crystal clear water in a remote New Zealand lake


Beautiful scenery, pristine waterways and high quality trout are features that we in New Zealand can easily take for granted. However there is no room for complacency if we are to maintain our world class fly fishing.  The good news is that anglers and the general public are becoming increasingly aware that our natural resources are finite and need protection.

Particular pressure is growing on our freshwater systems, where water abstraction, hydro power generation, large irrigation systems and farm intensification are all major risks to water quality and therefore threaten to erode  our outstanding wilderness trout fishing. I support the conservation of New Zealand’s precious waterways and I encourage fellow anglers to take an active interest.

The former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr. Jan Wright clearly identified the risks ahead for New Zealand in her excellent report – ‘Water Quality in New Zealand: Understanding the Science.’ The report adopts a plain English approach, helping clarify what the problem is, how it’s occurring and where. You can see a clip of Dr Wright introducing the report as well as download a copy of the report from the PCE website >

In October 2015 The Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand released a report entitled ‘Environment Aotearoa 2015′ which according to the Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson “provides a candid view showing where things are improving and where our environment is under pressure.” While many indicators are positive the same is not the case for the quality of fresh water in many of our rivers – read more>

In some locations, limiting the numbers of fish we take for the pot can help maintain the quality of our sport, especially fragile back country headwaters and streams where large magnificent fish offer the ultimate challenge to the fly fisherman. Larger issues require a more organised approach, with input from experts that have a good understanding of the legal protections outlined in the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Organisations such as Fish & Game New Zealand (F&GNZ) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) work hard to protect our freshwater habitats. It is essential that all anglers ensure they have a current fishing license before taking to the water – DOC for the Taupo region and F&GNZ for all other areas. After all it’s the revenue collected from these license fees that safeguard the future of our sport.

Let’s look after our environment, invest in good fishery management and enjoy our trout fishing… both now and in the future.

James Barnett

Fly fishing for wild trout in wild places; art, movies, articles, photography