Tongariro Trout

19 January, 2012

Steeped in history, New Zealand’s famous Tongariro river is not only the birthplace of rainbow trout to the country, but the destination of millions of fly fishers from around the world, since legendary author- Zane Gray wrote about the river back in 1926. Since his book- tales from and anglers Eldorado, a world wide pilgrimage began including the duchess of York herself!

Lake Taupo’s primary tributary- the Tongariro is a familiar place for me. I made several trips there over the years, but given it’s incredible history, I had to return, this time with my TV show- Adventure Angler.

Fishing with good mate and one of the worlds best fly casters- Rene Vaz, we were confronted by really tough fishing and less than suitable river conditions. You see, for rainbow trout to run up the river to spawn in reliable numbers, you need winter rain, cold river water and a decent flow. We had a low, clear rivers and lovely warm days- in August!

Subsequently the fly fishing was tough. But, we had a job to do and an episode to film so we casts our bums off! One secret we’ve learnt with river fishing in tough conditions is to try and cast to, and present flies in the areas most anglers avoid due to difficulty. Quite often, these really hard to reach runs and lies don’t get fished and when the fishings tough- thats your best chance.

It worked for Rene and I. We caught fish. Nothing huge but we managed to land rainbow trout every day. One bonus to the low clear river conditions was the opportunity to spot trout and cast to them, something that normally wouldn’t happen in mid winter on the Tongariro.

This trip will be the twelfth episode in the upcoming series three of Adventure Angler TV commencing 1st Feb on Foxsports. Also available on DVD.