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Old Time Angler 

Fishing In New Zealand with Red Dog


DESTIATION; North Island ,New Zealand

Date: April 8th to 18th  2004 inclusive Location; Based from Taupo after flying in to Auckland or Wellington [both 40 min connecting flight or 3 hr drive to the Lodge.

Accommodation; 4star fishing lodge at Rangatki River near town of Murrawara.. Private en suite rooms, bath shower etc. two double beds per room, private verandah. Lodge offers full catering included in tariff of NZ$250 per night per person, full bar, Games room. Billiards room, fire place, dining rooms etc. Laundry available. Lodge adjoins a golf course which has the river as northern boundary, I fished the river each morning early before breakfast after a pleasant 10 min walk across the golf course. The town ship offers basic facilities but full medical etc available in Taupo about a 45 min drive or 10 min Helo trio. Helicopter station a walk from lodge.

Fish sought; Rainbow and brown trout. Fish caught: All my fishing is catch and release. I averaged 6/8 fish a day for 8 full days fishing to an average weight of 3/4 lbs. Largest released 10.8 lbs. Largest lost: estimated at 13/14 lbs {fish was sighted as he jumped twice]. The country: This is wilderness NZ and does not get much fishing pressure. I find that a helo insertion and pick up allows me to fish the more remote locations and wilder bush country. The fish here are all wild , that is there is no hatchery bred fish, they spawn in June/July during the closed winter season. Fish vary in size depending on the river from a small 2lb to double figure trophy trout, especially the browns. There are no snakes . spiders or other bities in NZ and the mountain water is straight off the snow cap or spring fed. gin clear and safe to drink. The lodge actually uses a mountain spring for its water needs. There is no Terrorism, little crime {limited to the big cities] and a funny dialect of English is spoken. Food is all local country produce and some of the best I have had in a lodge.

Gear: I use a 5wt system for dry fly work and 6wt system for the bigger waters. I recommend a min 6 wt if you have not fished this type of river before both for fish size and in case the wind gets up. A weight forward line for most applications is enough and will also allow deep nymphing in the deeper streams. Leaders need to be at least 9ft long bur I find a 12ft leader and drop tippet more productive with wary mountain fish. Local fly's and nymphs are available near everywhere, but I also bring a few basics with me each trip as back up.

If you give Joel a email enquiry he can advise you of the basic patterns I recommend. A good pair of waders is essential as is a wide brim hat and sunscreen. Bug spray is helpful in the late afternoons for the sand fly’s. Most of my fishing is to sighted brown trout after a careful stalk. This is testing fishing, but very satisfying and great fun. In the quieter days deep nymphing with heavy weighted bomb with a drop tippet under is most productive.

The water is cold so rug up in autumn and spring. I took a client for his first ever fly fishing trip{he had never held a fly rod before] and he got his first brown on the first day {see photo] of 4lb to a deep stonefly nymph the environment is near pristine and some of the finest in the world I have fished, The high country is mainly natural beech forest with some tree over 200 yrs old. There are no bears, lions ,cats etc in the bush. the locals have a large wild deer population and we saw sign every day of their existence. The bird life is awesome. The scenery is picture post card stuff.

Guides: local guides vary as to competence and price. I have used more than a few over the years and have learned to "negotiate" and define the rules up front. Rates for guides vary between NZ$400 and NZ $650 a day. Check around and test well. Joel can assist you with a few of my best recommendations depending on your needs and wish list. A fishing Licence costs NZ$30.00 per week or $95 for a year. Catch and release is encouraged as these are all natural fish and taking a big fish from a pool will not see that pool fish again for some weeks.

I have fly fished for over 30 yrs and in some of the best beats in the world including Scotland, England and the USA and Europe. In my opinion the North Island of NZ is the best trout fishery in the world . The North Island is often over looked by visitors in favour of the South Island ,in my experience this is a flawed argument as I have fished both for many years. The South Island offers a more remote location but tents to be more given over to agriculture thus you are fishing stream banks that are grassland in the main.

I last fished this location in February 2004 for 5 days and used the trip as a recce for this one I fished the upper Mohaka river above the national park, the Rangatike and the Mawarra. All by helo insertion and return to the lodge and a hot feed and clean bed each night. Drive to rivers are many and over night campouts are a great way tyo spend the time. We fished the Weirra river in the first week after a 45 min helo insertion flight. To give some idea of remoteness, we were surprised to meet a pair of hikers who had tramped in to the location over 5 days , they were great for our coffee and fresh bread. Many of these rivers only see a human a few times a year.

Tippets; I recommend a short dropper tippet of about 12-18inchs under either a "bomb" nymph {meaning a heavy nymph to get down in the fast water} or under a high float dry like a Royal Wulff. The last two trips to NZ have confirmed that 5x tippet is too light {4lb] as I was losing too many big fish in the quicker water when they ran across or down stream. I have swapped to 6lb tippet and have found the fish cant tell the difference. I use the better quality Fluorocarbons like Stren or Sigalon as they are a smaller diameter than most and have better abrasion resistance.

Fly's and Nymphs; As mentioned nearly every corner store will sell you their recommended "local" fly's but I always travel with a basic pack which I cater to each location. Dry’s: Adams, Green beetle, Cicada {greens and browns], Black gnat, Humpy's elk hair cadis, Twilight beauty, Dads favourite, Royal Wulffs, and some hopper patterns. Nymphs: Hare and copper, stonefly in blacks and browns, Hare ear, and a heap of heavy tungsten bead heads in various sizes and colours. Wets: I always take wooly buggers in black, fawn and brown, hairy dog, red setter and rabbits ears. That basic pack will suit all you will need and catch you fish.

Seasons: Most NZ streams are fishable year round but there is a closed season on the main breeding steams like the Tongirio. The season closes on 30th June and reopens on 1 October. Having fly fished NZ for the last 25 yrs I have found by trial and error to stay away from peak holiday times and school holidays etc. The kids over here get handed a fly rod for their 5th birthday and can use it within a week so they get out and get amongst em during school holidays, now I like Kids, but not on my beat on a hot stream. I have found that October opening is the hot time, especially up in the high country as the fish have had a chance to spawn and rest and are not so wary and are on the feed. Oct -mid Dec is my pick followed by Late Jan - April before the Easter break.

Banking ,Medical, dental, shopping, car hire etc are all available and may be booked from your end. If you have ant trouble give me a yell via this web page and I will steer you straight. The local voltage is 220-240 and regulated and maintained by the G,ment so world standard supply is available even in remote locations. 110 volts is available in nearly all hotels and lodges and if not they will lend you and adaptor. Pick one up duty free on the way in for a few dollars if you are concerned. Tipping is not widely practiced in NZ or Aust. other than in 5 star big city hotels. This country NZ, I have found a bottle of duty free malt scotch works wonders as a tip.

Helicopters: Prices vary depending on season and location, this report is based around the Rangitki region in the Mawarra valley. This is a farming forestry district so the helicopters are used year round in Ag spraying etc. I have used the same Helicopter mob for some years and find if I let them know I'm there and wanna fish they will fit me in with their program. Costs are approx NZ$800 -NZ$1000 per drop and collection which is an average of 30-40 mins in and back. As mentioned, you can drive to near every stream in the location but you will lose fishing time and not access the more remote areas unless you are prepared to camp out. A bit of proper prior planning can prevent poor performance in this regard and if you want a few pointers on tinier's contact me via this web page.

Other Activities; Golf {this is a great local country course] green fees NZ$20.00...bring heaps of balls  as the river adjoins the course and is used to full advantage,. Horse riding, bush walking, bird watching etc are all available literally at the front door. For the more adventurous, the thermal district of Rotorua is within an hours drive but allow two days at least to do it justice. The tourist town of Taupo is 45 mins by car and offers great cosmopolitan and local restaurants and first class shopping. The East coast at Napier is a two hour drive and need two three days to visit properly, the art deco architecture of this town is awe-inspiring and I always spend at least a day walking the streets with a Camera. The Wairarapa district just to the south is another day trip not to be missed, take the credit card though ladies as the local wool products never cease to amaze me. The opossum was introduced in error from Aust to NZ about 100 years ago and has caused much damage to to local trees, especially the mighty Beech. the result is they are listed as a noxious pest and a taken for bounty. The enterprising locals have invented a new use for the fur...they blend it with the finest merino wool and make Garments from it. The possum/wool socks are the best in the world I have ever used and the Jumpers, scarves etc will blow your mind.

Telephone: is a government owned instrumentality and first class. Emergency number is 111,local operator {yup they still use the pin and plug in this location} is 010, international operator is 0170.

Summary; You have not fished for trout till you have fished the North or south Island of New Zealand, it is in many ways, for an Aussie like me, like going back in time twenty years. My American friends say it is like Nebraska in the 50's.The people are very friendly, the climate mild, the services fist class and it is a safe destination. My only many little time.

I have found that our local guides are in some cases sadly lacking and so too the information on destinations, fish numbers, equipment etc... I have over the years learned to sort the bullshit from the truth and would be pleased to assist you.

If you need any local assistance or have any questions please do not hesitate
to contact me Via Old Time Anglers web Page. Tight Lines.

Red Dog

Red Dog fishes New Zealand 6 -8 times a year on both the North and south islands or join him for fishing on the coastal streams in Tasmania for Browns and the Australian Alps for Rainbows, N/E Victoria high country to catch the middle of the trout spawn run. Aussie trout streams about every 3 - 4 weeks for a week at a time. Red Dog also has the good fortune to own a 42ft catamaran that he takes to the Great Barrier reef twice a year to fly fish for Barramundi and Jacks through to Marlin and sail fish. Its a tough job, but some one's gotta do it!

If you would like to fish down under with Red Dog drop us an email and we'll post it direct to him. Contact Red Dog via Email.


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