one of New Zealand’s truly great trout places
When Zane Grey wrote famous Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado he was referring, in part, to New Zealand’s trout fishing. Photos of a smiling Zane, posing with trophy rainbow trout, illustrated his writings. Often, he returned to fish the Tongariro River, perhaps the best known river on the North Island, a fishery he seemed to hold in the highest regard.
The Tongariro ends its long journey in Lake Taupo, flowing over riffled, rocky- strewn runs into placid pools where the dimple of a rising rainbow dissolves downstream. Tongariro Lodge rests a few long casts from the river’s edge, providing a stylish haven for those who come to New Zealand to fish for Zane Grey’s enormous trout.
One of the most trout-rich river in New Zealand, the Tongariro is but one of many rivers available in this region. Anglers could spend an entire visit just on home waters, but there are over 20 different streams to explore for those insist on a daily change of scenery. The majority are easily reached within a hour’s drive of the lodge. For those anglers who want a unique adventure, helicopters can fly guests into inaccessible stretches, with the promise of remote pools and giant trout that have seen few fishermen.
On the North Island, rainbow trout predominate, with many watersheds producing fish that average close to four pounds, and often exceed six. Far larger trout are hooked, though not always landed, with double digit trophies possible season round. There are also large brown trout as well, but the rainbow dominates in this region.
In many areas, anglers will approach the fishing in the classical New Zealand manner: first a professional guide sights the fish, then the angler cautiously approaches into a strategic casting position, and finally a careful presentation is made. In some parts of the Tongariro, blind casting to likely locations can produce jarring strikes from big rainbows. Fly fishing is the primary approach, but for the angler who prefers a light spinning outfit, casting river mouths as well as harling or trolling Lake Taupo itself can produce excellent results.
Tongariro Lodge’s paneled lodge reflects its links to the outdoors, though the accommodations would hardly be considered rustic. Tasty, abundant meals compliment the relaxed atmosphere of the lodge. For the non fisher, there’s a wealth of options to explore, from the geothermal features of nearby Taupo and Rotorua to hiking, river rafting, or playing the great golf courses. There are scenic air explorations of nearby glaciers or volcanos or just sitting back to admire the breathtaking scenery.
Guests reach Tongariro Lodge by either flying from Auckland to the town of Taupo, or by car directly to the lodge. A flexible schedule allows trips to begin and end any day of the week preferred. Rates are most reasonable, helped by the favorable exchange rate between US and NZ dollars.