Turangi Fishing Report 09 Mar 2022

Brian Willson, professional guide, 021667867, brings us his weekly fly fishing report from Turangi for the Central North Island lakes and rivers.

Hello again fellow fly fishers.

This last week has seen another spell of fabulous weather and superb fishing.

I have just come home after a great afternoon on the Tongariro chasing some beautifully conditioned trout with the dry fly.

It would be fair to say this has been my preferred fishing method this week and I have had some good success. The fishing isn’t easy however and patience is required. There is no doubt that lace moth imitations are the way to go. Having a good range of imitations is key because one day the fish may prefer something different than the day before. Long leaders (5m), and fine tippets will bring more trout to your fly.

I have kept my flies small, size 16 being the biggest, and have fished with one fly only.

“Too small to see” you might say. No, you will train yourself to see this. Avoid directly looking into the sun yet avoid casting a shadow into the fish zone. A good pair of polarized sunglasses are essential here. Come and see me at the ILFF shop in Turangi and I’ll fix you up.

I had caught half a dozen rainbows the other day and a fellow angler fishing upstream from me had caught nil. He wandered down to me while I was playing fish number 7 and wanted to see what I was fishing with. As I was preoccupied with fighting my fish I told him to sit down on the bank, be patient, and when I have finished with the situation at hand, I will come over and give you a fly that should do the trick. I did this and he was very grateful. I also informed him that all the fish I had caught were swimming behind where he was standing in the river. He heard me but still ventured out into the middle of the river and concentrated fishing near the opposite bank. I caught 2 more fish ( behind him) and left. He remained fishless.

Sometimes it’s not just the fly that is the reason why the fish will or won’t take. At this time of year, fast, shallow water are great places to pick up fish. It never ceases to amaze me how many times fishermen overlook this type of water.

My adventure today saw a fish smack my fly on my first cast. I was crossing over the Braids area (by the Bain pool in the Tongariro), and saw 2 large rainbows sitting on the bottom in front of me and to my left. I thought it was worth a shot although the current was tricky and the cast would have to be perfect. Fortunately it was and to my surprise a superb 2kg rainbow rose and smashed the fly. I then had a great scrap and managed to net it just before it took off down a rapid. Great stuff and even more pleasurable was letting the fish go after the battle.

For those of you that don’t release fish, that’s OK if it’s for the table but try catch and release sometime. It’s a good feeling to see a fish swim away with as little stress as possible, almost as good as catching it.

I have found in the early evening, swinging flies work well and the woolly bugger has been doing it for me.

The Whanganui and Whakapapa Rivers have been fishing well and I have found euro nymphing , nymphing and swinging wets is best.

The I Love Fly Fishing shop in Turangi has been fairly busy this week. Come and see me sometime even if it is after hours. I am home based and will open up for you. We have some great products at very affordable prices and I am happy to talk fishing with you anytime. Just ring 021667867, ask for Brian.

Until next time,

Tight lines,

Brian Willson

NZPFGA member. Tongariro River Flow Tauranga-Taupo River Flow


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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