s largest and is owned and operated by the wonderfully hospitable Hore family. Over 12 miles of the Mataura River run through the station giving guests exclusive access to their world-class fishery. It addition to the Mataura, Nokomai’s central location gives its guide team access to over twenty other rivers and streams all within a 90 minute drive.
● Fish with a team of guides that has over 40 years of experience in the area.
● With over 160 years of history, experience one of the last remaining original intact properties in the area.
● Fish over 12 miles of the Mataura River just minutes from your doorstep.
● Experience an authentic historic high-country sheep and cattle station nestled into its own hidden valley at the feet of the Garvey Mountains.
When you travel to Fiordland, you will be visiting one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. Fiordland has achieved World Heritage status and is renowned as home to the famous Fiords of Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
● Stay in one of the most beautiful and dramatic areas of New Zealand and the world.
● Known as the “Gateway of the Fiords”, guests will enjoy the perfect basecamp to explore the World Heritage Area of Milford and Doubtful Sounds and Fiordland National Park.
● Fish some of the most interesting and unique locations in New Zealand.
● Experience gourmet dining and luxury accommodation at a Kiwi owned and operated lodge.
● Experience true wilderness fishing amongst stunning scenery on remote rivers in Fiordland.
Due to New Zealand’s unparalleled, geographical diversity, many of our clients prefer to visit and fish multiple regions during their stay. To accommodate this need we have developed relationships with lodges and guides in virtually every corner of the country. These operations range from opulent luxury retreats and fishing lodges to independent guides and local hotels rich with a down-home Kiwi flare. Cumulatively these venues offer a wide range of fishing options from rugged, four-wheel-drive access day trips to helicopter fly-outs and multi-day backcountry adventures.
● Experience a DIY feel with local guides.
● Fish with New Zealand legends like Dean Bell and David Murray-Orr.
● Fish the Central South Island with Kevin Payne.
● Explore the Otogo Region with Tom McAullife.
● Experience the Nokomai Valley with Daryl Paskell and Graeme Watson.
● Enjoy guided fishing close to Nelson with Aaron Ford.
For more information on New Zealand contact Fly Water Destination Manager Max Salzburg at Max@flywatertravel.com or 800.552.2729.
Fly fishing for trout in New Zealand – typically more hunting than fishing – is a challenging and exciting undertaking that will test any angler’s skill and nerves. There, in the Land of the Long White Cloud, anglers engage in sight-fishing scenarios for large, spooky brown and rainbow trout. The whole enterprise requires numerous variables to align, from simply spotting the fish, to making extremely accurate casts with long and fine leaders, to finally fighting the oversized specimen, which sometimes weigh over 10 pounds. Due to the typically gin-clear water, the fish are extremely wary and leaders of 15-plus feet are the norm. To get set up for success, a specific set of gear is required. 6-weight rods are standard, to turn over the long leader and help in the fight. Weight-forward floating fly lines with muted-colored tips are necessary, as are reliable, adjustable-drag reels. For leaders, a 12-foot tapered leader is the starting point, with sections of tippet added, depending on the particular scenario.
● Rod: 9’, 6-weight Sage X (690-4)
● Reel: Sage SPECTRUM LT 5/6
● Line: RIO Products Elite RIO Gold WF6F
● Leader: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tapered Leader 12’ 4X
● Tippet: RIO Products Powerflex Plus Tippet 4X – 5X
Fish Globally and Shop Locally – Find Your Local Fly Shop
Fly Water Travel encourages our clients to support their local fly shop. To find a shop near you, click the link below or give us a call for a recommendation at (800) 552-2729.