Turangi Fishing Report 25May 2023

Whakapapa 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,

We had a Doc ranger out to check our licences yesterday which all my clients had so make sure you have them and carry them with you so that you can produce on site.

What an eventful week it has been. The weather has been atrocious, especially last weekend when The Tongariro rose to about 325 cumecs and the Tauranga Taupo to a height of 1.9m. I had some Australian clients out Wednesday this week. They were the same ones that I featured in my report last week. They were utilising my services at the beginning and end of their stay in NZ. The weather deteriorated last Friday, and the rain and wind picked up big time last weekend making the only river really fishable for a period, the Hinemaiaia. They had a bit of success here with both wet lining and nymphing techniques and fortunately the Tongariro dropped as quick as it rose and within a day it had dropped to a high but very fishable 70 cumecs.

There's a fish out there somewhere.
A mixture of dark and silver fish this week.

One of the Aussie fishers hooked into a very large fish in the lower Tongariro which was witnessed by a few onlookers. The fish was never seen but would not budge from the edge where the slack water met the seam. After a long struggle, the trout broke the line and was not to be seen again. Its initial splash indicated that it was a big fish, probably a brown, and it had no intention of coming in. Another smaller fish, a brown of about 6 lb was caught in the same area. The “TT” wasn’t fishable for another couple of days and looked very good last Wednesday at a height of about 600mm.

'TT' high water. Good for swinging.
Three Australian clients having a good day on the 'TT'.

This is when I took the Australians out for a second time and the “TT” was the targeted river. This day saw a lot of anglers on the river, and it was an ideal day for the swinging wet fly fisherman and that was the methodology used although a nymph rod was rigged up for trial part way through the day, but it appeared big streamers swung deep was the best method. The fishing was steady but not as hot as I thought it might be and that seemed to be the general consensus of the other fishermen that we talked to on the river.  The fish caught too were a mixed bag. No slabs but a mixture of dark and silver fish whereas last week they were all silver.

I had an almost disastrous end to the day when we got back to the carpark, packed up and went home only to find when I got home, I had left 3 rods in the grass next to where my truck was parked. I immediately went back to find my rods were gone. There had been one vehicle left in the carpark when we left. I had only been gone 30 minutes. Thinking the worst and kicking myself for not loading the rods (I had become distracted sorting out fish bags for my clients when I should have loaded my rods, first job. Fortunately, the next day after making the usual enquires, the location of my rods was revealed. The last vehicle had picked them up and put them in safe storage until the rightful owner (me) was found. They were concerned that someone else (not so honest) would uplift the rods before I realised my mistake and returned to get them. Thanks to the person who did this and it’s good to see some honesty out there amongst fishers.

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.


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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