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Fun tips from a top female fisher

National fly fishing representative Louise Stuart has a few fun tips for women who are keen to take up her favourite sport. The Turangi resident has nabbed one of six spots in New Zealand’s first all-women fly fishing team.

Louise Stuart Fly Fishing Tongariro River Turangi
Louise finding a fishing pool along the Tongariro River

All five of her teammates – Rachel McNae, Wendy Lu, Heather Carrington, Suzie Foggo and Sarah Delaney - are members of Taupo Fishing Club. Four of them live in the Taupo region.

Of course the fishing is incredible here but the rivers are also so accessible. It’s easy to go out, within a 10 or 20-minute car ride, and fish for a few hours. That really matters because time on the water is paramount when you’re competing.


Louise says she and her fellow team members have also received plenty of mentoring, help and encouragement from local anglers.

“People here are so passionate about fishing and, when you show genuine interest, they are incredibly generous with their time and expertise.”

Getting started

Join a club

That’s where a lot of mentoring happens. You’ve got experienced people, friendly faces who are very encouraging. They can pass on their knowledge about local pools and techniques that can be adapted, depending on the river. It’s a very gentle way of gaining experience and a really nice way to venture into something that really requires guidance. Taupo Fishing Club has a particularly strong contingent of women. Their beginner programmes – which include a buddy system - are very well attended by women.

Shop local

While it can be difficult to get clothing that fits women well, local shops are becoming so much better at catering for women and most of the equipment is actually unisex. And there are some real advantages to shopping locally – the staff in our local stores are hugely helpful and they fish these rivers so they really know what works. Often, they’ve been out that morning or the day before.

Louise's favourites

  • Cafés

    Creel Tackle House & Cafe

    Here at Creel Cafe we are about all things: coffee, divine food, experience, sharing and social space.

  • Shop & services

    Creel Tackle House

    Turangi's favourite tackle shop. We sell rods, lines, fly reels, waders, boots and accessories.

  • Sports & outdoors

    Sporting Life Turangi

    Fishing outfitters to the world famous Tongariro River. Whether you’re walking, tramping, mountain biking, rafting, hunting, fishing, boating or just enjoying the great outdoors, Sporting Life is there to make it more enjoyable.

  • Sports & outdoors

    Taupo Rod & Tackle

    We specialize in all trout fishing equipment, fly fishing, spinning, trolling, harling and jigging. We have Taupō's best selection of flies and lures, and we know which ones are working!

Sporting Life Turangi. They’re my go-to store for bigger items like waders, boots, rods and reels but they also have fly-tying material and tools.

Creel Tackle House, Turangi. The owner Jason Bethune ties his own flies in-store, offers guiding and he’s on the river all the time. They also sell all the lines and reels and they have lots of good local info.

Taupo Rod & Tackle. A comprehensive array of fly-tying materials and tools. They also stock a great line of reels, rods and fly lines.

Favourite read

I have two favourite books. New Zealand’s Best Trout Flies, by Peter Scott, is a very helpful guide for tying flies. Muriel Foster’s Fishing Diary hasn’t helped me catch more fish but it’s a beautiful, treasure of a book with all these hand-drawn illustrations and it had a real impact on me. I found it inspirational. The author grew up in Scotland in the early 1900s, with four brothers. She never married, fishing was her love.

Favourite clothing item

This sun sleeve is a new discovery, made by my fellow New Zealand flyfishing teammate Heather Carrington, and it’s often found in discount or dollar stores. It’s a little like a support stocking with a thumb hole that covers your arm and most of the back of the hand to protect you from the sun. It leaves your hands free so you’ve still got a feel for the rod and line, which is harder in gloves. The fabric is very thin and quick-drying.

Louise Stuart Holding A Trout Fly Fishing Tongariro River Turangi
Louise catching a nice rainbow with her sun sleeve

Pack a thermos and enamel cup

And a little fold-out chair for a riverside picnic. People often think of fishing as a solitary sport and it can be but you’ve also got that gathering, that comradeship that women do so well. One of my favourite parts of fishing is sitting around afterward, talking with my female friends or teammates and sharing a picnic. We all bring home baking and talk about all sorts of things but mostly fishing.

Foodie stops

I have two favourites. Creel Tackle House Café, just down the road from me, does the most beautiful breakfast. This is where the girls and I meet before we head out fishing. It’s small, it’s charming and the food is outstanding. They also do amazing gingerbread and coffee, which we’ll enjoy after fishing.

If I’m in a hurry, I love to stop at the Delta Coffee stand beside the river. They do fabulous coffee and their sausage rolls are out of this world.

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