FLY FISHING a life-long passion
Taupo has been the destination of many traveling anglers for over a century, including the Duchess of York and Zane Grey, who described the Taupo fishery as “An Angler’s Eldorado”.
Wild trout were first introduced to Lake Taupo and its rivers in the late 1880’s (brown trout from Tasmania and rainbows from Northern California rivers). Since then the fishery has developed a reputation for being one of the world’s greatest naturally reproducing, wild trout fisheries. The runs of wild brown and rainbow trout that enter the rivers of the Taupo region every year ensure plenty of opportunities to catch “the big one”! These fish can often be spotted in the crystal clear waters of the Taupo rivers. The fish can grow into massive specimens feeding on Smelt, a small baitfish, as well as freshwater crayfish. These trout average around 3 pounds and some reach the magical trophy size of 10 pounds plus. With Taupo offering year round fly fishing, anytime is a good time to try your luck!
My name is Steve Sprague (you can call me Fishy Steve) and I am a professional fly fishing guide based in Taupo, located in the Central North Island of New Zealand. I have had the privilege of calling Taupo home for nearly 14 years now; what a pleasure it has been! Soon After meeting my Kiwi wife in Lake Tahoe, California, I purchased a beginner fly rod kit from a local shop. Little did I know then, but that fly rod would change my life. After spending six months trying to figure out the basics, I joined the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers (a fly fishing club dedicated to helping people enjoy the art of fly fishing). I also took on a job at a local fly shop. There is a lot of information to take on board when first learning to fly fish, and it can be a bit overwhelming at times. With the help of a few mates, I quickly picked up some skills and started to really enjoy my time on the water.
I also attended a guide school at a highly respected fishing lodge in Northern California - Clearwater Lodge. This intensive guide training proved invaluable. Information and skills about the fly fishing guiding service as a whole and how to teach others were the focus. I found one of the great things about fly fishing is that there is always more to learn. You will never know everything. You can spend the rest of your fishing days
becoming a better angler; it is a life-long pursuit of knowledge! Fly fishing is a form of fishing using mainly light tackle and thin line. The point is to try and imitate the behaviour of aquatic insects found in the rivers and lakes that the trout feed on. Hand-made “flies” made of feather, fur and some synthetics are used to imitate these insects. Fly fishing is not just a cast it out there and wait; you are constantly casting and covering the water in hopes of getting the “take”. When a trout decides your imitation and presentation look real and is a meal they do not want to let go by - it “strikes” and it is “fish on”! I have been guiding full-time for over 15 years now and really enjoy sharing my passion for fly fishing with others. In addition to the seasoned fly fisherman, the Taupo fishery offers many opportunities for the beginner fly angler. There is an abundance of easily accessible rivers in close proximity to Taupo township, making it very easy to get in a day or two of fly fishing. Many of these rivers are perfect for learning the basics and putting them to use. Alternatively, if you are an experienced angler looking for an epic adventure, you will find it here! The places you tend to find yourself when fly fishing are some of the most beautiful places on earth. I have a passion for sharing New Zealand’s beautiful rivers and helping others new to fly fishing attain the skills necessary to become happy and successful anglers. There is nothing else I would rather do! I enjoy teaching an understanding of the gear used during a typical day’s fishing and a little about the habitat and behaviours of the fish. Sometimes the fish play
"THE POWERFUL PULL OF A HARD FIGHTING TROUT ON LIGHT GEAR IS A FEELING RARELY DUPLICATED IN OTHER TYPES OF FISHING
fair, and they can be brought in with a bit of effort. Other times the hard fighting trout get airborne and acrobatic as they try and dislodge the fly. The powerful pull of a hard fighting trout on light gear is a feeling rarely duplicated in other types of fishing. With all of this excitement, it must be time for lunch! There are not many cafes in New Zealand that rival the beauty of a riverside lunch. Often we can find fish to watch as we share a nice home-made lunch, usually prepared by my lovely wife, Sara. Then it’s time to explore different areas of the river. Each new spot often requires new casts and techniques in order to be productive. When fish are brought to the net, they are often photographed then released to fight another day. The alternative is to keep your catch and prepare it for a delicious dinner. By the end of the day, a complete beginner can develop the knowledge to catch trout nearly anywhere in the world. A day’s fly fishing is truly an amazing experience, and many have told me that their day fly fishing was the highlight of their New Zealand holiday. So If you’ve ever wanted to give fly fishing a go, there is no better place than Taupo!