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  • Pat & Helen O'Keefe, Blarney Lodge
    New Zealand
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  • Highlights of the Trip:
    This was a trip to explore some of the "unlisted" lodges on both the north and south island of New Zealand. The Air New Zealand flight, Los Angeles to Auckland was noneventful and we even got a little sleep. Upon arrival it is absolutely necessary to go through the "red line" and declare your waders and boots to New Zealand Immigration. Failure to do so may result in an instant fine. New Zealand Immigration will disinfect boots and return them in a plastic bag, no charge, and the process that's only a few minutes. Tied flies are not a problem; I would discourage anyone bringing fly tying materials into New Zealand, especially necks and capes. Blarney Lodge is about 30 minutes outside Rotorua, and situated on Lake Rerwhakaaitu in a rural setting. The lodge is relatively new and is very confortable and bright. Five guest rooms are available, all with full bathrooms. Pat and Helen O'Keefe owned a fly shop in Rotorua for more than 15 years, and sold that to change direction and built this very nice fishing lodge. Pat has been a member of the New Zealand Fly Fishing team six times and is an expert angler and very good as guide and instructor. Helen is a self taught chef, enjoys ever minute of it, and her dinner meals use local and fresh ingredients that are superb.
    Cruising rainbows can be had on the shore of lake Rerewhakaaitu right in front of the lodge. Rainbows and the occasional big brown are also available in the nearby Rangitiker and Whiranaki. The rivers are not extremely large in this area, and can be waded with limited difficulty; however a wading stick is suggested. Even though the water was a little high at this early season visit, we managed to hook and land a good share of large rainbows. These guys hit the fly hard and then go airborne in an attempt to shake the hook. We started at the Rangitikei, and then went to the Whirinaki via private access road. In the late afternoon, before returning to the lodge, we again fished the Rangitikei near the edge of the local golf course and got into almost a dozen more rainbows, not as large as those on the Whiranaki, but who cares?
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