Turangi Fishing Report 03March 2023

An American Angler balancing a large rock on his fingertips. (The rock is in fact a large, light pumice rock).

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,

Another week has past and fortunately the weather has been a lot more settled this week. There is still a lot of devastation around after cyclone Gabriel and when walking up many river tracks the damage is very obvious. A lot of the access ways have been cleared but there is still some work to do on others. The “TT” track is due for a bit of maintenance and there is a big pine across it about 15 minutes from the carpark that needs to be cleared. Access is still available upstream from this point with a bit of careful steering of the rod through all the obstacles but the sooner it is made easier, the better.

Swinging a streamer in the Tauranga Taupo River.
Two American anglers nymphing The “Judges Pool”, Tongariro River.

I took an American couple up the “TT” a couple of days ago. The river was a bit lower than last week   but still fished OK, but they didn’t catch fish of the same size as I had some clients catch the previous week and, indeed, a lot of the fish were undersized but still a lot of fun on light gear. The male angler was a very accomplished fisherman and, while he did not catch any big fish, he certainly had a good deal of action with some smaller ones. His wife got into the act as well with a few small fish and probably lost the biggest fish of the day when she allowed the line to go too slack while trying to get all the slack line into her reel too quickly. It didn’t help when, by doing this, she had wrapped the fly line several times around the tip of the rod. I tried in vain to rectify this by unravelling the line but, alas. by the time it was freed, the fish was gone. 😤.

The Whanganui is a big river.
Another view of The Judges Pool.

Once again, I found that fishing with streamers especially the Olive Woolly Bugger was the best method and also thought that The “TT” was the pick of the rivers this week. I did venture down one afternoon to the Tongariro and was pleased to see some rising trout in various areas. They are still not rising to the degree I would like but it is getting better. I caught a couple of trout on lacewing moth patterns size 16 but you may even have to look at size 18 in really clear water. Keep your leaders long (about 3.5 m) and have your tippets as fine as you dare. I find about 0,6m (2ft), 4X is fine.


It looks as though we are finally in for a more settled run of weather this next week. I have a crew of Australians for a week starting from this Saturday so, hopefully, we have a good run, and the dry fly comes into its own. Fishing over in the Whanganui and Whakapapa Rivers has been fairly hard but this could change anytime so I encourage you to get out there and give it a go.

Nice silver Bullet from the Tongariro.
An American Angler balancing a large rock on his fingertips. (The rock is in fact a large, light pumice rock)..

The I Love Fly Fishing shop in Turangi has been steady with customers looking for all sorts of things from fly tying gear (of which we have a very good range), to rods and waders.

As always, all your fly fishing and fly tying 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 & I Love Fly Fishing Partner Store Turangi.


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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