• Guide's Corner by Grant Petherick - LDR and the Mystery of the Missing Hardware

    Comments 0 | Posted by: Global Administrator,

    Long Distance Release or the abbreviated form - LDR - is a much used euphemism to describe trout that liberate themselves before the angler has played them to submission and / or brought them to the net.

    And of course everyone who has fished  long enough will have experienced LDR in some or all its many forms, ….a jump, a head shake,  loose line,  a leader snagged on a rock or some other underwater obstruction, an over zealous strike, heavy handed line control... even an eel attack! Any one of these occurrences can lead to the premature release of fish as we all come to find with experience.
    fly fishing in New Zealand at Poronui

    So, trout get away ……..we know that.   Some simply throw the hook, but I see many occasions where a fish breaks off and swims away with the fly still attached.  Factoring in the 5 - 6 other guides who are working at Poronui during the height of the season, and assuming their clients are losing a similar number of fish, I’m surprised we don’t catch more fish with ‘second hand’ flies in their mouths. 
    In 18 years of guiding at Poronui I had never seen a fish landed that was carrying around some ‘third party’ adornment.   So does this mean there are simply lots and lots of trout out there and snagged ones are only a small portion of the population…. or do the fish somehow rid themselves of the offending hardware?
    Fly fishing in New Zealand at Poronui

    Guests often ask me this question and I’ve never been sure of an answer but this season I think I came closer to understanding what might be happening.
    Early one December morning a good sized rainbow engulfed the large stimulator my guy was using as part of a dry / dropper arrangement. The take was aggressive, the surprise was total and the angler’s reaction vigorous….vigorous to the point the leader parted company with the fly in approx 3/10ths of a milli-second.
    To cut a long story short, another angler hooked and landed this same fish on a double nymph rig 10 days later in the beat below. As I removed the nymphs with my forceps, the sodden stimulator was plainly visible in the rainbow's top jaw but it simply fell to the ground as I lifted the fish from the net.
    Closer inspection revealed a sizeable cavity in the fishes top jaw…..similar to the hole left behind when young kids lose a first tooth.  Interestingly, the hook of the stimulator was badly corroded to the extent the point and barb had completely gone leaving a blunt stub. Clearly some digestive juice or enzyme in the trout’s mouth was working to slowly dissolve the metal component of the fly.  If we hadn’t caught the fish a second time, it’s fairly clear some head shaking or rubbing on the bottom would have removed the offending fly in the next few days.
    So it seems trout have the ability to rid themselves of offending flies in a relatively short time - approx 10 -12 days in this instance.
    It also begs the question - how long before a fish will take an artificial fly again after once being hooked? But that’s a story for another time...

    With the season now in full swing, I’m off to kit up in waders and boots.
    Good fishing everyone ….
    Grant Petherick

    Fly fishing in New Zealand at Poronui

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  • The Pace of Change - Health and Safety Update by Ross Castle

    Comments 0 | Posted by: Global Administrator,

    Ensuring the health, safety and security of guests and staff is of prime importance to Poronui, and changing times mean taking a fresh look at how we approach the welfare of our guests and staff for 2015.

    Things are changing - 2014 has been a significant year of change for health and safety in New Zealand with new legislation being introduced that will come into effect in June 2015.

    Change is a wonderful thing as it inevitably brings progress and improvement. Most people love the idea of change, but they just hate changing. Poronui has always had an excellent safety history and has implemented safe practices for both guests and staff. Since my involvement earlier this year I have witnessed that everyone at Poronui embraces the health and safety program with a positive attitude.
    Cooking class at Poronui
    Poronui also encompasses a farming program, a Manuka honey business and Glazebrook - an extensive hunting property in the South Island - all with unique challenges.
    We are continuing to make improvements and implement new processes.
    Steve and the management team do care for everyone’s wellbeing and this is shown in the decisions to enhance the health and safety and welfare of everyone at every opportunity, no matter the cost implications.
    Team meeting at Poronui
    2015 will see even more attention to health and safety and more focus on formalised audits and safety checks. The New Zealand current health and safety legislation is being replaced after 22 years with the new Healthy and Safety at Work Act. It will be a significant upgrade for all organisations to improve their health and safety, or pay the penalty of poor practices. 
    Poronui is leading the way. It’s been a pleasure working with a company and individuals who have a positive attitude to implementing the Health and Safety program, and I appreciate the open and honest contact and certainly encourage everyone to continue sharing and caring.
    Ross Castle, is a Health and Safety consultant who started working with Poronui this year.
    His company is called Safe and Well.    

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  • Vale Hughie McDowell

    Comments 0 | Posted by: Global Administrator,

    Hughie McDowell 2005.jpg

    It is with sadness I write that Hughie McDowell, a well renowned and much admired fishing guide, who guided at Poronui over two decades, died in May.
    Hughie was the author of two books and several magazine articles on fly fishing, an artist, cartoonist, calligrapher, musician, master fly-tier and a casting tutor of note, competitor at several world fly-fishing competitions and most of all a great friend.
    Hughie guided at Poronui for many seasons in the late 80’s and 90’s where we struck up a great friendship. Banter was always lively in particular as Hughie was born in Country Down and my home county is Tipperary.
    He never forgot a person he guided and he often would recall funny events with the same enthusiasm as if it were yesterday.
    I caught my first New Zealand trout with Hughie. Yes - below the willow tree above the old Lodge. Not having much faith in my casting ability and less in my catching ability Hughie didn’t bring a net and I didn’t bring a camera. I surprised us both. The visitor’s book holds the evidence. He always insisted on adding the ‘O’ to my name.
    Eve's First Fish at Poronui.jpgHughie was indeed a legend and touched the hearts of many through fly fishing, his quick turn of phrase, and his many stories. His collection of fly fishing memorabilia was a treasure trove for any keen angler. As he says in his book entitled ‘I Mind One Time, Memories of Fishing in Ireland, America and New Zealand’, ‘I was born with a desire to go fishing’.
    His own words of farewell as expected are very profound:
    However, regardless of where you choose to scatter the ashes, you can believe my spirit, if there is such a thing, will always be around all those wonderful wild places where the trout live’
    Thank you Hughie. 

    Eve Reilly.

    Hughie McDowell 2005.jpg

    Hughie McDowell 2006.jpg

    Hughie McDowell 2005.jpg

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  • Manuka Beetle Patterns with Leon

    Comments 0 | Posted by: Global Administrator,

    During spring, the emerald green-backed Manuka beetle is abundant in most of our native forests. Manuka beetles can even be found in the tussock lands of our high country rivers, but their preferred habitat is the stands of manuka that are prolific throughout the central North Island. In a good season it is possible to shake hundreds of beetles out of a single bush.  

    Little wonder the rivers around Poronui are ideal places to use a Manuka beetle imitation during this time. Read more about these beetles.

    Why are Manuka Beetles so Interesting?

    Drifting a green humpy fly in the bubble line can often produce your first glorious rise of the season.
    But if the trout are not quite up on top I like to use a drowning Manuka beetle pattern which can be effective on those cruising Browns or Rainbows just a couple of feet down.
    Maybe you have a fly you think might work? Generally it’s got to have some peacock herl or green material in its profile. 
    And if you are interested in learning how to tie up a Manuka beetle imitation, I would be more than happy to meet up with you at the end of the day at the fly tying table in the lodge.
    Wishing everyone a great season! 
    Leon McCarthy 




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  • Food & Wine Weekends 2013

    Comments 0 | Posted by: Global Administrator,

    Each of our Food and Wine weekends this year got off to a great start with the informal dinner at the Lodge on the Friday night – the atmosphere of a typical house party. Both weekends attracted a mix of both regular and new guests.

    On both weekends the weather on the Saturday cleared for a picnic at the Safari Camp, and there was even some blue sky. Many of the guests took time out from their activities to join a relaxed picnic on the banks of the Mohaka.

    Martin’s and Al’s menus were delicious, interesting, with some great flavour combinations. There were the immediate hits like Martin’s Grilled Snapper, Pea Ravioli, Kelp Seasoning, Zucchini and Chives and Al’s Lamb Shoulder & Loin with Eggplant Kasundi & Cauliflower.

    The challenges this year were Martin’s Cauliflower Risotto, Gaunciale, Duck Liver, Nelson Scallops and Citrus Powder and Al’s Warm Pastrami with Fennel Bulb Slaw. Always one of the fun aspects of the Gala dinner is the unknown menu until you are sitting at the table.

    Duncan and Brian nailed it with their wine matches. If I had to choose a favourite I think it would be Mahi Boundary Farm Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and Man o’ War Dreadnought Syrah 2010.

    The weekends are confirmed for October 2014 again.  

    Please see menus below.

    Al Brown and Duncan McTavish
    Food and Wine Weekend
    11-13 October 2013
    Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon 2012
    Tio Point Oysters – Natural & Tempura w/Wasabi
    Exiled Pinot Gris 2013
    Surf Clam Cocktail w/Ginger, Lime & Seaweed
    Valhalla Chardonnay 2012
    Seared Octopus & Chorizo Salad w/Whitebean Skordalia
    Dreadnought Syrah 2010
    Warm Pastrami w/Fennel Bulb Slaw
    Warspite Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Malbec 2010
    Lamb Shoulder & Loin w/Eggplant Kasundi & Cauliflower
    Holystone Dessert Wine Sauvignon/Semillon 2012
    Warm Cherry & Almond Tart w/Anglaise

    Chocolate Truffles  Coffee & Tea 

    Martin Bosley and Brian Bicknell
    Food and Wine Weekend
     25-27 October 2013

    Whitebait Sandwich, Crayfish Mayonnaise
    Venison Tartare, Confit Garlic, Sabayon
    Sardine Chips, Horseradish Cream
    Pea Panna Cotta, Hazelnuts, Goats Cheese Mousse
    2012 Mahi Marlborough Chardonnay

    Sourdough Bread, Cultured Butter, Herbed Lake Grassmere Sea Salt
    Oyster, Pickled Cucumber, Avocado, Watercress
    Roasted Carrots, Asparagus, Vadouvan, Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke, Salmon Caviar, Wild Herbs, 65/65 Egg Yolk
    2011 Mahi Boundary Farm Sauvignon Blanc

    Cauliflower Risotto, Guanciale, Duck Liver, Nelson Scallops, Citrus Powder
    2011 Mahi Ward Farm Pinot Gris

    Grilled Fish, Pea Ravioli, Kelp Seasoning, Zucchini, Chives
    2010 Mahi Twin Valleys Chardonnay

    Slow-Cooked Poronui Venison Casserole, Roasted Bone Marrow, Venison Loin, Beetroot Soubise, Quinoa
    2010 Mahi Rive Pinot Noir

    Strawberries, Basil Gelée, Strawberry Milk Ice Cream, Lemon Yoghurt Mousse, Balsamic Gastrique, Meringue
    Coffee & Tea



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To discriminating anglers, Poronui is an historic fly fishing lodge where they go fishing for superb NZ brown and rainbow trout in pristine waters.

To sportsmen, Poronui is a supreme hunting lodge where they can hunt majestic deer in a hauntingly beautiful landscape. To others, Poronui is the ultimate luxury wilderness retreat, a place where they can relax or explore 16,000 acres of timeless wilderness.

To match the premier quality of the outdoor experience, Poronui offers three supremely comfortable accommodation options: the legendary Poronui fishing lodge, luxury camping down by the Mohaka river at Safari Camp or stately Blake House - the choice of celebrities, captains of industry and royalty.

Whether your passion is New Zealand fly fishing, hunting or hiking, our guests talk of the magic of Poronui – the breathtaking location, the genuine Kiwi warmth, and the camaraderie they share with guides and fellow adventurers.

Come and experience the legend of Poronui.

PO Box 1941, Taupo 3351, New Zealand Telephone +64 7 384 2080 Facsimile +64 7 384 2054 ©Copyright Poronui 2012