Turangi Fishing Report 23 December 2022

After all the rain, one happy Californian with a nice rainbow hen from the Tongariro. His biggest ever trout.

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, this is the last report before Christmas and Turangi is increasing in population every day with holiday makers. This week, once again like most of the country, has experienced a lot of rain including our share of thunder and lightning. Indeed, today I guided a nice couple of young Californians and the weather was pretty rough to say the least. But they were happy with the adventure even though at one stage I was considering building an ark!! The fishing was pretty tough, but we did get a bit of action at the Hydro Pool and The Boulder Reach on the Tongariro much to their delight.

Lightning, Thunder and torrential rain but the guiding day must continue.
If the rivers are in flood, don’t discount the stream mouths entering the lake.

A couple of days ago I had another duo. One was an American and the other was his son in law from the UK. I was demonstrating how to swing a woolly bugger into likely lies when a big trout hooked up almost immediately. I quickly passed the rod to the closest angler to me which happened to be the son in law. Unfortunately, he got a bit excited and tried to reel the fish in too quickly. I saw the fish, just metres from my net and it was a very well-conditioned Jack and large, around the 6lb mark. Of course, the fish was too strong to be winched in too quickly and soon picked his moment to break free on a short line. The UK angler apologised to me, but I assured him not to worry as he had at least had a taste of what a strong trout feels like on a fly rod. It was the first time he had felt this experience. Like today, the weather was abysmal.

Two young Californians enjoying the day , Boulder Reach, Tongariro River.
My cat Mia, always supervises me when I am preparing for a guiding day.

As I was guiding these two, I noticed a female duck swimming straight towards me. I thought this was strange but on closer inspection I could see that she was swimming next to one of her ducklings that seemed to be in some distress. I plucked the duckling out of the water and naturally the mum duck flew off. I noticed the duckling had wounds on its back and it looked like it had been in the jaws of a shag. I put the duckling in my top pouch and asked my clients if they minded if we took a small diversion to the vet. They were quite happy with this. On arrival to the vet, I asked them if they could help me with my problem and they said they could and would notify the local “bird lady” who happens to be Carol Harwood a well-known environmentalist and former fishing guide in the area. Carol informs me, after some medication and a bit of grain, the duckling is now sitting up and has a good chance of making it. Thanks to Carol for your effort. The duckling, if it survives to a fledgling, will be released to a bird sanctuary at Lake Rotoaira so fingers crossed.

Another guiding day tomorrow and more unsettled weather is forecast. I am wondering if this rain is ever going to end and have never seen the Great Lake water level so high. For those visiting Taupo these holidays, beware of particular water activities, especially in the upper Waikato River. The current is going to be much stronger this summer compared to last summer. My favourite method for fishing at present is the swinging wet fly (streamer). This is especially so while the Tongariro River is running between 40 and 50 cumecs. Nymphing is OK however and the pheasant tail has been the best one for me this week.

So, a merry Christmas to all fishers out there and I will be around during this period so 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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