Speaker: Dave Smith
Last Update: 06/13/2023
"DIY Fly Fishing New Zealand’s North Island"
You often hear the phrase “There’s more water than anyone can fish in a lifetime” and nowhere is this more applicable than New Zealand, with just under 1,400 public access points published by NZ Fish and Game to rivers, lakes, and reservoirs within New Zealand. Over 560 of them are listed for the North Island with 17 major river drainages and literally countless tributaries. There are many more rivers and lakes that can be accessed by the public that aren’t published by NZ Fish and Game, making it truly an impossible task to fish everybody of water in the New Zealand.
The North Island offers exceptional fishing, with a massive diversity of type of rivers and lakes, from the braided flood plains of Hawkes Bay to the world class spring creeks of Mighty Waikato to the lake run rainbows of Taupo and the massive Rotorua brown trout. The north Island is very accessible for all levels of fly anglers and doesn’t mandate long hikes and 70-foot casts to spooky fish. With most of the fly anglers heading directly to the South Island, you’ll often find yourself on a river by yourself and when you do run into another angler or tramper, they will likely suggest another river to try your luck at.
There’s a body of water and large strong fighting fish for every angler skill level and while New Zealand has a reputation for being an expensive trip, it can be done on a budget. Dave will walk you through the fishing areas of the North Island, the recommended tackle, and flies. In addition to just how and where to fish Dave will advise on how to get around, where to stay on a budget and a brief introduction to Māori (New Zealand’s first nations) language to help understand how to pronounce the rivers and towns and the incredibly rich history of Aotearoa (Māori for New Zealand).
With so many options for the angler, it can be mind boggling even to know where to start. It’s no wonder so many venturing fly anglers turn to hosted trips to take the confusion out of where to fish, how to fish, fly patterns and gear selection. With a few tips and tricks, a DIY New Zealand trip is as easy as booking a hosted trip and a whole heck of a lot more fun. As a world fly fishing traveler and Do It Yourself (DIY) expert, Dave will help guide you through the process of research, booking, and executing a trip of a lifetime.
Dave has been a fishing fanatic his whole life, starting with spin and bait fishing on family camping trips in the Sierras. Whenever there was a chance to fish, Dave took full advantage of it. After college Dave had an opportunity to move to New Zealand for work and found his deep passion and love for fly fishing. Since then, Dave has become multi-species fly angler and fly tier who chases everything from alpine trout to Belizean bonefish, carp and mako sharks. He’s been a competition trout angler since 2012, with appearances nationally at two Team USA National Championships, America’s Cup international competition, and many regional events throughout the western United States. In addition, Dave was on the Professional Fly Angling tour in 2014 and has competed.
internationally in New Zealand including the Oceania Fly Fishing Championships in 2012. Dave has been providing fly fishing presentations and on the water tutorials since 2014 and loves sharing his fly fishing and fly-tying passions. Dave is an ambassador for Partridge of Redditch, and Renomed USA fly tying scissors. Over the years Dave has been able to successfully plan and execute DIY trips around the world with his fly-fishing wife, Lesley.