Turangi Fishing Report 10 November 2022

Whanganui River 40mins from Turangi

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.

Hello fellow fly fishers.

Well , Christmas is fast approaching and there is lots of exciting fishing to look forward to. I spent last weekend over in the Taranaki district and chased some browns around some of the numerous streams that flow off Mount Taranaki. I didn’t have a lot of time to fish because I was on family business so a lot of my time was spent investigating likely water. There is some delightful water over here for mainly Brown Trout on light gear. I noticed a number of my favourite streams had silted up quite a bit after recent floods and trout spotted were a lot less than I normally see when I visit here. However, nature has a habit of correcting itself and , no doubt, the fish populations in these areas will return soon enough.

Swinging the Tongariro River.
The result, a nice mint hen.

On Monday morning I decided to check out the Whakapapa and Whanganui Rivers and the action was very slow to say the least so I decided to spend the afternoon at the Tongariro River. On arrival at the lower section of the river I was greeted with gin clear water and I knew hooking up wasn’t going to be fast and furious. The fish were there but were not showing a lot of interest in the drifting nymph. When this happens, I tend to change my strategy and if you see the photo of the Tongariro you will notice two Willow snags sticking out of the river on the opposite side of the river. You will notice my rod is pointing to my proposed target area which is the 2nd snag a bit downstream from the first. I can’t drift a nymph into this area because I would have to lift it up (before it gets hooked up on the snag) and hence extracting it from the water before a trout (where I believe is lying), has a chance to see it. I can however swing a fast-sinking line in front of this snag. The ideal cast is to cast just to the right of the upstream snag so that by the time it reaches the 2nd snag the fly is on the bottom and swinging.

Waiaua River Taranaki District
Lake Opunake Taranaki District

Three planes are required for success here i.e. accuracy, distance and depth. I had a fast sinking shooting head on and was confident the fly would get down quick enough as I also kept my trace short at about 1 metre. My first cast was good but perhaps just a tad short so I stripped out another 2 to 3 metres and cast again. Bingo! I was hooked up and the result was a fine fresh hen. I was to repeat this success a couple more times when another trout moved into the station. Fishing wasn’t fast but it was certainly keeping me interested. So, as I say, it pays to have more than one string to your bow at times and swinging is never a bad option. The road between Turangi and Taupo was closed for a couple of days this week as a truck and trailer unit went off the road and plunged into the lake around the Bulli Point area. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt and while the truck was carrying chemical elements, this seems to be contained inside a barrier that has been put in place in the water.

While it is a scenic route through here, this occurs too frequently for me and I wonder when common sense will prevail one day and a by pass road further inland isn’t constructed. It took decades before a decision was made to put a proper road from Palmerston North east (instead of the Manawatu Gorge). There was no choice in this case though as a massive slip made repairing the gorge unviable, but it had been an unstable and dangerous route for years (especially after rain). A number of anglers are coming into the shop this week and more in the next few days getting outfitted in fishing gear for the oncoming summer.

Remember, whatever your requirements, you can ring me anytime if outside normal trading hours and I will open up ( within reason of course 😀). 021667867.

Until next time.

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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