Turangi Fishing Report 22 April 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.
Well it has been a busy week on the central plateau rivers, especially throughout Easter. The weather was gloriously fine and there were a number of anglers on the Tongariro River especially. I had a number of clients in this period including my first from overseas since the border reopened. They were a couple from Hong Kong who had no previous experience in fly fishing but it wasn’t long before they were casting adequately. By the end of the session, they both had a taste of what it was like to have a strong Tongariro trout on the line. As the rivers are still very clear, fishing can be demanding and there is no doubt we could do with a good fresh to get the trout a bit more receptive. Rain is forecast, however, which should make the weekend good for fishing.
A couple of days ago I had a session on the Whakapapa River and had some good action with some good-sized fish. Be prepared to lose a few on this river as they fight hard and are not easy to follow downstream due to the bouldery terrain. It pays to work out a plan before fishing a particular beat of this river, i.e. how and where are you going to land the fish. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!!
I arrived home from the Whakapapa River around 5:30 pm having had a satisfying day, all that was needed was to unload my SUV and have a hot shower and relax. Lo and behold when I opened up the hatch something was missing, my rod!! I had left it leaning up against a tree where my vehicle was parked. So now I had to go back immediately, (some 80+ kms), and hope my rod was still there. It’s not the first time I have done this and I guess it won’t be the last.
Fortunately, the rod was exactly where I left it so no harm done except for wasting some fuel. I can recall at least twice in the past when my rod had walked before I had returned. So all in all about 350kms for a days fishing, not something I want to repeat in a hurry but this is where we are so lucky in NZ because, in many parts of the world, this would be no big deal.
The shop has been busy this week with a number of people wanting to get outfitted before the winter runs. Also, there has been a demand for Czech nymphing gear. I have plenty of stock available to suit all customers and can give you advice on how to get started should you be a beginner. I also have a broad range of products for all other types of fishing, just check out the ILFF website and you will see.
Just a few tips you might want to consider.
With the early winter runs not far away the rivers will get more pressure soon enough therefore picking some spots to catch fish is essential because there will be times with the extra bodies on the river, you may not be able to move around too much. Take some time to walk and study a river prior to fishing it if possible and mentally take notes (write it down if you wish). A bit of early homework will give you more options and ultimately more success.

Until next time,
Tight lines,

Brian Willson

NZPFGA member. Tongariro River Flow Tauranga-Taupo River Flow

Fat rainbow trout
Fat rainbow trout
Lovely brown trout
Lovely brown trout
Whakapap rainbow trout jumps to freedom
Whakapap rainbow trout jumps to freedom


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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