We recently received an update from Tony Hayes, founding owner of Tongariro Lodge, about the fantastic trout fishing they’ve had this year to date. At Tongariro Lodge the seasons run back to back because the lodge is open all year round, with great fishing for most of that time.
Right now they are eagerly jumping in to the winter season when there is a magnificent run of land-locked wild winter trout up the lower reaches of the rivers. As the lodge suggests, “The main method is upstream nymphing and truly magnificent sport can be had targeting these bright silver hard-fighting fish; they cartwheel, jump and run just like a steelhead! Truly exceptional numbers and size of fish can be taken during these months. It is a popular time for local fisherman also.”
But what about this past summer? Head Guide, Tim McCarthy, reflects on how the summer fly fishing has shaped up. “We had a cool wet spring with even a touch of snow in the mountains during early January. Summer finally arrived in February and with it came the cicada hatch. This turned out to be one of the strongest hatches for quite a few years and provided excellent dry fly fishing for the rest of the season.
“The spring fishing this year was great. It started in the best way possible for us, with some really strong late runs of trout entering the Tongariro River during October and November. These hard-fighting bright chrome rainbows gave our early anglers some great sport, mainly on the nymph, and 15 to 20 fish days with an average size of 4 to 5 lbs were not uncommon. One angler landed 34 before 3pm!”
Many of this summer’s trout ran up in to the Tongariro Gorge, an area of water that is only fishable by whitewater raft. The gorge is 14 kms long and only opens for fishing from 1 December each year. This adds a new dimension to your fishing possibilities and is a real treat for summer fishermen.
But right now, as the snow clouds gather and the ski season opens on nearby Mt Ruapehu, winter fishing is an opportunity not to be missed. There are way less people around, the lodge is quieter, and the still winter days can be idyllic on the water. It’s a time of year not to be missed, and you can also catch a few days skiing while you’re there as well!
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