Lake Taupo was originally formed by volcanic eruption, which must
have been quite a 'bang' as it is 238 square miles in area, 550 ft. at
deepest point with over 85% exceeding 165 ft. It contains 620 cubic
kilometers of pure, clear, fresh water. It is estimated any water entering
lake averages 10.6 yrs. before flowing out the only exit, to form the
Taupo region is an active volcanic plateau area in central North Island
with several nearby mainly volcanic mountains rising to around 9000 ft.
There are several skifields and resorts situated in the locality. The area
also offers boating, kayaking, hunting, tramping, mountaineering and
a variety of outdoor adventure pursuits.
It's flyfishing only in the rivers/streams, most common methods are
wetline and nymphing. Trolling, harling, spinning, downriggers and
jigging are permitted in lake only. As a general rule once in river fish
are not in a feeding mode and are feisty, you have to annoy them or grab
their attention somehow.
For wet line usually fast sink shooting head with short leader (6 to
10 lbs.) 3ft max. to keep near bottom. Weight 7 to 9 gear most favoured.
Flies like wooly buggers, rabbits, red setters and such like in 8 to 10 size
or even bigger if the water is cloudy. Bright day = brighter colours, dull
day = darker or muted colours. Maximum of two flies allowed but most
use only one. Cast across, let swing down and around, short retrieve, short pace downstream, repeat.
Generally you need to annoy fish to get a reaction so you need to get
nymphs down to bottom as soon as possible in mostly fast, reasonably
deep water. To achieve this usually weight forward floating line, two fly
rig with rod length leader approx. 9 to 12 ft. according to depth and flow
of water. Leader is non-tapered 6 to 10 lbs. quality mono, though
flourocarbon is becoming popular, despite extra cost.
No weight is allowed, however regulations allow weighted flies up to size
10 hook. Therefore is usual to have first fly weighted to act as 'sinker' then
a point fly tied to this about 8 to 12 inches away. Indicator ( yarn only) is clipped
to end of flyline. Cast is up and across mending line as required to achieve
natural drift. Drift can continue downstream past angler where fish are often
taken as well as on final swing. Any dipping or movement of the indicator
should be 'struck.'
Nymph anglers generally work their way upstream, the opposite to
wetliners so sometimes this causes problems, nevertheless should be able
to be resolved with a little give and take.
Once again due to added weight of nymphs and need for reasonably
long casts probably 7wt. rod is the minimum required. Flies like glo
bugs are the most common, also hare /copper, pheasant tail and halfback.
Weighted fly is not so important unless you want to get attention
however better to have minimum obstruction to sinking.
For night fishing one can use sinking, floating or sink tip according
to preference and conditions. Leader about 6 to 8ft. heavier material
12lb. plus as fish can not see it so well in dark and tends to tangle less.
Cast out into lake, into or at side of rip, start gentle or jerky retrieve,
be prepared for hard hit. Flies dark wooly bugger, black marabou,
scotch poacher, craigs nightime for browns and rainbows. Luminous
glow flies charged with torch or camera flashlight, for rainbows and browns.
Fish caught at night usually prime eating fish as have been preparing
condition to run river.
Other than on fishing chat sites we met for first time mid afternoon
on Tuesday. After hurried preparation was decided to nymph fish the
Tauranga Taupo river in the mid lower reaches with the remaining
daylight, accompanied by Monty, B.J's golden retreiver. There had
been some rain over previous days, so were hopeful this may have
brought fresh run fish into river.
June 6th - 8th, 2000
As most of the rivers have been dramatically altered by severe floods,
it was decided time would be best spent initially with an exploratory
Ike soon upset those intentions by hooking into a fish in short order
which after leaping several times managed to break free. He soon
repeated the scenario by hooking, landing and releasing a good fish.
B.J. was invited to fish same spot and was soon connected to a
well conditioned fish about 6 lbs.
B.J. and Monty opted to explore a little further upriver whilst Ike
continued to have success in original spot. Darkness fell in what
seemed very short time, nevertheless it was two very contented
anglers and one dog that made their way back to the club lodge in
Turangi for dinner.
Whilst still fired with enthusiasm decision was made to night fish
Whareroa steam mouth on Western side of lake. Unfortunately, rip
from stream was going along the beach, although it did break though
just as we were leaving, driven away by heavy rain and lack of fishing
action. Ironically when decision had been made to leave, was hand
lining fly line back in to remove fly when fish took.
We have a suspicion hand-lining may be illegal but was unintentional
and was a new experience, particularly in the dark.
The rain that evening possibly was part reason for Ike developing a severe
bout of flu and having an uncomfortable night, not enhanced any by B.J.s
Next day went to Tongariro river, angler pressure was heavier and Ike
suffering effects of flu. One fish was taken by us from blue pool,
however other anglers that had familiarised themselves with the river
since being altered by floods, appeared to be more successful.
It was decided a visit to the chemist in town to get something to counter
the effects of the flu was called for. This proved to be a prudent move
as seemed to improve things for Ike in relatively short time.
Returned to Tauranga Taupo late in the afternoon with very little daylight
left. Just on dusk B.J. connected to beautiful maiden run fish that ran
out untold line several times and took over 10 mins to get to bank. Was
a little short of 7lbs but had tiny head of 2 or 3 yr. old fish. Unfortunately
we did not take our cameras this time, so fish was somewhat less
photogenic when snapped about three hours later.
Next day went further up river deciding to leave a very peeved Monty at
home in deference to his 13 yrs. of age, the many river crossings and the
distance involved. Fishing again proved to be excellent with Ike once
again showing his ability to read the most likely spots fish were holding.
At an earlier stage this ability to 'sense' fish, had been endorsed when
he took three fish, on three casts.
Possibly the most significant overall feature of the fish caught was their
condition, which on average was much better than normally expected.
Of the twenty odd fish landed there were no really big fish, however
only two would have been in less than prime condition.
The last few years have seen a changing pattern in the fish in this area
and it is speculated this could be the result of floods coupled with
The theory goes something like this. When Ruapehu erupted several
years back ( I was fishing river at the time, had new floating line ruined
by falling ash and grit which burnt into surface. Probably did rod guides
no good either) it put ash silt and worst of all lava (volcanic mud flow)
into rivers. This was viewed as very serious at the time for fish population
and breeding as was also followed by a series of very severe floods.
Many were predicting disastrous consequences for the fishery, so the
actual results that transpired, came as somewhat of a surprise.
Many more fish than expected survived despite the river running grey
and smelling strongly like sulphur or burnt gunpowder for some time.
What nobody had anticipated was the ash that fell on the lake killed
off the top layer of zooplankton that the smelt rely on for food source.
It was subsequently discovered the top layer was of low nutrient value
and when the high value lower layer bloomed to become the primary
food source for the smelt, they suddenly grew to huge size.
When the trout returned to the lake as normal and fed on the 'super' smelt
they in turn grew to bigger than normal size. (Still not as large as early
days when fishery was in it's heydays and the plentiful fish averaged
over 10lbs.) So we had a season following with fewer fish of immense
size, I remember it as a season of great battles with not too many fish
landed. It would appear now population has grown again and size is
dropping but condition improving.
Will be interesting to see what the future holds, we are fortunate to have
a dedicated team of largely fellow anglers in charge of managing the
isheries and whilst they cannot be expected to be right 100% of the time,
are overall doing a great job, with anglers' interests at heart.
Was pleasing to see we had our licenses checked by an officer and a
survey taken as to angler satisfaction with present operation etc. The
officer concerned went about his duties in a very efficient yet courteous
and helpful manner. The law abiding Ike was able to produce his, but
B.J. had a leisurely stroll back to the car with the ranger to locate his.
Annual license fee for Taupo fisheries Approx. U.S $ 25 Fish per day 3
Catch and Release, no limit. Minimum keepable size is 18 inches.
Thanks for sending us the fish in 1885. Hope you will agree we have
taken pretty good care of them by and large. Hopefully we will continue
to do so and maybe a few of you may like to come on down to check
up on them, also do some fishing while you are here. We are fortunate
they have no predators here other than man, as New Zealand has no native
animals, all have been introduced. We did apparently have a significant
naturally established grayling fishery that mysteriously disappeared almost overnight.
Equally puzzling as to where they went, is how a Northern hemisphere
fish came to be here in the first place, pre-European settlement, however
that is another story . . .
It is probably worth a mention also, that to protect the wild fisheries no
sale of trout, farming, commercial fisheries or importation are permitted
in N.Z. However a couple of Government owned hatcheries do operate
to raise fingerlings from wild fish. These are used to supplement any
water which would not be sustained by natural breeding, maybe due to
lack of sufficient spawning area. This does not apply to Taupo region.
Farming of salmon is allowed under strict control.
In fact some very interesting breeding programs are underway, some
experimental, others firmly established and proving very successful,
such as breeding from selected 'fly caught fish' then holding back from
spawning for their first year. Fish grow to a bigger size and are more inclined
to react to the fly. (Known here as R strain.)
Most rivers have a Queen's chain either side of rivers/streams which
allows anglers access. There have been several attempts of recent
times to gain private water by restricting access. The angling
fraternity are vigorously opposing the ability of vested interests
achieving this. ~ Ike and B.J.