Turangi Fishing Report 24February 2023

An American client throwing the perfect cast to a rising brown in a Tongariro backwater. The brown was having none of it.

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, it has been a busy week for me with clients pretty much every day. The rivers have been at good levels throughout the week and the fishing has been OK. I found the best river this week was the Tauranga Taupo with some nice fresh fish having entered while all this crazy weather has been occurring. I took a couple of American clients up there for 2 days and had some good fun on streamers, namely woolly buggers. I had to keep an eye and ear out for the surrounding trees as much of the forest that lines the river has been damaged by the cyclone, i.e. trees either uprooted or snapped in half.

A recovering Jack from the Tongariro River.
Trying a nymph in the Tongariro

Halfway up the track a massive pine had taken residence blocking access from venturing further upstream. But there was good fishing water further up that I wanted to show my clients so we all did a bit of climbing and crawling on our bellies and managed to continue. I’m glad we did because we were to experience some pretty good fishing further upstream with some really nice fish. All the fish were caught on streamers on the swing and although I had a nymphing rig with me, it was not required. The river looked the picture and the weather was perfect. It’s great when a plan comes together. As far as I know, the track has now been cleared as some working bees have been up all the tracks in the area making sure that they are accessible.

The “TT”. Ideal water here for a streamer.
Two Americans clients enjoying a good day on the “TT”

The Tongariro River has been a mixed bag with some fairly average fish coming out at not too regular intervals. This should improve however as more fish are starting to rise now and I had one of my American clients toss a fly to a few feeding browns in a Tongariro backwater but , while they initially showed some interest, they soon got bored and would not accept his offerings. Looking at my grapevine yesterday, it is now riddled with lacewing moths so some good dry fly fishing with a good artificial lacewing moth should yield some good results in the coming weeks.


I went out last evening to the Waipehi Stream mouth. It was the perfect night with a southerly and overcast with only a quarter moon which was well covered most of the time with the clouds therefore it was dark. There were a number of fish spawning in the stream itself and on entering the water I was greeted by a sizeable brown that came right up to me to say hi. I was joined by another angler from Taupo whom I knew so we decided to fish deep into the night. Although the conditions were very good, the fishing was pretty slow with mainly poor to reasonable fish being landed. My aim was to try and catch a large brownie as I have caught a few of them here over the years. I thought something wasn’t quite right when I didn’t spot any cruisers prior to dark. However, I will be back and next time the trout might be a little bit more receptive.

An American client throwing the perfect cast to a rising brown in a Tongariro backwater. The brown was having none of it.
Some freshies entering the “TT”.

Make sure, when fishing at night, that you are dressed warm. There is a bit of a nip in the air now. Looks like there may be a bit more unsettled weather coming in the next day or two. Let’s hope not too much rain.

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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