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Master Caster - The Essential Q&A

The Master Caster knows a thing or two about the water, whether that’s backcountry rivers, lake fishing or a secret spot they’re reluctant to reveal. Taupō has plenty of water for you to explore stacked with hungry fish to stalk, and thanks to local guide and fishing expert Dustin Habeber of Taupō Rod & Tackle, we’ve asked him a few question of about fishing in Taupō to ensure you’re ready for your next visit.

[LT] What gear requirements are there for the Taupō fishery specifically?

For fly fishing in summer, you’re good with a five or seven weight rod and a floating line. If you want to fish the rivers, or the river mouth, anything from a six to an eight weight with either a sinking line or shooting head for the deeper river mouths. Even a floating line for the shallow river mouth will be fine. We do get a bit of a dry fly action going on in the summer, but summer, spring, summer, autumn fishing with dry droppers and nymph rig is probably the most successful thing to do in the rivers. And then the river mouths, wet flies coming into the winter when fish are spawning and they're running up the rivers. Generally speaking, nymphing is the most successful method. A lot of people use Glo Bugs, these are egg imitations, and you’ll want a heavy fly to get that egg down to the bottom. Another classic way of catching the fish is wet lining with a sinking line, using something like a Woolly Bugger or some sort of wet fly. And then the more modern way it would be a double-handed rod.

[LT] What are the essential pieces of equipment that keen fishers need in Taupō?

A key piece of equipment to touch on is indicators. A local rule in Taupō is that fishers are only allowed to use yarn indicators in the rivers. I use sheep's wool, usually. A popular attachment method is the New Zealand Strike Indicator tool, which we sell at the shop. You fix it on your leader with a tube system and a bit of yarn, which is nice because you can easily slide it up and down, and according to the depth, you can change the distance between flies and fly line. There are also clip on indicators, often in the winter people come in and ask for clip on indicators. You can just clip them onto the loop of your fly line and it's nice and easy. I think especially a lot of beginners or less, maybe less advanced, even advanced people, they love those clip-on indicators.

[LT] Where do you recommend advanced fishers go to fish in the Taupō region?

[DH] Nice try, I’m not going to cough up all the secrets so easily. However, I’m not going to keep them all to myself, either. For the sake of keeping some mystery of the ‘secret spots’, I recommend Master Casters come see me in the shop sometime, and if I’m feeling in a generous mood I might spill the beans.

[LT] What are the famous flies of the region?

[DH] Some of the Taupō classics are still used today, such as the Parson’s Glory, the Taupō Tiger, Green Orbits, etc. Mrs. Simpson is one that is still used these days for fly fishing, but also for your jigging and hauling and trolling. There are a few classic fly patterns still about, mixed in with a more modern offering, but they are not as commonly used nowadays. Having said that, I still get people coming into the store asking if we have a Grey Ghost, a Ginger Mick and other classics.

[LT] What do visitors need to know about fishing etiquette?

[DH] Which is one thing I should touch on, which can upset people, especially on bigger rivers like the Tongariro. There's an etiquette on the river, let's say you’re fishing a pool upstream with a nymph. You shouldn't just jump in front of someone that's fishing upstream. That fisher effectively has the right to the pool. In such a situation, I recommend you approach the person, say hello, and ask ‘what's your plan?’ People are typically really friendly and it can be sorted out that way quickly. He might say, ‘I'm just gonna spend another five minutes here. And if you want, you can jump in after me’. But usually if someone fishes a pool and is heading upstream, you should start behind him and work your way up behind them. That’s the etiquette. If someone works his way downstream and you’re fishing upstream, that's cool as you can just pass each other by and connect in the process.

[LT] How about accessing water in Taupō?

[DH] There should be no need to go across private property, so avoid that. All local rivers are well tracked for access and along the rivers themselves. As a rule of thumb, don’t go over any fences. There's lots of angler access, generally keep the tracks and you will be fine.

More to get your line wet...

Fishing shops in Taupo & Turangi

Whether you're an international tourist to the North Island or you've recently moved here, you will want to zero in on a fishing shop that meets your needs. This list of the Taupo and Turangi region’s fishing shops should make your search easier.  

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  1. Home
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  3. Our stories
  4. Master Caster - The Essential Q&A