monster rainbow trout caught in the canals in twizel new zealand

Tekapo Twizel monster trout

Argentina, Canada and Alaska have long been famous for monster trout, but in recent years they’ve been surpassed by a stunning region of New Zealand known as the Mackenzie Basin. Carved out by glaciers and recognised as the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world, this region holds a number of canals populated by rainbow and brown trout growing to epic proportions.

Salmon farms along the hydro canals have attracted trout wanting an easy feed, and tagged trout have been known to put on an incredible 15 pounds in just 18 months! Trout and salmon in the 15 to 30 pound range are now fairly common. Every year trout over 40 pounds are hooked and very rarely landed – there really is nothing like the thrill of hooking into something more powerful than you can imagine and even if you lose it after 10 or 15 minutes you know that long after your hands stop shaking you will look back on the experience and smile in wonder.

These monster trout have also moved into local rivers such as the Ohau and Tekapo which offer opportunities for some great fly fishing. Winter spawning runs can be truly epic, while summer offers dry fly and nymphing from streams to larger rivers. Some of our favourite local spots have streams the width of a road that you would never believe could hold double figure trout.

If you want to target the biggest possible trout then the most common method is egg rolling which involves casting egg patterns on braided line on spinning rods, and walking them down the canal as they bob along the bottom a little like Czech nymphing. The best times for this are when the turbines are running and the canals have more flow in them. If everyone up in Auckland is running their heat-pumps then they can make the fishing better for everyone down south.

As with all our favourite fishing locations, there is nothing like local knowledge. Knowing the techniques, fish behaviour and what flies are working can make all the difference. To make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity, get in touch and book our expert guide.

See also

We can customise any fishing itinerary for an amazing Taupo, backcountry, saltwater and lower South Island fly fishing adventure according to your personal preferences and experience. The New Zealand Fly Fishing Company provide all the gear, food and drink, and collect and return you to your accommodation.

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