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.
Guests at Tongariro Lodge enjoy well-appointed cabins with private bathrooms. Fine cuisine is served in the main lodge. With horseback riding, hiking, rafting, golf, and natural hot pools, you will see why we consider this lodge a must for anglers and adventures alike.
Accommodations and Meals:
Tongariro Lodge is located on the banks of the Tongariro River adjacent to the southern shores of Lake Taupo. The year-round outdoor playground of Tongariro National Park is only a short distance away. Established in 1982, the lodge has an excellent reputation for the finest accommodations, gourmet dining, quality outdoor activities and the very best in trout fishing guides. Guest accommodations are separate from the main lodge. This ensures maximum privacy. Riverside chalets range from one to five bedrooms. Each chalet has private facilities and its own secluded sunny terrace with views of the Tongariro River, Lake Taupo, or the mountains. Tongariro Lodge has developed an international reputation for fine food and wine. The Lodge specializes in serving the best of New Zealand game and traditional foods. The true atmosphere of the lodge is best experienced in front of an open fire over a four-course evening meal as the day's activities are recounted - and the stories get taller as the evening wears on.
Ultimate Week Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive
Day 2: The fishing will start taking a 4WD to one of Tongariro’s private access rivers. This is a high numbers stream with eager mid-sized rainbows that will welcome you to the country.
Day 3: Raft the upper reaches of the Tongariro River. This is a white water wilderness stream with good numbers of hot, healthy rainbows.
Day 4 and 5: After two warm up days on rivers with mid-sized fish, fly into one of Tongariro’s back county gems. This is a trophy section of river where the fish average 7 pounds. This is an overnight trip using a very basic backcountry hut for shelter. The pilot will drop off the anglers, guide, and all food and equipment for two days at the hut. The first day will be spent walking downstream then fishing back up to the hut. The evening will be spent around the campfire complete with a hearty meal and New Zealand wine. The second day will be spent fishing upstream from the hut. At the end of the day the helicopter will drop into the valley to pick us up for a spectacular ride back to the lodge.
Day 6: 4WD into a hidden bush-clad stream in the nearby area and spend the day walking and presenting dry flies to large resident rainbows and browns.
Day 7: Your time at Tongariro will finish with another helicopter flight out to a small and relatively arid trophy trout stream.
Day 8: Depart
2020 Rate: NZ $4,950 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Included: Accommodations, meals , guided fishing and access fees
Not Included: Airfare to/from Taupo, round trip transportation to the lodge, optional fly-outs by fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter, gratuities, alcohol
Fish Species: Rainbow trout, brown trout
Lodge Capacity: 12 anglers