The Good, the Bad and the Ugly when fly fishing the Taupo region.
After my South Island sojourn that brought me back to the North Island, I urgently needed to go fly fishing. Not only due to personal choice, but also because I desperately required illustrations for my Fish&Game articles. On my way through the North Island, I had the opportunity to stay at an old friend’s place for a week. As I pointed out in the post about driving down memory lane, this old friend was Claudio, who I had met in New Zealand back in 2015. Since then, Claudio moved to New Zealand and is now engaged to his fiancée and fly fishing partner in crime: Theresa.
Theresa is a very talented and ambitious fly angler. Her small stature can be deceiving from the fact that she is a tough woman. Recently she also took up photography and creates some stunning work – you should check out Theresa’s instagram!
Turangi – Trout Fishing Capital of the World
Although it is called the Taupo region, among the most wonderful places to stay is Turangi. Nestled between Lake Taupo and the vulcano Mount Ngauruhoe, it guards the gem of this region: the Tongariro river.
In this post about fly fishing the Taupo region, I cover several fishing trips and summarize the good, the bad and the ugly. If you want to know more about regulations, check out my Introduction to fly fishing in New Zealand.
Nothing really compares to fly fishing in New Zealand. Among the great variety, the fishery in the Taupo region stands out with its incredible numbers of trout. Whereas many places offer large fish, it is in the middle of the North Island where the sheer numbers of fish caught is mind-boggling. There are other places where one can catch huge fish on a regular basis, such as in the Ohau canal in the South Island. However, scenery-wise Turangi is hands down among the most beautiful places to go fishing.
Even though the number of fish is incredible, this does not mean it is always easy to catch them. I learnt this lesson the hard way. Instead of following the advice of my knowledgeable friends, I tried to catch fish my way. Oftentimes, this resulted in no fish at all. Indeed, there were several instances – read days – where I was better off with my camera rather than the rod.
Another ugly truth about fly fishing Taupo is that the angler etiquette is differently handled. I pointed out in the introduction to fly fishing in New Zealand that one has to have proper conduct and follow certain rules. Given Taupo has so many fish, it comes as no surprise that there are also many anglers. Therefore, one is closer to one another and people will jump you.
At one instance, a guy jumped into the pool where I was preparing my rod. Whereas I remained calm as a non-resident, Claudio got angry and shouted at him. This was not my kind of fishing, but in retrospection I must admit that Claudio was right. There were lots of other spaces the guy could fish and he consciously fished the place I wanted to.
and the Ugly
New Zealand advertises their environment as pure. Yet, there are heaps of examples where there is bad practice. Be it in dairy farming and water pollution or sewage pipes which blow up. Furthermore, NZ still buries its waste in huge landfills which then are threatened by storms to be washed into the sea.
What shocked me the most regarding Taupo, was the fish handling. Certain anglers have either very little knowledge on trout handling or they have just no respect. I saw people beaching fish, letting them in the dry, and kicking them back into the water. This makes me very angry and is what we call in German: ein Armutszeugnis (evidence of incapacity). I wish there would be a change in mindset.
A memorable journey in Taupo
While fly fishing Taupo region, I experienced trout fishing in New Zealand at its best, but also slow periods. Nonetheless, I miss the wonderful time that I had with my generous hosts in Taupo. Thanks to Claudio and Theresa for their unconditional hospitality. I appreciate what you guys did for me and I hope to see you soon again on one side or another.
All the best and tight lines,