Turangi Fishing Report 03February 2023

A keen fisher in the rain.

Brian Willson NZPFGA member, professional guide and I Love Fly Fishing shop partner, brings us his weekly fly fishing report from Turangi for the Central North Island lakes and rivers.  For up to date info, for what flies are working and if you want to call to the shop – 8 Wiremu Street – call Brian on 021667867.  Brian fishes Euro/Czech, Dry Fly, Trout Spey, Nymph and Wet Fly.

Greetings fellow fly fishers,

Well one word can describe the fishing this week. WET!!

One has to feel for those people in Auckland. What is happening up there is unprecedented and it is not over yet. This week saw the Tongariro River peak at 512 cumecs. It dropped down to a very fishable 40 cumecs today but is on the rise again as I type this. I investigated the lower Tongariro River this morning and a lot of the river has changed somewhat from last week. If you are planning to fish in this area be careful where you walk as it is very soft underfoot in many places and you don’t want to be sinking up to your neck. I did catch a nice young rainbow down here on the edge of the main flow. I met another couple of anglers down there who had had no joy although I did see one of them hook and loose a solid fish which leapt high out of the water and spat the hook.

Floods are not a Trout’s best friend. Dead brown trout.
The Tongariro River today with a new beach. Be careful here. It is like quicksand.

Generally, the river was very fishable but the fishing was tough and I think it may take a few days for things to return to normal. There is no doubt we could do with a break from this relentless rain that we have experienced over the last week and indeed the last few months. I  was swinging woolly buggers this morning and the other 2 anglers I saw were also swinging. A customer came into the I Love Fly Fishing shop a few days ago and showed me a video of 2 very large trout finning around right next to the bank at the Hydro Pool. The level of the river at the time was 150 cumecs. He told me that he swung a woolly bugger around into one of them, but the other trout intercepted it first. Alas, he didn’t have it on for long but he said it was very big. From what I could make out in the video, he wasn’t wrong.

The Hinemaiaia River in flood.
The Tauranga Taupo River will be out of action for a while.

I checked out some of the small stream mouths in the last couple of days and while I didn’t fish them, they looked perfect with the coloured water entering the lake with the clear water on either side. You want to target the edges here and the trick is not to go out to far. The photo shows an overseas angler fishing the Waipehi Stream on the edge. Between me (the photographer) and him I could see a very large trout perhaps 6 metres out from the shore, in fact the angler almost tripped on it as he came out of the water to have a chat to me. I like to fish these small stream mouths at night, especially dark nights but I never stand out too far. The fish will come right up to you if you let them. A large brown trout was caught here in the early morning of when I took this photo and a brown of around 4kg was caught here a couple of nights ago.


So, this week it has been mainly swinging big streamers when conditions permit. Just remember that the nature of the river has changed somewhat and while an annoying snag may have been dislodged from a promising area it will have found another home for itself somewhere else. You will locate these areas soon enough when you hook-up and loose a few flies. Plenty of cicadas around at the moment but the trout still aren’t gauging on them yet. Soon, I hope.

As always all you fly fishing needs call and see me at the I Love Fly Fishing Shop in Turangi, 8 Wiremu St, phone 021667867. If there is anything you need, give me a ring and I will open up anytime (within reason of course 😀), just call me and I’ll sort you out. 021667867.

Brian Willson - NZPFGA Member


My name is Brian Willson and I have been a fly fisher for over 50 years. I am a professional fishing guide and current NZPFGA member of which I have served at executive level and have guided anglers of different skill sets, ages and gender from all over the world. I have also written two books on fly fishing and am a keen artist. I am passionate about fly fishing and the therapeutic qualities it offers and enjoy sharing this experience with people on and off the water. Over the years I have made some amazing friendships that continue to this day. I have partnered up with one of these friendships, Barrie Barnes from I Love Fly Fishing, and I sell exclusively, quality, affordable fly fishing gear at my premises at 8 Wiremu Street, Turangi, the designated I Love Fly Fishing shop in Turangi which is open all hours— just ring 021667867 anytime. I take a serious interest in my clients and freely offer advice when asked and am happy to talk fishing anytime. Tight lines, Brian Willson

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