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Flies for Fishing New Zealand

While sometimes overlooked, flies are one of the most critical parts of fly fishing. Poronui Fly Fishing Guide Sean Andrews talks about the best flies to use in the backcountry rivers of New Zealand’s North Island.  

Unlike other parts of the world “matching the hatch” does not have the same significance in New Zealand as it does elsewhere. We don’t usually get the blanket hatches that you might see on places like Henry’s Fork where fish focus their feeding not only on a specific insect but on a stage of its lifecycle.

In the New Zealand wilderness fisheries, you might see a Mayfly here and a Stonefly there but very rarely do fish focus on a particular insect. The size and weight of a fly is more critical than anything else.

Stalking large, spooky fish in gin-clear water is a tricky proposition at the best of times and the first presentation is critical. The selection of fly depends on where the fish is lying in the water column, if the fish is feeding 5ft under the surface, you need a fly that will sink fast enough to get into its line of vision. If the fish is up and sipping on the surface, a well-presented dry fly within certain boundaries will normally be effective.

The combination of choice of fly and presentation is critical and given that the first one is usually the most productive, it pays to try and get it right. Generally speaking, the chances of you hooking the fish diminishes by 25% with each subsequent presentation!

Sight fishing in our clear, backcountry rivers gives us an opportunity to see how fish react to different fly patterns, and as a guide and a passionate fly-tier, I am constantly developing new patterns and tweaking old ones looking for an edge.

Interested in knowing more about flies for fishing in New Zealand? Email info@poronui.com with your questions for Sean.

20 years ago at Poronui

The transition from rustic lodge to elegant accommodation…

How time flies! With the start of the fly fishing season just around the corner, it reminds me that this time 20 years ago it was touch and go if we would have the ‘new lodge’ ready for opening. I can remember the late Simon Dickie’s calming influence as he assured me it would be finished in time. We had closed the old lodge for the last time in April 1998  and it was full steam ahead to get the current lodge open for the beginning of the new season.

Choosing the site was key. It had to meet a list of carefully chosen criteria, not least of which was space and a deck overlooking the Taharua River.Then the fun and hard work began. 

Watching the lodge being built in a big shed in Taupo was a first for me. You can imagine the excitement the day it left the shed, bound for Poronui. In no time it was lowered onto it’s piles, closely followed by the individual cabins. A once grassy paddock was beginning to take shape. Bit by bit the buildings transformed into our very comfortable lodge. Timing was down to the wire as the finishing touches were being done as our first guests arrived! Simon’s dream was a reality. 

Two years later phase two began with a very clever makeover and additional luxuries added. We have many guests who still remember the rustic days and were pleasantly surprised by the new lodge. For them ‘Poronui today’ is a far cry from its rustic beginnings.

It’s been an exciting journey and plenty of new skills and new friends acquired along the way. We hope to see many of you visiting again this year for another great season, if you haven't booked yet, we have limited dates available.


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