I had an opportunity to go to New Zealand. The first decision was where to fish North or South Island. I I started searching fishing on the North Island vs. South Island. I started to focus in a Taupo area of North Island as I could drive there easily from Auckland or flight to Taupo area. The fish seemed to be big and plentiful and you can fish there year round. I found a few guides in the area, what I wanted was to find a real review of a guide. Luckily I had great timing that I saw the review from another fly fishing forum I knew this was the guide I was looking. After a few emails with the Jason of Troutbeck Fishing Lodge I was set to go. I liked the fact that Jason and his wife Tracy also have a Lodge so I could stay, eat and fish, it made my decision even easier. I was booked for a package of 3 days of fishing and staying 4 nights in one of their ensuites with all meals included. I was about to fish an area on my bucket list. I also opted to rent all of my gear from Jason, as I did not want to wait to get my gear disinfected and pay to bring it with me. Additionally their prices for were reasonable to rent gear.
I flew into Auckland in the morning of the Nov 16th, rented a car and drove 4 hours to the Taupo area to fish some backcountry rivers for big Rainbow and Brown Trout. After a beautiful drive I arrived at the lodge Tracy greeted me and gave me full tour of their place. Their lodge is located right off the Tauranga-Taupo River and Lake Taupo. Their Lodge is just north a bit of the town of Turangi and South of Taupo. The location was beautiful and quiet. Tracy was a great host and made me feel right at home. A few hours later Jason was back from guiding a couple from Hamilton. He was able to get the newbies into a few fish. I had a wonderful dinner of vension, mussels and oyster wrapped in bacon. I crashed and slept so well that night. I woke up bright and early and had full breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, hash brown and toast. After a huge breakfast we were off to fish. Jason had done a bit of recon work on places to take me fishing. After driving 1.5 hours we reached our fishing spot. The water was high from some recent rain
Here is Jason waiting for me to get fishing.
Each day I fished with Jason, I was able to hook up within a couple of minutes at the first pool we worked. I also realized that big fish take some patience and when they run like a freight train up or downstream. I lost that first fish. At the next section of the pool I caught my first picture worthy fish
I thought this fish was big, I would learn later bigger fish would come. This river was a bit tough and the water was running high. I was land 8 fish and lost a handful. Here is another fish from the day a bit small but was quite a fighter. These fish are all wild not stocked and they fight like hell, a lot of jumping will run quite a ways.
The whole day I was the only person fishing on the river, it was beautiful and just sounds of my guide yelling at my to set the hook as I would occasionally be staring at the scenery.
That night I had another great meal of Lamb, scallops and a great Pavlova. Jason and I talked at dinner if I would be up for some real backcountry fishing, involving driving 14 miles on a quad. He said the fish here were big and his son had caught a 10 pound Brown there a few weeks ago. The next morning we headed out early drove another 1.5 hour and then it was almost another hour on the quad. The last few miles I don’t think we drove on a trail, we were driving through the forest/bush/jungle. Just when I thought we would never get out of there, we hit a clearing. Jason really knows this area well and has been fishing and hunting the greater Taupo area for over 25 years.
This river was so remote, it was beautiful, we saw a lot of the endangered blue duck on this beautiful river. The river was smaller than what I had fished the day before. After a few casts I was my first fish of the day.
I think I caught about 12 fish that day all around 4-7 pounds and lost another 3 big fish. Here are a few fish from that day.
Here is one of my biggest fish.
Another good sized fish
This river was full of big fish, Jason told me this section of the river only had big fish in it. I was very impressed he really worked hard to get me into fish, he was disappointed we did not get a 10 pound fish.
Here is a picture of the river.
After a long day of fishing we were back at the lodge over 12 hours after we left. Had a great steak dinner and then I crashed for the night. The final day Jason wanted to know if I wanted to work a new section of water in the backcountry or go to a known river section. I opted for backcountry again.
Once again in the first pool section on my second cast I had a fish. I ended up loosing up, but knew this was another good river. Once again there was no one else fishing the river when we were there.
Fishing was a little up and down during the day as the bite went away when the rain came in, we kept on fishing. Here are few good fish for the day.
Here is a brown trout to break up all of the rainbow pictures
This was a trip of the lifetime for me. I was so impressed with Jason as a guide. He really worked hard to get into fish, he would switch out flies and setups depending on the conditions. He was willing to stay out fishing as long as I wanted. I really liked his wife Tracy she was a great host and an incredible cook. I think fishing with Jason makes me want to work to be a better fly fisherman, I know I could caught more fish with a few better placed casts or getting an extra 10ft on my casts in certain areas. I would highly recommend Jason of TroutBeck fishing if you ever want to fish Taupo area of the North Island. The rest of my trip was great stopped to see some thermo activity on my way back to Auckland. I then spent time in Auckland and an island called Waiheke for a few days. New Zealand is great place, good food and friendly people. Also the exchange rate is still pretty good.