Fly fishing in the Tongariro River. © Michael Svoboda

Trout fishing: some of the best fly fishing in the world


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Myriad tributaries flow into Lake Taupō from waterways that are little more than creeks to mighty, legendary rivers like the Tongariro.

While they’re a lovely, silvery, tinkling – or rushing – soundtrack to your holiday, what you really want to do is get a set of waders, the proper ones. Go all Harry High Pants, get in amongst them rivers and hook yourself a big one.

The waterways around the mighty lake provide some of the best fly fishing in the world and have done so since trout were first introduced into them over 100 years ago.

The sport of fly fishing, a charming and reasonably passive one, it has to be said, has attracted the famous and the flush for decades.

Zane Grey, legendary American Western writer. even published an account of his fly-fishing adventures, Tales of the Angler's Eldorado, New Zealand. His ‘Eldorado’ was the Tongariro River, and to stand waist deep in its icy flow, rod and anticipation in hand is something you won’t forget in a hurry.

Fly fishing for trout is permitted in most of the inflowing rivers – but which one will net you The Big One? Well, that would be telling. But getting a good guide is a good start. They’ll have the gear and can provide you with the appropriate fishing licences. These are a must-have: you can’t fish without them and the fines are more whopping than what you think you might catch, or the stories you’ll tell afterwards. They’ll know a few key spots, too, and may even be able to tell you the best way to cook your catch. Come on, be optimistic!

FYI, if you have sustainability or environmental concerns, don’t worry, you won’t fish the river dry. The release of trout into the tributaries into Lake Taupo is a regularly controlled process, more of which can be seen at the excellent Tongariro National Trout Centre.

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