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A day in the life of a fishing guide

Fishing guides in the Central North Island are some of the most passionate in the world. They are always ready to show visitors their favourite parts of the lakes and rivers in the Taupo region, and love sharing their fishing knowledge and stories.

Picking the brains of four local expert fishing guides, read why they are so devoted to fishing and learn a secret or two you could take to the water!

Dave Wood

Dave Wood - Poronui Lodge

Dave Wood, seasoned fishing guide at the stunning Poronui Lodge, has had a rod in his hand for as long as he can remember. To say that Dave is passionate about fishing is an understatement; he lives and breathes fishing. Specialising in private, back country guiding, the blue-ribbon rivers and streams that run through the Poronui estate give Dave the opportunity to explore some of the most pristine, remote fishing spots in the Central North Island.  

“…it offers everything from open tussock country to tiny bush streams in the middle of the mountains, it’s a beautiful thing, it really is.” Dave has caught his fair share of large Rainbows and river run Browns, and loves facilitating the opportunities for others to reel in a catch, but what’s his secret?   

“As a guide the secret is to keep the fishing within somebody’s range, inside what they’re able to do… I see how well someone can cast; I want to improve that but when we’ve got a fish lined up in front of us my objective is for us to catch that fish.”

Simon Jolly

Simon Jolly - Chris Jolly Outdoors

Simon Jolly and his family have been able to combine their passion for fishing with a love of entertaining to create a business that excels at both. Founded by his father Chris in 1980, Chris Jolly Outdoors has now been operating in the Taupo Region for the past 40 years, guiding locals and visitors alike on fishing and hunting tours.  

Simon, General Manager and all-round entertainer, has been guiding for 25 years and says there is nothing he would rather do. When it comes to Simon’s favourite spots to fish, there’s no secrecy.  

“It’s about sharing the information and our local stories. As time’s gone by, everyone has got a mumble-mumble river or a mumble-mumble pool, or X marks the spot. In some ways I think it’s still good to have that; the social media and GPS locations make some of those hidden gems a lot more accessible than they used to be, but they were good because they were hidden gems as well, so as long as people are respecting these areas that they have access to, it’s a win-win for both parties.” 

Garth Oakden

Garth Oakden - Tongariro River Rafting

Garth Oakden, Owner of Tongariro River Rafting, has been fishing since the tender age of 10, learning the art from his grandfather. At 18 he became a rafting guide, and then was able to blend fishing and rafting to create a totally unique experience for visitors.

The Tongariro River Rafting team can get to parts of the Tongariro River that are not accessible on foot, so if you are looking for some secret fishing spots, Garth has one piece of sound advice; go with a fishing guide! If you’re a visitor, there’s no better way to ‘do as the locals do’ than to join someone who knows the area like the back on their hand; Garth explains, “…the backcountry has always been the domain of the good keen men and women, and when you get to the end of your time you pass it on to somebody else, and that’s a great way to have it. But going out with a guide short-cuts some of that.”

Tim McCarthy

Tim McCarthy - Tongariro Lodge

Tim McCarthy, veteran fly-fishing guide with Tongariro Lodge, fell in love with fishing at age 15 when his family relocated to Turangi. After high school Tim was unsure what career path to follow, so took up guiding with his father and has never looked back. During his time guiding, Tim has come to appreciate just how special a career in fishing really is; “You talk to people about being a fishing guide and you always get the comment 'you’ve got the greatest job in the world' and I wouldn’t disagree with them… we’re very lucky to have a life that revolves around something we do truly love.” 

Tim has fished all along the Tongariro River, but he told us his favourite spot; “The Upper Tongariro from the Red Hutt swing bridge up… There’s a little bit more structure to the river up there, you’ve got a bit more gradient in it, so the river has more definition.” 

The guides in the Taupo-Turangi region are dedicated to showcasing all that our moana has to offer. Dave explains it well: “Guiding is not just to hold someone’s hand but it’s to help them through that process, to facilitate that whole journey of improvement, of finding new opportunities. That’s really what we are here doing, and we get that buzz from it.”

Where will your next fishing adventure take you?

  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Poronui - Fly Fishing

    While surrounded by spectacular scenery, cast a dry fly over a big, wild trout in a crystal-clear stream at Poronui. Choose from easily accessible waters or take a helicopter flight into the mountains to uncover more private, idyllic fishing spots.

    $1,200 - $2,235
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Chris Jolly Outdoors - Fly Fishing

    Guided Fly Fishing for Brown and Rainbow Trout in the stunning Lake Taupo Region. Chris Jolly Outdoors' specialist fly fishing guides have the local knowledge and expertise to ensure both novice and experienced angers have the trip of a lifetime.

    $460 - $900
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Raft Fishing - Tongariro River Rafting

    Raft fishing trips can be made to suit every angler's specific needs. Experienced guides are available to help locate and net your first fat Taupo Rainbow Trout. The Tongariro River is world famous for its trout fishing.

    $700 - $750
  • Fishing – Fresh Water

    Tongariro Lodge Guided Fly Fishing

    Tongariro Lodge Guides are the most experienced guided fly fishing operator in Taupo for over 36 years now. Guides provide access to the best wilderness trout fishing in the world by 4WD, boat, raft and helicopter.

    $360 - $716
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  4. A day in the life of a fishing guide