Turangi Fishing Report 16March 2023

The “Boulder Reach” fishable but running high

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, another week has past very quickly and there has been some reasonable action in the Taupo region. The Tongariro River is still running fairly high due to the maintenance work being carried out by Genesis Energy. It has been around 55 cumecs for almost 2 weeks now and I believe this will carry on for another month or so. Unfortunately, this has made the fishing fairly tough going and the abundance of rising trout that we normally see at this time of year is sadly pretty much non existent. The river needs to get down under 30 cumecs for this to happen and sadly once the river level drops, the lacewing moths that are abundant on the surface, will be gone. I am only hopeful that just maybe we may get some reasonable dry fly action in the second half of April when (hopefully), the river level comes down.

Chunky Brownie caught at night. Mint.
Expect the unexpected at night sometimes. A catfish likes my offerings.

The Tauranga Taupo level on the other hand is just a bit low for my liking running at a level of 0.3 m. I prefer to see this river running at about 0.5m. There are some fish up the TT however and the fishing will improve greatly up here after the next fresh and we are due for some rain in the next few days. Fishing the stream mouths at night can be quite rewarding at the moment with the full moon now gone and the evenings nice and mild. Just remember to pick the right side of the lake to fish on when you fish at night e.g., a north westerly will suit a stream like The Omori while a South Easterly will suit a stream like The Waipehi. A couple of nights ago the winds were relatively light and I tossed up between fishing at The Omori Stream or The Waipehi Stream. It was a light Westerly wind and fishing was feasible at both mouths. I chose the Omori in this instance and the conditions were very good with just a nice fishy ripple on the lake surface..

Client from Hawaii fishing an awkward lie, Tauranga Taupo River.
The result of persistence and a happy punter.

There was a reasonable amount of activity with the big rainbows leaping like dolphins high out of the water at times while, much closer, the browns could be seen cruising, barely breaking the surface except for their dorsal fins and big square tails giving them away. Just on dark I hooked up to what could only be a brown with its solid, slashing motion in the shallow water. These fish can give very violent jerks at night. They may not be as spectacular and run like the rainbows, but they are certainly strong and they get the adrenaline rushing.  They tend to be in it for the long haul too (especially if you hook a good one). My fish was one of these and I had a large net sitting on the shore to assist with the landing. This is very handy, especially if you have a large brown. The brown in the photo went 6lbs and was in mint condition. I caught another brown shortly after but much smaller.


Then I hooked up with a very poor fighting fish which I picked was a slab but no, it was a catfish. The lake is well established with catfish and one can expect to catch them from time to time when fishing at night. The next 2 weeks is a good time to try and catch a big brown while the moon is hiding so get out there and do it. Well, that’s it for me this week. The early winter runs are not far away. I have found at the moment that streamer fishing is getting the best results, especially on the Tongariro River while the river is at a higher level.

The “Boulder Reach” fishable but running high
Catch a catfish!

Good to see most of the tracks that were blocked to a degree because of the cyclone have now been cleared making walking up the rivers a lot easier.

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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