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”.

Go Travel New Zealand - - Taupo - by Steve Sprague, aka Fishy Steve

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


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!

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