New Zealand is known to the world as being the centre for all adventure sports and the country has a heady reputation for being a hub of outdoor activity and all things revolving around the natural world. The country is a centre for exploring the wider outdoor world and this is particularly exemplified by the state of fly fishing in New Zealand.
Fly fishing in New Zealand is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the country. Sport and commercial fishermen from around the world come to take advantage of New Zealand’s pristine waterways.
Why Fly Fishing in New Zealand?
- The appeal in fishing in New Zealand arises from the combination of a medley of factors that result in the country’s unique and distinct fishing scene.
- From the stunning beauty of the scenic landscapes that the country is famous for that serves as a wonderful backdrop to fish against, to the thriving fish populations that are not under threat by either human exploitation or any other kind, to a sustainable approach to fishing that emphasizes long-term planning.
- New Zealand has quickly cemented its place as being among the top fishing destinations in the world.
The Best Fly Fishing Spots in New Zealand
The South Island is renowned for its fabulous brown trout fishing, and the North Island’s brown and rainbow trout are legendary too.
Fly Fishing in New Zealand’s North Island
- Fishing in New Zealand’s North Island is a particularly sought-after experience as it is one of the few places in the world where there is an abundance of wild rainbow trout that regularly grow in excess of 2m. The photo opportunity of having a massive rainbow trout hanging from a line is in itself a huge draw for most fly fishermen in the world to the North Island.
The North Island was also the host of the 2008 World Fly Fishing Championship, yet again highlighting the region’s amazing capacity to support a booming fly fishing industry. Most fishing sites in the north island can be reached quickly from one another and are located less than an hour’s drive away from each other.
The best fly fishing spots in the North Island are primarily at the mouths of the Mohaka River, Lake Waikaremoana, and the Tongariro River.
1. Mohaka River
- Located less than an hour from the bustling urban centre of Napier is the mouth of the Mohaka River. The lower reaches of the river are amongst the most accessible fishing spots in the entire country and can be easily reached via car. Rainbow trout averaging 3 pounds are regular occurrences in the large pools that are features of the lower reaches of the river.
- The rainbow trout in these parts are known to get large and are known to be aggressive in their attempt to escape, making for a truly thrilling and memorable fishing experience.
- The upper reaches of the Mohaka River provides some of the most pristine waters and untouched backcountry that fly fishermen in New Zealand could hope for but they are quite isolated and can only be reached after either extensive trekking through the bush or via helicopter.
- The ones that brave the journey will be rewarded with some of the purest strain of brown trout known to New Zealand.
- Lake Waikaremoana is the deepest lake in New Zealand’s north island and is home to the country’s biggest trout.
- The lake is not very easily accessible and is located around a 3-hour drive from Gisborne.
- Brown trout regularly grow over 10 pounds here and are among the most stunning scenery that one could be fishing in as well.
3. Tongariro River
- The Tongariro River is home to some of the North Island’s most famous trout fisheries and features brown and rainbow trout that grow to on average about 4 pounds each.
- The river also feeds into the famous Lake Taupo and during the winter, large crowds of people arrive to observe the trout swimming upstream to spawn.
- The trout spawning season typically lasts from April to December.
Fly Fishing in New Zealand’s South Island
- Fly fishing in New Zealand on the South Island is among the top experiences that fly fishermen from around the world look towards and the South Island is regularly referred to as the Mount Everest of trout fishing.
- From the stunning mountains of the Nelson Tasman National Park to the abounding rivers and streams of the Canterbury region, to the sheer size of the trout and fish that are caught, fishing in the South Island is as close to reaching Mecca, as far as fishing is concerned.
1. Motueka River
- The Motueka River in the South Island is particularly vaunted for the abundance of medium-sized brown trout and is easily sighted thanks to the clear waters of the river.
- The upper sections of the river can be accessed by the wading through the stream and give a uniquely wild experience to the fishermen.
- Rivers like the Buller River and the Ahuriri Rivers offer capable anglers and fly fishermen the amazing opportunity to fish some of the biggest trout in the country.
2. Mataura River
- The Mataura River is especially notable because over here the fish rise to the surface of the water to feed on its robust insect population, allowing anglers another opportunity to at least hook the 5-pound trout that populate the waters.