New Zealand Fly Fishing is one of the best trout fishing experiences on earth.
This sparsely populated and mountainous island nation is located in southern latitudes with an abundance of pristine rivers and lakes. All of the above makes for ideal trout fishing conditions. Keen fly fishermen from the USA and the UK, respective homes of fly fishing are regularly found in New Zealand fishing.
The best locations for fly fishing in New Zealand are found on both islands. In the center of the North Island areas around Rotorua, Taupo and Tongariro are the main focus for fly fishing with an abundance of lakes and rivers available. A New Zealand Fly Fishing holiday should always include a stop in this region and Taupo is one of the few regions open for year round fly fishing. Fishing the north island is more about rainbow trout than brown trout although not exclusively.
There is a large mountain range running down the length of the South Island and this makes for excellent fly fishing in numerous locations both in the high country and the lowland rivers.
The rivers and lakes behind the cities of Nelson and Blenheim at the top of the South Island include the high country lakes of the Nelson Lakes National Park and the Kahurangi Ranges. There are many rivers that drain the area with the Buller, Owen and Motueka rivers being quite notable. Anglers keen for a New Zealand Fly Fishing adventure will enjoy the incredible mountain scenery and pristine rivers of the area not to mention the abundance of large brown trout. NZ Fish & Game regularly proclaims the Motueka River as having the highest concentrations of brown trout.
The mountains hug the west coast on their journey from north to south and this creates a huge number of rivers and lakes along the heavily forested west coast. They are generally short and fast flowing rivers here but there are many opportunities for great lake and river fishing in this region. Lakes Brunner and Little Moeraki and the Buller/Owen, Grey, Otututu, Arnold and Ahaura Rivers all are well respected fly fishing waters.
Fly fishing the east coast of the south island presents many opportunities in mainly long, broad, slow flowing rivers and streams meandering along to the sea. Again it is more predominately brown trout in these rivers. The Hurunui, Waiau and Waimakariri Rivers and the many lakes at the headwaters of these rivers are popular and reliable fly fishing waters. Further south the Ahuriri and the Rangitata Rivers are always reliable.
The southern high country and the lakes, rivers and hydro channels around Tekapo,Twizel and Omarama are always popular but often heavily fished in peak season. The waters around Queenstown, Wanaka and Cromwell also allow for fantastic fly fishing in lakes, rivers, streams, all surrounded by incredible mountain scenery.
As a general rule New Zealand Fly Fishing will produce larger trout than found in Australia. Average catches of 4lb plus are quite normal with monster fish of 8lb and more found in many regions each season. The season runs from October to April with a few areas such as Lake Taupo tributaries open for winter spawning season fishing. The peak season is during the summer months of extended day light hours from December to March.
It is necessary for all trout fishermen to be in possession of a valid license which can be purchased from tackle shops, fishing lodges and licensed fishing guides. When fly fishing in New Zealand many anglers find their catch rate soars when they use a local professional guide as they know the waters and entomology well and are expert at seeing the fish, which can be quite hard.
There are a number of dedicated fly fishing lodges on both islands of New Zealand.
New Zealand Fly Fishing is unique in that most waters are open to all people although it is always polite to ask the landholder before crossing their land.
It is wise to choose a lodge which is located overlooking proven trout waters in remote regions which limits the local fishing to lodge guests.
Some of the best regions and lodges for Fly Fishing New Zealand are listed below.
- Lake Taupo
- Motueka River
- Murchison Region