Rotorua is located in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island. The city is known for its geothermal activity — notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa — and hot mud pools. This thermal activity comes from the Rotorua caldera, on which the city lies. Fifty miles to the south, Taupo is also a center of volcanic and geothermal activity, and hot springs suitable for bathing are located at several places in the vicinity. Taupo stands at the outlet of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. A short distance north of the town, the Waikato River flows over spectacular Huka Falls.
The fly-fishing in the famed Tongariro River is at its best in late winter (July- September), when huge rainbow trout run up the river from Lake Taupo to spawn. Alas, the river can be very crowded. In summer (December-March), a short flight by helicopter brings anglers to the wilderness streams high in the hills to the east of the lake. This is trout fishing for the connoisseur: sight-casting with dry flies and nymphs to huge fish in water of scarcely believable clarity.
Despite its famously tranquil and scenic appearance, Lake Taupo was created by the cataclysmic eruption of a super-volcano 27,000 years ago. The event was the largest known eruption during the past 70,000 years and caused several hundred square miles of land to collapse and form a caldera. It is believed that the Lake Taupo eruption may have contributed significantly to the so-called Last Glacial Maximum, a period when ice sheets covered much of the globe, including most of North America and Europe.
In the 1860s, New Zealand began to import brown trout from Europe, and they flourished. So too did rainbow trout, which were later imported from the Russian River in California. Sometimes, it seems that every stretch of water in the country is teeming with trophy-size trout.
The fishing in the famed Tongariro River is at its best in late winter (July to September), when huge rainbow trout run up the river from Lake Taupo to spawn. Alas, the river can be very crowded. Personally, I prefer the summer (December to March), when a short flight by helicopter brings me to the wilderness streams high in the hills to the east of the lake. This is trout fishing for the connoisseur: sight-casting with dry flies and nymphs to huge fish in water of scarcely believable clarity.