Catch a trout
Major Jones Pool is one of the most famous in the world for trout.
The fish use it as a resting place before heading further upstream. Fly-fisherman Jack Harrison hasn’t caught anything but he did have one nibble. The next day, he’s up with the dawn chorus and out on Lake Taupo, less than a kilometre from his river fishing spot. In 90 minutes he catches four rainbow trout, each weighing about 2.2 kilos.
Turangi is the trout-fishing capital of the world. Experts in town will provide equipment, advice and local knowledge about the best places to fish. Letitia Tawera, who has worked at the Turangi i-SITE for five years, says the centre will put visitors in touch with fishing guides – mostly retired fishermen who live in the area. The lake is better for larger groups. Guides will take only two anglers on the river. It costs between $300 and $375 for two people for a minimum of half a day.
Fish not guaranteed.
Grant Alley, who owns Creel Tackle House (the oldest tackle shop in
New Zealand), has been coming to Turangi for more than 40 years.
Women used to tie flies in the back room where Creel Café now stands (see Places to eat page 14). He sells everything for trout fishing, including waders (which can also be hired), flies and rods. The advice is free. Good rods retail for about $400 to $500 but the top lines can go as high as $1500. Grant says most people buy flies today rather than make their own. He sells up to 20,000 a year; the most popular fly for the Tongariro River is the Red Setter. nzfishing.com; creeltackle.com; turangiflyfish.com; greatlaketaupo.com/turangi-i-site; tongarirolodge.co.nz
Bay of Plenty picture framer and devoted fly-fisherman Jack Harrison knows that dusk on the Tongariro River, when the temperature has dropped below eight degrees, is a good time to cast his line. He’s fishing in Major Jones Pool, no relation to Sir Bob, although the famous altercation between the property developer and a press photographer occurred just downstream.