Te Anau – New Zealand’s fly fishing capital
Te Anau, to either the dedicated fishermen with ample time to spare or to the angler who can only spare a few hours, it’s the ideal base for a fishing holiday. Te Anau is the hub of the Fiordland World Heritage Park, with a population of 1,911 in the 2013 census, situated at the southern end of the largest lake in the South Island, Lake Te Anau.
Although the actually built on the only flat area, the town is bordered by the lake to the north and west, with bush-clad mountains rising from the opposite shores. To the south and east rolling farm country rises to the 6000 ft Takatimu Mountains, which block the southerly winds and form what is known as the Te Anau Basin. A few miles across the lake are the Murchison Mountains, the home of the once-thought extinct Takahe, a large colorful native bird rediscovered in the early 1950s.
Within a 25 mile radius, we have both rainbow and brown trout fishing in the internationally known rivers such as the Waiau, Mararoa, Whitestone, Upukeroa, Iris Burn, and many smaller streams and rivers that flow into the arms of Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. A 50-mile radius takes in such rivers as the Wolseley, a real wilderness river; the Clinton, alongside the famous Milford Track and renowned for its fine dry fly fishing; the Eglinton, an easily accessible river with miles of fly-fishing-only clearwater, a dream river on many days.
Further to the north is the Greenstone, a river for the energetic walker or a comfortable helicopter ride, a fishing experience never to be forgotten, and the Von with easier access but a similar stream with energetic rainbows.
Within a 50 mile radius further to the east, we have the world-renowned Mataura River, and the Oreti, possibly the best produces of big brown trout. Fish weighing 6 to 8 lbs are not uncommon, and every season the old 10 pounder has its photo taken before being carefully released.
Summing up, we have over 20 internationally known rivers, most having both browns and rainbows. In addition, there are many small streams which can provide some interesting fishing. The fishermen who have experienced the satisfaction of spotting and stalking big browns in the clear waters of the easily walked shorelines around the Mavora Lakes is always keen to return, and similar fishing is often experienced at the river mouths of the many streams flowing into the lakes.
Te Anau, also known as the Walking Capital of the World, with its many tracks internationally known, and attracting thousands of track walkers annually, could also be known as the fly-fishing capital. Although we border the biggest rainfall area of New Zealand, it is this rain which provides the quality of probably the greatest variety of rivers and streams anywhere in New Zealand.
Our season opens here on October 1, but what is regarded as Te Anau high country streams don’t open until November 1 and due to the late spawning the Von opens December 1. Popular flies for the area include most popular American patterns, such as the Wulffs and Humpys, but traditional English flies will often work when the fish are being choosy. Fishing licenses available here are suitable for fishing in most areas except the North Island special license area around Taupo.
With a range of excellent accommodation available, an exclusive fishing lodge is not really necessary in this area. The Fiordland area is well served by fishing guides who are members of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association, all specializing in fly-fishing.
The area is fully serviced by two airlines, and buses, rental cars, and a taxi service are available. Te Anau has a well-stocked tackle shop. We have a good range of international standard hotels and motels, several camping grounds, very good restaurants, and shops stocking New Zealand wool and leather garments and local handmade garments and crafts.
We also have one of the most picturesque golf courses in the country. The attractions of trips to Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, and the Te Anau Caves, as well as many other activities and trips, are available to highlight the vacations of any non-fishing companions.