Helicopter Fly Fishing New Zealand's North Island
(October - April) Fishing the fantastic waters emanating from the bush clad mountainous ranges of New Zealand's Central North Island often requires the use of a helicopter. By this I mean that certain areas are near impossible to get into without a helicopter - that is unless you are feeling up to a couple of hard days tramping in and a couple more tramping out carrying all your food and equipment on your back!
These regions are shut off over the winter i.e. no fishing and are only open over the peak summer months (although there are still some heli-fishing options through the winter also).
Though it is possible for beginners to catch trout in the often gin clear water, the efforts of the most experienced angler often fails to bring these wily trout to the net. There will normally be numerous opportunities and every day out there is just fantastic! For beginners I do generally recommend some fly fishing experience first - even if just a couple of days back-country fishing prior to your trip.
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Most of the trips I do at Anglers Anonymous are into the Te Urewera National park or into the Kaimanawa ranges and prices for the helicopter return trip range from $1300 to $2000 and the trip is normally about 15 - 20 minutes flying each way. To a lot of people this seems expensive but to those in the know it isn't! The scenery and class of trout fly fishing in these areas is only paralleled in New Zealand's South Island though our fish numbers are rumored as greater.
The cost of the flight can be offset by camping out in tents or staying in huts for free (or just a few dollars per night in some Department Of Conservation huts). By doing this you can fish for several days - say 3 days or more and pay for only one flight and have no accommodation costs back in Taupo or Turangi. This is a superb way to experience New Zealand. There are several trips that we offer which allow for 3 days or more of fishing without having to walk miles to find fresh water. To achieve this the helicopter drops the gear at the junction of a major tributary and then drops us downstream to fish our way up to the junction during the course of the day. On the second day we then fish the main river above the junction and on the 3rd day fish the tributary. On any subsequent days either the same water can be fished or you walk past the water you have already fished to new water or the helicopter comes back to drop us at a new location on the same or even a different river.
Heli-fishing in the Central North Island of New Zealand does not always guarantee that you have the water to yourself but it is unusual to come across other fisherman out there. It pays to book well in advance as some helicopter companies and land owners have rules about not allowing fishermen in within 6 days of the last group, and the good spots are often booked well in advance.
Our guiding rates on heli-fishing adventures are $680/day for up to 2 persons (3rd person is an extra $100/day). For multi day overnight campouts on heli trips see Camping & Touring - the same prices apply The helicopter is and extra on top as is fishing licenses (see our prices and packages page for license prices).
Though adverse weather is rare, if there has been consistent heavy rain or if heavy rain is predicted then plan B involves leaving the helicopter trip for another time and fishing water closer to home less effected and sometimes even positively effected by adverse weather.
Wilderness heli-fishing trip with my English friends above during Cicada season