Our man in New Zealand, Gerhard Uys, catches up with New Zealand fly guide and video content creator Alex Waller to discuss New Zealand’s North Island, big trout, king fish (yellowtail) on the flats and more.

Photos: Gerhard Uys & Alex Waller

5 best things about where you guide?

  1. In Taupo, on New Zealand’s North Island, you have tons of water to choose from, all within an hour’s drive. You can hit the Tongariro River where huge runs hold rainbows in good condition, or you can fish the lake edges or weed beds in various lakes for browns and rainbows. The best part is that you can fish most of it all year round.
  2. It is centrally located. You can go in anywhere and you will find good water. You are a three-hour drive away from king fish (what Kiwis call yellowtail) in the ocean, and there are great rivers in any direction less than two hours away if you’re not keen for a long drive. It gives one a lot of scope.
  3. Taupo has a lot going on…lakes, mountains and hills. You can make your experience as touristy or as backcountry as you like. And if you bring your other half who doesn’t fish there’s tons for them to do also, like skiing, hiking, hot pools, spas and more.
  4. Taupo Rod and Tackle is a sick shop. I owe them money and they sell me gear.
  5. Flies given to me my local fly tier Dustin Habener!

5 things you’re loving right now?

  1. Drinking whiskey while I edit videos. I am drinking way too much whiskey at the moment.
  1. I am bingeing Superstore on Netflix.
  2. Pringles. I have also been smashing them while I edit videos.
  3. Fishing. It is my job but I am really loving it at the moment.
  4. I just got a new camera backpack, just for traveling. ,the Tenba Axis 24L. I was a couple of whiskeys deep when I saw it on the web and I was like, ‘Ooo that looks special forces’, and I just bought it. It was way too expensive.
New Zealand fly fishing guide Alex Waller in Taupo
New Zealand fly fishing guide Alex Waller in Taupo

5 fishing connected items you don’t leave home without?

  1. Jet Planes! Best chewy gummy sweets around. The Countdown supermarket ones are addictive and delicious.
  2. Personal Locator Beacon. If the shit goes down when you are off grid a simple press of a button means a rescue helicopter will pick you up. As registered guides, we are also obligated to have one.
  3. Orvis Helios 3.
  4. I won’t leave home without camera gear. EM5 Mark 3 from Olympus. Two Go Pro 7’s and a Mavic drone. I usually carry the drone but then don’t use it.
  5. Rain jacket. It’s New Zealand! In some seasons it never stops raining. And thermals, it can get cold!

5 indispensable flies for freshwater?

  1. Heavy stone fly. It gets eaten and it gets your flies down deep, which is important for New Zealand style fly fishing.
  2. Pheasant tail. It’s just small and brown and you can’t go wrong. Everything eats it all around the world.
  3. Hair and copper. Same reason as pheasant tail.
  4. Peacock pointer in soft hackle. If fish refuse the previous ones the Peacock pointer will get it done.
  5. Parachute Adams. Not much will say no to a Parachute Adams.


Read the rest of Alex’s High 5s in issue 29 of The Mission below. As always, it’s free.



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