Girls on the fly—fishing for trout on the Hinemaiaia River

Department of Conservation —  16/07/2015

By Partnerships Ranger Amelia Willis

“It’s a man’s world” – well that’s what most people think about the sport of fly fishing – but is it really true? My friend Evelien and I went out at the weekend in the Taupō Fishing District, to find out.

Amelia and Evelien in front of a river and ready to go fishing.

Me and Evie ready to go

I’d like to say we were up and going at the crack of dawn, but in reality it was a pretty cruisy start to the day. After a quick coffee stop – we’d managed to save some time by buying our Taupō Fishing Licences online – we headed south to the Hinemaiaia River, and had made it to the river bank by noon.

Amelia walking along the river bank to find the perfect fishing spot.

On the hunt for a quiet pool

Evie has fished on and off since childhood, thanks to her Dad – but I’m still new to fly fishing, although I’ve fished on the lake for many years.

So neither of us profess to be experts, in fact we both have a lot to learn (well when it comes to fishing that is!). It was also our first outing together. Needless to say, arriving in the car park with a bunch of male anglers around was a little intimidating!

Evelien casting her line on the river.

Evie warming into her casting

We definitely had preconceived ideas about the angling community, which didn’t help this trepidation: male, closed off, competitive, condescending, and absolutely ready to judge two young women out for a fish.

In this way, we set out – with apprehension, searching for pools that were vacant and where we wouldn’t get into anybody’s space.

After a little time exploring different pools, chatting and relaxing into our casting we, like the frosty winter day, began to thaw out.

A kererū in the tree.

Kererū—the Hinemaiaia is a fantastic spot with beautiful bush and lots of wildlife

Late afternoon, not having had much luck we headed to a new pool – bumping into two guys, Gareth and Billy, looking like they were having a successful time of it. As the pool was full we were about to go, but then the boys beckoned us over: “How’s your day going?” “What’s your set up?” “What are you fishing with?” A little advice, some positive reinforcement, a gifted nymph – and two minutes later Evie had a six pound rainbow on her line!

Evelien hooking a fish and getting some advice from Billy.

Hooked! Evie getting some advice from Billy as she plays the fish

Gareth and Billy were great – and once we had changed our attitude, we realised most people on the river that day were happy to help.

Those passionate about the sport of fly fishing are pretty stoked to see newcomers getting into it, knowing the sport they love will carry on and hopefully grow.

Evelien reeling in the trout.

The fish put up a good fight – lots of “screaming reel”

The moral of the story: just get out there and give it a go!

If you’re not ready to go out alone, just head out for a walk along the river banks and have a chat to some of the anglers. This can be really inspiring, and can help you plan your first solo trip.

Evelien with her six pound rainbow trout.


And when you’re out there in the river don’t be shy, ask for advice – most anglers are really friendly, and more than willing to share in your success (provided they’ve already had a bit of success themselves!)

Gareth, Evelien and Billy with the catch.

Gareth, Evie and Billy – proof it doesn’t hurt to ask for tips!

7 responses to Girls on the fly—fishing for trout on the Hinemaiaia River

    Peter Tootell 23/07/2015 at 2:01 pm

    Great stuff, but don’t tell too many about the kererū.

    Kurt Sharpe 16/07/2015 at 6:09 pm

    This really makes me want to go out and give it a go. Check out that fish! Sounds like a great day Amelia.


    Women in the outdoors giving it a go. Love it! 🙂


    That is an outstanding fish – one of the best I have ever seen landed in the Hine. That river owes me a few (at last count, I have lost four and only landed one…)


    Awesome story, especially love the photo of the kererū.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Jane Hughes 16/07/2015 at 9:55 am

    Great story. I love the way this story is as much about people sharing and opening out to others as it is about fishing. Lovely honesty 🙂


    Good on you ladies. And that is the way it should be – like for like people enjoying the same thing so why not say hello and offer some advice. Good to see.