Turangi Fishing Report 18May 2023

Nice jack, lower 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,

As shown, there are some beautiful fish turning up now. My pick of rivers this week has definitely been the “TT”, but the Tongariro has had its moments as well. Last Monday I spent a few hours on the “TT” and really got amongst the action with some stunning fish caught and lost. Swinging woolly buggers was doing most of the damage with the fish taking a liking for black, Olive or a combination of the two. If buying these flies commercially be aware that most of them will be too long in the tail. They look very attractive, but many fish will be hooked and lost because the trout has hit the back half of the fly but hasn’t bitten the hook. The tail should not be longer than the hook shank length. So, trim them back as required but cut on an angle top and bottom to ensure your tail tapers out to a point.

Fresh hen Tauranga Taupo River.
Tauranga Taupo River bullet.

The track up the side of the “TT” is now open to fishermen, but forest workers are still active up here with logging operations being made necessary because of cyclone Gabriel. Be aware that the track could be blocked at any time depending how close they get to it with tree felling operations. Please respect the signs around here. If an area is taped off with a sign saying NO ENTRY, then do not proceed further forward. I have seen a few fishers ignoring the signs and they run the risk of trespass and also a risk to their own safety. There is plenty of good fishing below these stop points so fish there with confidence.

High water Tauranga Taupo River.
Another nice hen from the Tauranga Taupo River.

Today I took some Australians up the “TT” and it was fishing very well up to lunch time and then the river browned up very quickly. It wasn’t raining and looked reasonably clear over the hills so I can only presume that some working activity was happening upriver that was browning up the river. I checked the river level, and it hadn’t risen at all, but the fishing certainly went off. We decided to leave and hit The Tongariro.

Now the Tongariro looked very fishable running at about 35 cumecs but the fishing was quite hard. It was a dull day and swinging big flies seemed to be the best approach. One of my Australian clients landed a very nice Jack and the others hooked and lost a few. Tomorrow promises to be a similar day to today and I’m hoping the “TT” will be clearer because that is where I want to be. In short, the runs are underway so don’t delay and get out there.

The I Love Fly Fishing shop has been fairly busy with more and more fishers getting prepared for the great fishing we can expect with the spawning runs underway now.  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.
Lake Aniwhenua Autumn scene.


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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