As the year comes to and end in New Zealand, the season is only just kicking into gear, the days are getting longer and warmer as the sun hangs high in the sky. It is also the last chance to make the most of the popular rivers before both locals and tourists alike flock into the area for their summer holidays.
December marks the transition of spring into summer and provides numerous options for great fishing, river levels have dropped and most of those affected by snow melt have now cleared. I really enjoy fishing in December, everything is open, the weather is more settled and the trout have not yet been hounded by the summer tourists. You can explore almost any region in the country and fill your boots with some great fishing, but as mentioned, I like to target those waters that I know are going to receive the most pressure over the peak of summer and may not fully recover until the following season.
My month started off on a rough note, after arranging a backcountry trip for my birthday we ended up getting smashed by a huge storm which blew out the river and had us hut bound for a few days. We still managed a few fish though and the adventure alone was worth it, check it out in this short video;
Last season, in the weeks leading up to Christmas I got out and about mostly around the lower south, just before I took off to the North Island for the seasonal celebrations and to revisit the waters I grew up on. I was very interested to see how the challenging and difficult fishing conditions in the South Island had improved my skills and if it would increase my success back up north, the short answer is yes, yes it did!
There is a perception that the North Island is a sub par fishery to the South, particularly by tourists and touring anglers. This comes from the notion that due to North Island waters having a higher concentration of fish in comparison to their South Island counterparts, they are on average smaller and therefore will be less satisfying to catch. The reality is that the majority of clients I guide are absolutely beaming after they catch a fish around 3-5lb and even more so if they get multiple in a day, something that is usually a forgone conclusion when I’m fish in the North.
There is no doubt that the South provides a more pristine environment (apart from the Canterbury plains) especially in the lowland streams which in comparison to the North Island are of enviable quality and clarity. However when it comes to back country fisheries the North will be as good and sometimes better than the South any day of the week. They are generally more accessible and have high numbers of fish, with trophy brown trout likely being the only void but one that is easily filled with a trophy rainbow.
I love the South, and moved here for the fishing but there are also sections of the North Island that I wish I still had on my doorstep. All I can say is just keep in mind when your arranging your trip to New Zealand, there is another half to the country, another half that may give you the biggest surprise of your life!
I started my trip back up north exploring my old locals, a couple of small stream and spring creeks around the Waikato before heading down to have a flick at the stream mouths on Lake Rotorua and then over to Taupo for a trip into the deep dark central north island bush to chase swarms of Rainbows. Checkout how good the North can be i the little edit I made:
So if your planning a trip for the next season, get around, explore different areas, especially those where you aren’t going to be falling over someone at every bend as they hunt out the same trophy that was caught a day before. Move about, don’t just camp in one spot, NZ is an amazing place with incredible environmental diversity and the more you move the greater your kiwi experience will become!
If you have any questions or would like to chat about a trip to the North, South or both just get in touch below: