The Top 20 fishing lodges in New Zealand. These beautiful places offer a fabulous stay in some of New Zealand's most stunning locations, and offer world-class fishing, mainly for trout. They are spread throughout the North and South Islands. Check out the blog posts for lodge reviews, fishing tips and travel ideas around New Zealand
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Under close scrutiny the seafloor around New Zealand is as broken and mountainous as the bush-covered lands above. Plunging to depths of 10,000 metres in the extreme, but averaging around 3,000 metres in general, the topography of the seafloor surrounding New Zealand reflects the turbulent origin of this tiny country country, and its continuing evolution. […] The post Seamounts – A Rising Issue appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Under close scrutiny the seafloor around New Zealand is as broken and mountainous as the bush-covered lands above. Plunging to depths of 10,000 metres in the extreme, but averaging around 3,000 metres in general, the topography of the seafloor surrounding New Zealand reflects the turbulent origin of this tiny country country, and its continuing evolution.
Most of us have access to a boat to doddle out for a day’s fishing or diving, or cruise to a sheltered bay for lunch. But rarely do we leave the relative shallows of the continental shelf and plunder out over water that drops incredible depths into the blackness below. But recently a strong interest has been taken in these deep unsurveyed waters as the importance of seamounts has been uncovered.
The first inklings of something unknown came about when deep sea trawlers began to bring in fantastic species of previously unseen specimens that had been caught as by-catch when bottom-trawling for orange roughy and other commercial deep sea fish. Newspapers bristled with articles and photos of the giant octopus caught as by-catch in a research trawl net back in 2001, because until then, only commercial fishermen had tested the fertile waters of the 800 seamounts found off New Zealand shores.
Seamounts are technically described in the McGraw Hill Dictionary of Geology and Mineralogy as ‘an elevation of the seafloor that is either flat-topped or peaked, rising to about 900 – 300 metres or more [from the seafloor] with the summit approximately 300 – 1800 metres below sea level’. Basically a high mountain deep under the sea, they are definitely not something that can be explored on snorkel or with a scuba tank strapped to your back. Volcanic in origin, many are still active, either volcanically or as hot water vents.
Following the tantalising discoveries brought up by commercial fishing trawlers, a number of exploratory research trips were taken by groups such as the New Zealand-based National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) from Australia, to ascertain the extent and importance of the biodiversity found in these mountainous marine ecosystems. Not only are they home to well-known deepwater fish such as orange roughy, alfonsino and the black and smooth oreo, but previously unknown species such as a deep-water mussel that grows up to 30 centimetres long, strange rock sponges, a rare stalked barnacle, and various unknown tropical crabs, corals, starfish and worms have been dredged up. Seamounts are also known to be home to at least 29 different shark species at various times in their life cycles.
Following this initial research, the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries announced they were closing 17 key seamounts to bottom trawling ‘to safeguard the marine life and habitats they support’. These particular seamounts had been identified by NIWA for the Ministry as being either representative of others in the area, in their geology and biology, or were considered to be unique in New Zealand’s waters. Most had never been trawled, but several had been, providing a control for the comparisons between a modified and an unmodified environment. They are still heavily protected from dredging and over-trawling.
Although the 17 closed seamounts are well spread around New Zealand’s offshore waters, several are in an area along the Chatham Rise called the Graveyard Complex, about 275 kilometres off the lower North Island east coast. This region is of great interest as it contains at least 21 seamounts over an area of just 140 square kilometres. With suitably morbid names such as Mt Gloom, Crypt, Ghoul and Mummy, they are easily accessible by research vessel from the coast and have been the subject of a number of serious research trips over the years.
What researchers found is that seamounts are an incredibly rich underwater environment where a wide variety of species are found. In particular, isolated seamounts, or those that are volcanically venting, attract a higher number of rare or unusual species than those that are in groups or arranged along ridges. Researchers have also found that few species live in both the rocky reef seamount environment and the neighbouring soft sandy seafloor from where the seamount rises, but tend to live in either one or the other.
Many of the species found are large and slow-growing. Orange roughy can easily live for 150 years and some of the corals are dated between 300 and 500 years old. Deep-water trawling over these areas wreaks a double havoc in that it not only destroys a unique environment, but the recovery time of that environment must be measured in centuries, not years.
Research by the various agencies is building a solid inventory of seamount environments – in physical, biological and hydrographic terms. As new species and features are found they are being added to this knowledge base. The research also aims to determine the interaction between seamount habitats and fisheries to evaluate how commercial fishing will be accommodated within that.
There is a fine balance between these rugged, volcanic undersea mountains and the fragile life that goes on around them. But like other marine areas of significant value they must be evaluated and suitably protected before it is too late to appreciate their real value in this world. Hopefully the high-powered spotlights on the underwater research vessels will shine some more light on this mysterious, hidden world.
Email us to find out more.
(C) Sue Farley 2018
This fabulous video was sent to us by Ben, one of the guides we use in the Canterbury area of the South Island. The trout fishing in this area is excellent and there is good accommodation on the featured property. Or we can get you a luxury stay closer to Christchurch, especially if you […] The post Guided Trout Fishing in Canterbury – Video appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
This fabulous video was sent to us by Ben, one of the guides we use in the Canterbury area of the South Island.
The trout fishing in this area is excellent and there is good accommodation on the featured property. Or we can get you a luxury stay closer to Christchurch, especially if you have a non-fishing partner. Ben will also take you to fish the West Coast rivers if you prefer, or other parts of the Canterbury region.
The area featured on this video is just 90 minutes from Christchurch city and the international airport so is easy for a fly in fishing stay with minimum transfer time.
Email us for all the details or to make a booking. This area is open for fishing from 1 October to 30 April so there’s still time to book for this season. Or get in early for next season, starting October, so you get the dates you want.
Poronui is one of New Zealand’s premier fly fishing lodges. It is remote, offers an excellent stay and world-class fly fishing, and is set on a vast estate of farmed land and wilderness country. What makes it stand out for many is that it is open all year round. So you can add a […] The post Fish at Poronui Almost All Year Round appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Poronui is one of New Zealand’s premier fly fishing lodges. It is remote, offers an excellent stay and world-class fly fishing, and is set on a vast estate of farmed land and wilderness country. What makes it stand out for many is that it is open all year round. So you can add a stay at Poronui to a North Island ski trip, a mid-winter escape, or an extended tour through New Zealand. Just a 40 minute drive from Taupo, it is close to main roads, tourist attractions and an airport, but far enough from the mainstream to give guests a true sense of ‘getting away from it all’.
I first visited Poronui in mid-winter, with ice sparkling on the frosty ground and darkness drawing in early each evening. This wasn’t too much of a problem as we enjoyed sitting around the huge fire in the lounge, red wine in hand, swapping travel stories, favourite fishing adventures and email addresses.
Because of its range of fishing options Poronui makes it possible to come and fish for at least 9 months of the year. This extends the usual New Zealand season by 2 months, when many lodges and waterways close at the end of April. Poronui remains open all year with good fishing available October through to late June, and other activities like hiking, horse-riding and hunting available through the mid-winter months.
The main lodge is stretched along the riverbank high above the Taharua River near Taupo, in the central North Island. With just seven luxurious guest rooms around the main lodge the stay is quiet and intimate. But a large separate venue, Blake House, extends capacity for exclusive stays for 2 or more people. And in addition to providing homes for the estate’s horses The Stables offers recreation options such as a gym and health club facilities, sauna and steam room, a billiard room and several extra dining spaces.
Poronui boasts excellent fishing – “A helicopter flight deep into the mountains will uncover some of the most legendary and challenging fly fishing in the world. These are trophy waters where huge trout cautiously cruise in deep clear pools. These fish can be picky!
The angling can be technically difficult – demanding stealth, knowledge of the current, and an accurate cast. But when all these factors combine, the reward is likely to be the catch of a lifetime.”
It can’t be said much better than that. Their fishing guides are all highly skilled fishermen and can get you to some of the best fishing spots imaginable. With glass-clear water and rocky river beds the fishing is all sighted fishing – see the fish before he sees you or you haven’t got a chance!
And although it’s not open over the winter months, one of Poronui’s prime attractions is the Safari Camp, which sits deep in the property beside the headwaters of the Mohaka River. Stay a few nights and enjoy absolute isolation in this remote spot, while being spoilt with hot showers, chef-cooked meals, and crisp sheets.
It’s that time year again, when social media hums with the promise of exciting spring fishing, warm muffins from the lodge kitchen and hazy golden sunrises over silent rivers. Yes, the New Zealand fly fishing season opens this Sunday, October 1. So what will this season bring? Last year brought record numbers of people from […] The post Talk about the 2017-18 NZ Fishing Season appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
It’s that time year again, when social media hums with the promise of exciting spring fishing, warm muffins from the lodge kitchen and hazy golden sunrises over silent rivers. Yes, the New Zealand fly fishing season opens this Sunday, October 1.
So what will this season bring? Last year brought record numbers of people from around the world to spend their hard-won holiday and vacation times casting rods on glittering river banks, polaroid-covered eyes watching for that tell-tale glint of movement in the water. Most of the trout fishing in New Zealand is sighted fishing, so it’s best that you sight the fish before he sights you! The glass-clear water of many rivers makes this rather easy – for both you and the fish.
What is becoming apparent is that this year will be just as busy, so give some thought to your plans and book early. We have people enquiring every day now and have a good overview of what’s booked and what’s not. Some of the smaller lodges are filling already through the busy times, and others still have spaces through much of the season. The only thing that is certain is that this will change.
So what’s happening on the New Zealand lodge scene this season?
- very little has changed with the freshwater fishing lodges – old favourites like Tongariro Lodge, Poronui and Fiordland Lodge are still satisfying fishing folk throughout the season
- relative newcomer, Owen River Lodge, is a hot favourite and offers fishing guests a supreme experience, although with just 6 rooms it fills quickly
- if heli-fishing is your thing then two lodges, Minaret Station and Cedar Lodge, can give you a different remote river to fish every day – the sky is your oyster. Minaret Station is deliciously remote, with fly-in access only and a wilderness location to beat most
- and if you like a little luxury with your fishing then Huka Lodge, Treetops Lodge and Blanket Bay will provide all the feather pillows, discrete turn-downs and vintage wines you could ask for while still providing excellent fishing
There are a couple of exciting new fishing options that have appeared recently
- the first is the chance to fish for trout in the mornings and (saltwater) kingfish in the afternoons from a quiet corner in Golden Bay. See our previous blog post to learn more about this
- the hydro canals of Canterbury have become very popular places to fish for (mainly) salmon. Although not open water or wilderness fishing, this appeals to many people and may be something to investigate
With just two more sleeps to go the excitement is rising as lodge pantries are restocked, gardens are tidied and the final paint jobs are finished. We’re looking forward to a long hot summer here in New Zealand, and it’s only just beginning.
EMAIL US for more info.
Golden Bay sits in the curve of the kiwi’s beak at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a gentle, often quiet spot, with a vibrant arts and alternative community and many gorgeous beaches. Big ticket items in the area include the Farewell Spit nature reserve, Te Waikoropupu Springs (very clear and sacred), two […] The post Saltwater Fly Fishing in Golden Bay appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
Golden Bay sits in the curve of the kiwi’s beak at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a gentle, often quiet spot, with a vibrant arts and alternative community and many gorgeous beaches.
Big ticket items in the area include the Farewell Spit nature reserve, Te Waikoropupu Springs (very clear and sacred), two national parks (Kahurangi and Abel Tasman), the social media icon of Wharariki Beach, and the large estuarine area of Westhaven Inlet. These, and many other natural and cultural attractions, bring large numbers of visitors through the summer months to this small area.
So where is the saltwater fly fishing, you ask? Local guide, Anton Donaldson, takes avid fly fishermen on to the shallow sand flats in a quiet corner of Golden Bay to fly fish for kingfish. He knows the best places, the best times and the best weather conditions to catch these strong, beautiful silver fish. And he is drawing people from around the world to get a bit of the saltwater fly fishing action.
Australian crew, Aussie Fly Fisher, made this video below after visiting and fishing with Anton. They got pretty excited about what they found and, as the fishing is (almost) all catch and release, the fish will be here for a long time to come. Drawn to feed on the flounder stirred up by cruising stingrays, the kingfish can be seen circling in the shallows, so most of the fishing is sighted. Drone footage makes it look all too easy, but at water level it’s a different story.
Add in the fact that you can spend the morning fly fishing for brown trout in nearby rocky rivers and then jump in a helicopter or 4WD and spend the afternoon saltwater fly fishing for kingfish on the coast, and you’ll be close to fishing heaven.
Thanks to Josh Hutchins from Aussie Fly Fisher for the awesome photos and video of NZ Trout Adventures!
We’ll get your fishing guide sorted, find you some great accommodation to stay in during your fishing trip, and help with travel arrangements to get you there and back.
EMAIL US for more info.
With some really easy choices to fly in to Christchurch direct from overseas, and several new fly fishing options coming on stream in the area, we’re always on the look out for really good first/last night stays in Christchurch. Fly in, stay the night to relax and refresh, then head out to your chosen fishing […] The post Hotel Montreal – First Night Stay in Christchurch appeared first on New Zealand Fishing...
With some really easy choices to fly in to Christchurch direct from overseas, and several new fly fishing options coming on stream in the area, we’re always on the look out for really good first/last night stays in Christchurch. Fly in, stay the night to relax and refresh, then head out to your chosen fishing stay for a few days (or a week) of excellent fishing for trout and/or salmon. So, Hotel Montreal, in the central city, was high on our list when it opened two years ago.
Good hotel options have been limited in Christchurch the last few years, but now the rebuild is well underway there are new properties opening every month. With spanking new buildings popping up all round, and old ones like the Arts Centre and Cashel Street Mall reopening, the CBD is bouncing back to life just 5 and a half years after two big earthquakes wrecked large parts of the city. We were keen to learn more.
Hotel Montreal is a nice 4 star option just 10 minutes walk from The Square, the old centre of the city. Sitting opposite Cranmer Square and and overlooking cleared blocks of land yet to be rebuilt, it’s a sunny open site looking north. Winning New Zealand’s Best Hotel Suite in the World Travel Awards 2016 and again in 2017, it is already drawing a loyal fan base. The Polo Bar serves an Argentinian-inspired menu filled with hearty beef, fish and vegetarian options as well as a tasty tapas menu. The cured salmon, lemon jelly and salmon caviar plate was amazing.
The hotel is contemporary, a little bit funky, and appeals to younger, busy travellers looking for something a little less conservative than the usual ‘hotel’ stay. Strong bold colours like deep blue, black and gold are offset by white and soft shades of grey. Suites are spacious, with big comfy seating areas and a decent-sized entertaining kitchen with microwave, but no cooking facilities as such. Our room was on a sunny corner with two walls of glass and a big bank of cupboards for our luggage. Furnishings were sturdy and easy to sprawl on, so that when the All Blacks game started on the big screen later in the evening we were able to enjoy it, feet up, lights low just like at home.
It proved to be an ideal last night stay as we were flying out the next afternoon, and the standard 11am checkout meant we could relax well in to the morning before heading off to the airport.
In addition to offering an excellent first/last night stay Hotel Montreal is also a good base for a fishing stay if you’re using a Christchurch-based guide and you have a non-fishing partner. While you’re being taken out to a different river every day your partner will be able to enjoy the growing shopping options, wander the botanic gardens, take a cycle tour of the city or join one of the many day tours to places like Kaikoura, Akaroa, Arthur’s Pass or the Waipara wine region.
(C) NZ Fishing Lodges by Sue Farley 2017
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