Turangi Fishing Report 13 January 2023

Aussie client with a reasonable hen, Tongariro River.

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, I hope you are all out there catching or attempting to catch fish even if the weather is not deciding what it is going to do. It really feels more like Spring at the moment with rain one minute and hot sun the next. Don’t be fooled by overcast weather thinking that sunglasses and sunblock are unnecessary. You will still fry on the most overcast day and the glare on the water is still powerful enough to mean sunglasses are essential. Bear in mind too that perhaps the most important reason you are wearing sunglasses is for eye protection 😎.

Even on a dismal day the Tongariro River has its charm.
Nice rainbow rising to the dry, Tongariro River.

Recently I purchased a modern Subaru Forester as my Mercedes’ SUV was due to be replaced. I was a bit worried about storage capacity as clearly it is not as big as the Mercedes’ (which I could get an 11’ set up Spey rod in). But by planning space management better I found this could easily be achieved with a little thought. The most important gear is always the rods. So I cut a 75mm pvc pipe to a specified length so that the reels could be pushed hard up to them and would not be hit when the boot was closed. The positioning of the pipe (see photo) is marked with permanent marker so that it is in line with the head rest in the middle of the back seat. The extension of the headrest clamps the pipe securely in place, but an extra bungee cord can be wrapped around here for extra security (not shown for clarity). The same goes for wrapping a bungee cord around the headrest upright and the reels so that the rods don’t slip.

My mate for the morning, a shag drying his wings.
Spotting big Brownies from a high vantage point, Tongariro River.

Inside the 75 mm pipe, 3 30mm pipes are forced in with a mallet which is a very tight fit and once in you will never get out. This gives you 3 independent chambers for 3 fly rods. If need be, additional fly rods can be affixed (with bungees) to the outside of this. The front of the 75mm tube is held up with a bungee cord suspended from the rear vision mirror to a height just above the dash but below eye level so that it does not distort your vision whilst driving. After this is done, I place 3 durable storage bins (made of tough plastic and obtainable from The Warehouse), with lids and they fit perfectly across the width of my boot and can be pulled out at any time without having to touch the rods. I can still put gear such as boots, waders and vests on top of the lids as they are the first things I am going to need when I start fishing and the last thing I need to pack when I have finished for the day. I even have enough room to stack 3 or 4 deck chairs between the bins and the boot. This system has meant I can transport myself and 3 other fishermen without any disruption. For any of you out there that have trouble with storage (and I’ve seen plenty of people that do), I can assure you, this works very well. As for the Forester, i.e., its suitability for an angler; very impressed in all departments.


Anyway, back to the fishing, a lot of fishers are finding it tough at the moment and many of the go to pools are not producing as some would like. This is not uncommon for this time of year but there are some ideas you might want to think about and have worked for me in recent days. Consider fishing some areas that you would not normally fish like fast shallow water or even hard to get at areas or areas that are not easy to fish (e.g. little or no back cast). Practice and perfect your roll casting (or at least improve it). The trout are still in the river, and this will become more apparent in a few weeks’ time when surface activity will be much more prevalent. You will be asking yourself “Where on earth did all these fish come from?” Not a lot of cicadas yet and/ or the lacewing moth but they will come (especially the lacewing moth so be prepared). Surprisingly with all the rain around the country, the Turangi region has missed a fair bit of it and the Tongariro has been steady around 27-33 cumecs throughout the last week. While not obvious as yet I feel sooner or later, we are going to get longer periods of fine, settled weather. There is still plenty of time. While we have a lot of visitors in Turangi there is still plenty of vacant space on the rivers so there is no excuse not to get out there and doing it.

For 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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