Tag Archives: Taupo

COVID distraction.

At the time of writing New Zealand is progressively removing restrictions as the threat of community transmission of COVID-19 recedes. This is great news and a testament to the choices made by people in this country.

During lockdown, access to work was severely limited so I, like many others, found myself confined at home. A perfect opportunity to experiment with art and illustration.

For some time I’d wanted to try an abstract painting style called acrylic pouring. The plan was to create paintings that captured a sense of the cold, clear, clean water that forms the perfect foundation for trout habitat in the Taupo region.

Acrylic pour painting test 01
Pure Taupo water 01

The acrylic pouring experiments went well. While artists can be at the mercy of the flowing paint, I found a degree of control can be imposed through colour choice, medium selection, and – perhaps most of all – how the paint is applied and manipulated. I can see future opportunities not just for this painting style but also for how it could be combined with other painting techniques.

Acrylic pour painting test 02
Pure Taupo Water 02

I also produced a series of simple stylised illustrations for the children’s education programme Taupo for Tomorrow. They wanted native aquatic invertebrates and plants so I adopted an almost  identical style to the illustrations I created for the revised signage at Lake Otamangakau. Illustrations start life as pencil and ink drawings on paper. Then they are scanned into a computer, where they are tinted in Adobe Photoshop.

Caddis Illustration 01
Caddis Illustration 01

Taupo Regs Change

The 2017/18 season starts today, along with the introduction of new regulations governing trout fishing in the Taupo region.

The Taupo fishery is unique in New Zealand, being the only place where fishing is managed and administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC)- this important role is carried out by Fish & Game NZ in other areas of the country.

The changes introduced this year appear to be aimed at improving the quality of fishing in the future, as well as simplifying and clarifying areas where confusion has previously existed.

It's worth noting that buying a license not only allows you to fish legally but also helps maintain the quality of the fishing we love.
It’s worth noting that buying a license not only allows you to fish legally but also helps maintain the quality of the fishing we love and the environment that supports it.

All anglers will need to be aware of the new regulation changes, especially around harvesting trout. The takable limit has been increased to six fish per angler and the size has been reduced to 350mm. Personally, I don’t tend to take many fish for the smoker, so the harvest changes won’t make a huge difference. However the changes are clearly designed to increase the numbers of trout removed from the system, which in turn will reduce the pressure on their primary food source, smelt. With more smelt to go round we could see bigger and healthier trout in the future… as long as people actually take more fish!

The regulations now offer guidance that includes the maximum leader length, as well as the use of weight. Guidance from DOC is as follows “To help anglers to understand acceptable practice, we’ve amended the definition of fly-fishing. The definition now includes maximum leader length (6 metres), minimum fly line length (3 metres) and the purpose of any introduced weight is to facilitate the sinking of the leader. Items such as swivels and sinkers added to assist casting will no longer be permissible.” They go on to add that the use of split-shot is permissible for assisting the leader to sink. Again nothing here that will change my approach but good to have clarification around the use of split shot.

Other changes relate to boat and spin fishing around river mouths, so will not impact on my winter fishing but may tempt me to make greater use of my pontoon boat in the warmer months.

International anglers will also notice an alignment in the weekly and annual license fees, to tie in with the costs of Fish & Game licenses. According to DOC the additional revenue will be used to “help gain a better understanding of the demands for the Taupo Fishery District.” Given the high cost of accessing quality trout fishing elsewhere in the world I suggest this still represents extraordinary value for money!

For a full account of the changes visit the DOC website>




It’s a Tank of a Rainbow!

The rivers and streams entering Lake Taupo can be magnets for trout seeking to escape from the warmer temperatures that occur in the surface layer of the lake during summer and early autumn.

During a recent visit I was delighted to land a ‘tank of a rainbow’ – a good sized hen in magnificent condition.  Also great to have my wife on hand cheering from the shore whilst filming… helps explain the jerky footage!

The fish gave me quite a run-a-round, even on 8 weight gear that had recently been used to tame a good Kahawai off the coast of the Coromandel. While the Kahawai may have bent the rod into a shape most trout can only dream about, the sea fish couldn’t compete with the aerobatic performance of this stunning rainbow, which leapt clear of the water on several occasions aggressively shaking its head each time. Rainbows, you gotta luv em!

After a few photos to capture the moment the trout was returned to continue her preparations for spawning, which could take place in a month or so. The icing on the cake was the nice footage I managed to capture on my old Olympus Tough TG-01 as the fish swam back to the sanctuary of deeper water.


Taupo Licence Online

July marks the beginning of the new Taupo fishing season so I’ve just purchased a licence using the Department of Conservation’s online service. It’s was simple enough to do, but to be honest I rather miss the ritual of stopping off at a local fishing store. It always formed part of the build up to the serious winter fishing and presented an opportunity for a good yarn.

The online service is certainly efficient, but the problem is it’s the only game in town – there are no alternatives. The Department of Conservation no longer supports local licence agents such as tackle stores and this can result in some frustration for both anglers and store owners alike – at least until new habits develop.

Hydro Pool on the Tongariro River
Hydro Pool on the Tongariro River


One big positive is the price. The cost for a licence this season remains unchanged at $90 per year.  DOC has also created other pricing options to cater for those with specific requirements, such as fishing for shorter periods. So when you think of the quality and diversity of fishing on offer in the Taupo region, the licence cost is very reasonable.

Technology has provided us with the facility to get a licence from any computer or smart device at any time of day or night, using just a credit card. Quite useful actually. I’ll simply have to get used to a new digitally enhanced ritual – topping up my trout flies will still give me the perfect excuse to pop into a local tackle store to chat about fishing prospects. Not so bad really.

Get your Taupo region fishing licence from the DOC website: