Turangi Fishing Report 27 January 2023

Lone angler at the Waitahanui River Mouth.

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 a lot of things have happened this week. We have a new Prime Minister, We are celebrating the Chinese New Year, (the year of the rabbit), and the cicadas have transformed from being present to being downright noisy especially up the Tauranga Taupo River I found. The trout haven’t acquired a taste for them yet as the cicadas are still “on the wing” but it won’t be long before they drop onto the water so get ready for a bumper February on these, the largest of all terrestrials. Remember too that when the cicada season stops the trout will still come up and take a large big of some kind for some considerable time after.

Tauranga Taupo River. The sound of cicadas is deafening!!
Fishing Waitahanui River at SH1 bridge.

Lacewing moths are not here yet either but will be here soon enough. I keep looking at my grapevine in my back yard which the lacewing moth thinks is pavlova. There are none there yet but soon, very soon. I love fishing the lacewing moth imitation, possibly my favourite time of year, small flies (say 16), long leaders and fine tippets, fine as you dare. At time of writing , The Tongariro is running at about 25 cumecs with some rain forecast for the weekend. A little bit of a fresh would be welcome as the fishing is still quite tough where one has to fish with the utmost stealth to outwit the trout.

Nice Rainbow, Tongariro River.
Signs everywhere in Taupo. This is the time of year your gear must be clean.

I went over to the Whakapapa River a few days ago and had a great day out. The fishing was fairly hard and the river was very low but it’s always a pleasure to fish this river. Be careful when fishing here at the moment though. The rocks are quite slimy with that nuisance slimy weed that is abundant at this time of year. If you find you are getting too much weed on your hooks too regularly, it pays to lighten your rig a bit or consider a dry dropper. The Tauranga Taupo River can be quite good with the dry fly at this time of year as can The Hinemaiaia River. Often smaller fish but great fun on lighter gear. Lake Otamangakau shuts for the month of February and then reopens in March. This is a new regulation so be aware of this.


This is a great time of year to target Lake Taupo stream mouths on dark nights and I always find the months of February through to May is a great time to catch that big brownie that you have always dreamed about. The chances of this are enhanced if there is a bit of moisture in the air or even heavy rain. I’m still finding small nymphs like pheasant tail and hare and copper bead heads are working OK and targeting shallow faster water seems to work. The rivers are not full of anglers at the moment so it is an ideal time to find a beat to yourself and fish it thoroughly.

I have had a few anglers through the I Love Fly Fishing Shop in Turangi this week with a number of anglers purchasing new lines, vests , rods and reels etc. For top gear at an affordable price , come and check me out. For all you fly fishing 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


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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