Blarney Lodge is a wonderful small lodge located just 45 minutes outside of Taupo on the shores of Lake Rerewhakaaitu. This new four room lodge is run is run by Helen and Pat O’keefe. Pat is the lead guide and he gives anglers expertise from a lifetime of fly fishing. He was hooked on fly fishing from the age of 5 when the local priest presented him with a steel fly rod, which happened to be the aerial of a Sherman tank, a brass reel minus a handle and a piece of silk fly line. For the 15 years prior to opening the lodge he has been guide and the owner of a fly fishing specialty store. He has also represented New Zealand at the World Fly Fishing Championships for six years. He is a guide that truly delights in sharing his experiences with advanced as well as beginning anglers.
Helen comes from a long line of chefs. Fine food and entertaining are two of her passions. If she tells you that the dish she is about to serve is an experiment, get ready, as you will be in for a real treat.
The two of them make one of the most hospitable Kiwi teams we have come across.
Blarney Lodge Travel:
New Zealand is a long way away but the good news is that jet lag isn’t a big issue. The reason being that it is four hours earlier the next day. Do whatever you can to get some sleep on the plane and continue on with your travels. You will be tired but for the most part your schedule hasn’t changed all that much. Remember, that when you return home, you will typically arrive home on the same day that you left New Zealand – a valid Passport is essential.
When coming into the country be forewarned that New Zealand is very concerned with invasive pests and plants entering the country. When you go through customs, you will be asked whether you have any camping gear, wading gear, fly tying materials, food, etc. Be sure to clean and dry all wading gear, hiking boots, ground cloths, tent floors and the like. Do not attempt to carry in any natural fly tying materials; grain or seed based foods, or meats such as jerky or salami. If the inspectors are not pleased with the condition of your personal items, they will take them and fumigate them while you wait. This generally takes about 15-30 minutes.
Blarney Lodge Seasons:
November – December: This is considered the early season but it is truly one of our favorite times to fish down under. While water can be high and the weather can be a bit unsettled, the fish are typically far less spooky than later in the year. Pressure is low, as the Kiwis have not yet started their holiday and Western angler traffic is still minimal. Nymphing is the predominant technique, catch rates are high
and the wild flowers are at their best.
January – February: This is without question the most popular time to visit New Zealand. The weather is at its best, water levels are typically stable, and the dry fly fishing peaks during these months. Angling pressure also peaks but with the aid of a good guide, you can still enjoy some solitude. These dates are best booked at least a year in advance.
March – April: By mid March expect the crowds to start dwindling and the weather to remains favorable. This is what we refer to as a “shoulder season” or a time when the fishing is still excellent but the crowds are gone. It is also the time when most of the season’s largest fish are taken.
May – September: This is the winter season and while most of the South Island fisheries are closed, the Taupo region of the North Island is at its best. During these months the Tongariro runs of landlocked steelhead peak and catch rates are high.
October: This is the opener for most of the streams and lakes in New Zealand. Like the opener here in the states the water levels and weather conditions are hard to bank on but a knowledgeable guide can still show some incredible fishing.