The 19th Commonwealth Fly Fishing Champs will see anglers from around the world pitting their skills against not only their competitors, but also some of the wiliest and powerful trout on the planet, and also against the power of these wild rivers where they live. All the venues are populated by wild brown and rainbow trout which have forged reputations as bucket list destinations for fly anglers from across the planet. The Tongariro River is an iconic world famous river made famous by internationally acclaimed anglers such as Zane Grey and Lefty Kreh and continue to attract visiting anglers from around the world. The Whanganui River near Taumaranui will be the other river venue, which played host to the 2008 World Fly Fishing Championships and is still touted as the finest nymphing river on the planet by competitors that enjoyed that championships, and still return to sample this gem on their holidays ever since. The two lakes will be Lake Rotoaira (which was also a vanue during the 2008 World Championships), and Kuratau which both hold a large population of stunning fish.
Go on a journey through the backcountry gems of the North island
A day of the might Tongariro River one of the sectors that competitors will enjoy!
Final sector selections have been made. They are the following:
All sector venues CLOSE to fishing for all competitors, management and agents on the 17th February 2020.
Whanganui River Sectors A/B:
Type: River Fishing
The large 220km Whanganui River runs from rugged bush country west of Lake Otamangakau towards Taumarunui, through the Whanganui National Park before reaching the mouth at Wanganui on the West Coast.
The competition section of river will be held around the town of Taumaranui which also hosted the 2008 World Fly Fishing Championships and the New Zealand Championships for the last two years.
This section of river is made up of pockets, runs, glides and rapids, which cascade over freestone and papa rock shelf structure. The river holds both brown and rainbow trout averaging around 1.5 kg though with some fish considerably larger. In the rugged and remote headwaters there are good numbers of fish averaging around 2 kg.
The Whanganui River sits in the Fish and Game Auckland/ Waikato Region where a National Fish and Game Licence is required to fish which can be obtained HERE.
Download the Whanganui River Brochure
Lake Kuratau: Sector C
Type: Fishing from Drifting boats
Lake Kuratau is the smallest of Taupō’s fishable lakes, and contains a high population of smaller rainbows and browns.
Located off State Hwy 32 on the western side of lake Taupo, lake Kuratau is accessed on the Kuratau Hydro road the lake is only a few kms from the main road. The lake is the smallest of the Taupo regions trout fishing lakes and can be fished with a Taupo fishing license. BUY YOUR LICENCE HERE
Created in 1962 when the Kuratau River was dammed flooding this farmland valley, the remains of the valleys forest are still visible today in the form of a sunken forest with sticks out of the water a little in places. The lake offers up shallow margin fishing through to the deep old river bed.
The lake has held the NZ National Fly Fishing championships many times and is rated as a consistent venue. It is also a national treasure for another reason: being completely free of freshwater weeds. Please keep it that way by making sure to clean your gear before you fish here.
Lake Rotoaira: Sector D
Type: Fishing from Drifting boats
Lake Rotoaira (sometimes written Lake Roto-aira) is a small lake to the south of Lake Taupo on the North Island Volcanic Plateau. It covers an area of 13 km².
Lake Rotoaira is one of the few privately owned lakes in New Zealand being administered by the Lake Rotoaira Trust on behalf of its owners. An access permit must be held by those using the lake for fishing and similar activities.
In addition to a current Taupo licence, a separate entry permit is required to fish Lake Rotoaira. The permits, issued by the Lake Rotaira Trust Board, can be bought from:
- most sports and tackle stores and some service stations in Turangi and the southern part of the region
- the Turangi i-SiTE Visitor Information Centre
- the Tokaanu Hotel
- the office at the Lake Rotoaira Camping Ground on the southern side of the lake on SH46
The lake is located in a graben between the broad volcanic dome of Mount Tongariro to the south and the smaller volcanic peak of Pihanga to the northwest. It is naturally drained by the Poutu Stream into the Tongariro River.
Although a natural lake, Rotoaira has been extensively modified for hydro electric generation purposes and water is diverted to it to be used at times of peak generation. It lies about 20 minutes drive south of Turangi.
Because water is diverted into Rotoaira during times of low electricity demand and then diverted to the Tongariro Power Station during times of peak demand, the lake levels fluctuate and there can be different currents at different times at inlets and outlets to the lake. Rotoaira is a shallow lake. The large amount of weed around the margins produce good food for the large population of rainbow trout.
This lake was used as a venue for the 28th World Fly Fishing Championships in 2008.
There is now practise water available on Lake Rotoaira. The South East end of the lake (Poutu end) is now available for practise up until the competition start. The North West end of the lake (Wairehu end) is closed to all competitors and their agents from 17th of February 2020 until the start of the official competition.
The line for this is from the point directly left (looking out into the lake) of the launching ramp at the camping ground straight across to the far bank. Please see attached map. It will be the responsibility of the visiting teams to arrange their own practise boats and guides.
Tongariro River: Sector E
Type: Fishing from drawn river beats
The Tongariro River is situated in the North Island of New Zealand. The part of the Waikato River from the Waihohonu Stream, down to Lake Taupo, was formerly named the Tongariro River in 1945. The river originates in the Central Plateau of the North Island where it is fed by numerous tributaries (such as the Whitikau, Poutu, and Mangamawhitiwhiti streams) that flow off the surrounding hill ranges and mountains such as Mount Ruapehu. It then winds its way north, through the township of Turangi before entering Lake Taupo via a number of river mouths. The minimum volume of water flowing down the lower Tongariro River ranges from approximately 16 cubic metres per second (570 cu ft/s) (recorded at the upper rivers Poutu Intake) to 21 cubic metres per second (740 cu ft/s) (recorded at the lower rivers Major Jones Pool). This volume can substantially increase due to catchment of rainfall by the surrounding mountains and hill ranges.
The Tongariro River is New Zealand’s most fished river, and is a drawcard for anglers the world over, who come to the Tongariro to fish for spawning rainbow trout and brown trout, which run up the river from the lake to spawn over the colder winter months. Approximately 75% of the trout in the Tongariro are rainbow trout, and 25% are brown trout.
The Tongariro is classed as one of the best trout fishing rivers in the world, and part of its charm lies in its accessibility. New Zealand’s State Highway 1 follows the river for a number of kilometres providing anglers with easy access to the numerous pools and rapids. As many waterways in New Zealand are owned by the Crown, no one person has ownership of any stretch of water. To fish teh Tongariro and any catchment of the Taupo region you will need a Taupo DOC (department of conservation)Licence, the cost of a Taupo Fishing Licence (NZ$129.00 for a 2019–20 seasonal licence or NZ$65.00 for a week, for non-resident) LICENCE LINK HERE anyone can fish the river. It is therefore not unusual to see locals fishing alongside overseas anglers or celebrities (who are usually out with a guide).
Unusually for a New Zealand river, the pools on the Tongariro River have officially accepted names. Pools on the Tongariro River are usually named after historical people who have fished the river (Major Jones Pool, Duchess Pool), or their geographic location (Birch Pool, Fence Pool, Redhut Pool). Floods have significantly altered the size and shape of many of these pools (such as in 2004 when the Breakaway Pool was completely lost due a change in the rivers direction), while others such as the Major Jones Pool have remained relatively unchanged in the last 50 years.