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NZ Trout Fishing

To New Zealand for the trout fishing - Beyond the West
Sunset,  Jan, 1991  

Have you ever planned an overseas trip around a trout? For a dedicated angler, New Zealand's remarkable streams and the huge and wily trout that inhabit them are reason enough to travel thousands of miles. And for the ordinary tourist
who's a sometimes fisherman, a chance at the more innocent younger brothers of those wily old fish might justify adding some fishing to a New Zealand itinerary. Nature didn't put the trout in those streams: man did. They were first stocked about a century ago, mostly with rainbows from California and browns from Europe. Here's the fact trout fishermen love: both kinds grow much bigger in New Zealand than in their original waters. Here in the West, good rainbows average 13 to 14 inches (I to I 1/2 pounds); in New Zealand, good ones start at 20 inches (about 4 pounds) and can be as big as 28 inches (10 pounds). Brown trout also grow about twice as big there as here or in Europe (up to 12 pounds and 30 inches).

As in other parts of the world, your success in catching trout depends on where and how you go fishing. Generally, the farther you get from a road, the better the fishing and bigger the fish. All of South Island offers excellent fishing for trout, particularly in streams fed by the Southern Alps. East of this range, terrain is quite gentle, and it's fairly easy to get around. North Island is good from the town of Hamilton south, especially around the centers of Lake Rotorua and Lake Taupo. Where to stay overnight? Fishermen have three choices. Go camping with a rented camper or rented car and tent. Rent a car and stay in motels. You'll find clean little motels in almost every village; they charge from $20 to $60 U.S. Or-the most expensive alternative-stay at a fishing lodge. The country has about a dozen of them. You should make reservations for these places before you leave the U.S. Consult a travel agent or call the New Zealand Tourism office in Los Angeles at (800) 388-5494. Three agencies in the U.S. organize fishermen's trips to New Zealand: Frontiers, (800) 245-1950; Pathways International, (800) 628-5060; and Travel Center, 213) 826-9105. When is the fishing season? The season is in the South Pacific's spring and summer (October I through April 30), though some streams and lakes on both islands are open all year. In any 14day period from December through March, expect 4 or 5 days of rain heavy enough to prevent fishing. Rains quickly make streams quite high, but water stays clear. Typically, streams return to normal about 48 hours after rains have stopped. It's uncrowded and easygoing Fishing areas are never crowded. Though New Zealand and California are about the same size, New Zealand has only an eighth as many people-and most of them live in Auckland. Access to fishing water is generally unrestricted. However, if you need to cross private land to reach a stream or lake, you must ask the owner for permission.

New Zealanders, especially rural folk, are welcoming and will probably be keen to point out the most promising fishing spots. What about gear? Fish will usually rise to any kind of fly pattern, but favorites seem to be sizes 12 to 16 Adams or Humpies. Or use nymphs in sizes 10 to 16 Hare's Ear or Hare-andCopper patterns. Ideal for fly-fishing is a 9-foot fly rod and a 5- or 6-weight floating line, with a 9- to 12-foot leader tapered to 5X or 6X. For spin-casting, best is a 6-foot light spinning rod with 5- to 8-pound-test line. Some rivers are for fly-casting only. Check local regulations and watch for signs. Don't bother to pack waders. Most fishing takes place from shore, and you can cross streams in shorts, as Kiwi fishermen do. Wear glasses with polarizing lenses to let you spot fish more easily. You'll also need a hat, sun screen, and insect repellent (gnat-like blackflies can be a nuisance in forested areas). New Zealand's Automobile Association (AA) offers free maps and other services to American Automobile Association members. Maps show sizable streams in blue, roads in red, mountains in relief.

COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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