Barry Jaggar knows New Zealand trout fishing. Consider his background: he was a former manager of one of the North Island’ most prestigious lodges; he was the Hunting and Fishing Officer for New Zealand Tourism; above all, trout fishing is in his blood. So when he selected Springs Junction on the South Island for his Western Rivers Lodge after considerable thought and research, you know it was a wise decision.
The brown trout reigns supreme on the South Island, with rainbow a now-and-then catch. With over 20 streams within a hour’s car ride of the lodge, guests have a wide assortment of locations where they can pursue the wily brown. Four to five pounders are fairly typical here, but considered a real trophy on many North American streams. six to eight pounders are possible, and angle have opportunities to hook (though not always land) even large trout. Like brown trout world wide, they are wary and selective but careful stalking and a short, soft and accurate cast can often result in positive results.
The vast majority of New Zealand trout fishing takes place on foot, where anglers and guide walk the banks of a particular stream, searching methodically for each individual fish. Additionally, Western Rivers Lodge also offers a number of day long and overnight raft trips on some of the larger and more remote rivers in his territory. Raft trips can take anglers to more remote locations beyond a trail’s end and allow one to cover more territory in a single day’s outing than by walking.
Western Rivers Lodge sits a long cast from the banks of the Maruia river. Finished in 1995 the chalet style lodge offers a comfortable, and intimate haven for visiting anglers. The main building has an appealing dining room and lounge, with a flickering fireplace and well stocked bar at hand. Delicious meals are a specialty and feature New Zealand favorites like fresh venison, and lamb, complimented with a glass of wine. Ali, Barry’s wife, supervises the meals and lodgings.
Sleeping quarters are in adjacent double occupancy cabins, each with full bathroom facilities and showers, plus heat and electricity.
The lodge is centrally located just a few hours from Christchurch, and Nelson, both of which offer excellent air service from Auckland. Land transfers can be arranged to the lodge or guests can arrive by rental car on their own.
Trips may last as many days as desired, though as is the case
with all New Zealand fishing, longer stays are encouraged to allow anglers to both relax and get accustomed to the somewhat different fishing approaches they’ll encounter here.