COVID-19: Discover Poronui's COVID-19 policies and procedures
The silver (brown and rainbow-colored) lining
– Fly Fishing

Poronui’s Assistant Lodge Manager, Claire Hall, is making the most of the 2020–’21 Covid-impacted peak summer season by getting out on the rivers and streams as much as possible.  She shares her thoughts and experiences on a recent family outing.

During the 2020/21 New Zealand summer season, we have had a little more time on our hands, so when the idea of going fishing is floated, it’s very easy to say, “Yes! What should I pack?” Being told lunch is already packed, all you need is your boots, and you’ll be collected soon, makes it all the more easier to get ready and go.

On this particular day, I change out of the dress I had on while farewelling guests during the morning, and get straight into my fishing gear. In swoops the “noisy bird” to collect me and off we go — family fishing time!

It blows my mind that Poronui’s many guests travel across the world to get on small rivers like ours. And to make it all the more impressive, they waste no time acclimatizing to jet lag and fatigue after 24 hours of travel to get out there, too.

The helicopter ride is always exciting. While we’re flying high over the central plateau I take the time to look down. I always wonder how on earth we’ll find a clearing, but a clearing appears. On this day, we softly touch down and shut off the machine. The deafening noise of cicadas and chirping distracts us instantly.

Where there are tracks, they’re tight, and we need to watch our footing for tree roots and rocks, ducking and reaching. While I navigate these tracks I imagine what would happen if I broke my rod. I would be in serious trouble, that’s for sure — although it has happened, and sometimes great fish are caught without a rod tip, and a great story can be told that evening at the lodge.

My glorious fishing day starts with a perfect rainbow sifting from the bubbled water line out to the side where the odd interesting morsal comes down the river for her. I slide down the bank onto a ledge four meters below and am told to keep in close to the bank. The stream is narrow, and heaven help me if I spook it. It was a reasonable length needed on a back cast — third cast, boom! That rainbow leaps and dives as I hoop and holler like a squealing child. I feel so stealthy and accurate! Now the scary bit — climbing back up. We quickly get a photo.

The water is so clear and cool. We slowly move through the river, taking our time and enjoying the heat of the sun. My son, who is a much more precise caster, hooked three, but was too quick with his strike. He eventually lands three beautiful fish. His lip drops when he misses, just like mine, but when we move on and see more fishy water we know we have another opportunity. We pull ourselves together, listen to our guide — in my case, my husband — a little better, and work to become more accurate and in tune with all the senses needed.

There is a finesse needed for these trout — if we’re too aggressive while crossing the river and getting into position, or if we’re sloppy with our gear in the water, we’re going to miss out on the thrill of a trout on the line. We’ll miss the fun in playing to get it to the net, and the awesome teamwork with our companions on the river.

While watching my husband and son fish, and as we find our way up stream through the rough, all I can think about is how cool the people who travel here to spend their precious time at Poronui are. I think about how passionate they all must be to fly fish in New Zealand. I am in awe of them. There wasn’t one other thought in my mind — they were all pushed aside as we pursued wild trout! So, if someone says, “Lets go fishing,” — do it!

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