TRM readers may be interested to questions (in blue) and replies with an American angler:
Thank you for your enquiry… To answer your questions in the same order:
1 I’m from the U.S. and plan a NZ trip mid Feb thru mid March. What can I expect for fishing conditions?
This is known locally as the cicada season so any big dry flies are usually successful, often with a small nymph suspended under.
Weighted nymphs and dreaded wet lines also succeed. That time of the year is very popular so some angler pressure can be expected.
2 How far from your motel is good fishing water?
About 5 minutes walk will take you to one of the most popular pools on the Tongariro River known as the Bridge Pool heading down river or the Island Pool heading up river. (Image of TRM fishing guide Harry Moores is from the Bridge Pool)
If you have a car there are over fifty pools within ten km to suit all sorts of fishing styles, big pools, small side streams, fast runs, shallow wading, you will hardly need waders at that time of the year.
The motel is centrally located where the town pools get more attention but even at the busiest times there is always plenty of fishing within walking distance.
We also provide bikes for guests to explore the rest of the river and the more remote pools that hardly see an angler from one week to another.
3 Is it reasonable for an experienced fisherman to fish without paying for a guide?
By February the early Brown trout will also be on their spawning runs and are usually larger in the 4-5 pound range.
These are not river trout but lake trout that come up the river to spawn so they are out of their natural environment and easier to catch.
Guides are needed more to fine tune presentation techniques or to find new pools or explore more remote wilderness streams.
4 I’m trying to keep costs somewhat under control.
This motel is an anglers dream as it is set up over fifty years ago specifically for fishing with many special features to keep costs under control – such as free bikes, free wifi, free trout smoker, free maps, etc.
For longer stays the room rates can be more competitive. The advertised rates are aimed at tourists staying overnight.
Anglers deserve much better room rates and terms as they stay longer and return again and again… Many have been returning for over 20 years.
Unfortunately you will need to budget for an additional fishing licence (from the rest of NZ) to fish in the Taupo region.
This Taupo Fishery is managed by a typical government department (DOC – Department of Conservation) whilst the rest of NZ is managed by anglers for anglers…
Below is the link to DOC’s new tool for buying Taupo fishing licences online.
He replied with three more questions and TRM responded as follows:
5 Do I need to make room reservations well in advance or do you usually have some vacancies during this time.
6 Can I buy the Taupo area license locally or do I have to buy it online?
You can only buy Taupo licences on line.
7 Finally, even tho I would fish mostly unguided, I know it’s always beneficial to hire a guide to help when you’re new to an area to shorten the learning curve for local fly choices, etc. What are the normal rates for your guides, assuming using them for just one or two days?
I have dodged this one and asked our guide – Richard from Two Mountain Guiding – http://www.twomountainstroutguide.nz/ – to communicate with you directly so he can advise with better authority on all the guiding questions. Otherwise I might get into trouble… Everyone has different opinions on this of course. If a guide is affordable and you have time restraints then the appointment of an experienced fishing guide has to be worthwhile to make the most out of your limited time here and not waste it on finding your way around the river and testing fly patterns etc. The only advice we strongly recommend to anglers from overseas is to allocate less time to the South Island where, compared to this region, far too much of their valuable time is wasted traveling and walking and searching rather than fishing and catching. South Island guides will love me for that…