Turangi Fishing Report 30 December 2022

Small crossing on route to The Boulder Reach will soon be dry.

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,

I hope the festive season is treating you well and you are preparing for the new year.  There is a lot of traffic on the roads at the moment so please be careful out there and remember that you have plenty of time to get to your destination. There have already been too many accidents and just yesterday was a particularly nasty 2 car pile-up involving 8 people that I drove past.

Kim from Chicago with a fine Rainbow from the lower Tongariro.
Fishing the Hydro Pool, Tongariro River, on a beautiful day.

 Turangi has seen its numbers swell in recent days, but the rivers are not congested with fishermen although some swimmers are starting to enter the water at favourite fishing spots from time to time. This is not a major worry because you will not have to move far for someone peace and quiet.

There are several very big Browns entering The Tongariro River at the moment. Here is one such beast. Can you see him?
Preparing for another guiding day with my supervisor, Mia, forever present.

I have taken a few clients out this week (at long last), in some nice fine conditions generally and the river running in the mid 30 cumec range which has been ideal. Fishing, on the other hand, has been quite tough and much patience and effort is needed to get success. One of the American anglers I guided was Bob from Montana. He was 80 years old and a real character. He told me at the start “I’m slow, but I’ll get there”. Well, his fitness for his age was quite remarkable and I have had plenty of clients half his age that he would have left behind. He had had a string of very important jobs in the USA some of which were being in the military, being a veterinarian and also a financial advisor. He was also a fishing guide in Montana for about 5 years where he would take people on treks on horseback to outback fishing places. You could tell how he could cast a line that he was certainly a very good fisherman in his day.


Unfortunately, the trout had lockjaw on this day although he did manage to pull in a small one. I found him a really interesting character and we both enjoyed the day together immensely. Even when he told me of 5 times, he was within 50 yards of a Grizzly bear, it was enough to make me shudder. Every time he went to some of these places where Grizzlies were known to be he would have bear spray for protection. In the Tongariro in the last few days I have spotted some very large browns in the shallows and yesterday I had one of my clients casting to at least 6 that I had spotted. A couple showed some interest but generally they were just teasing us, but it was good fun having a go at them. It all goes well for the new year though as more of these brownies will turn up and indeed get caught especially when they decide to eat more readily off the surface. I am pleased to say that although the fishing is quite hard, at the moment, the conditions are pretty good.


P.S. Update on my duckling that I rescued in my last report. Just received this picture. My duckling (facing) has made a full recovery and is seen here with another orphan mate. A happy new year to both of them.

This week I have found nymphing to be the best way to go with the clearer water and fine leaders. Nymphs doing it for me have been pheasant tails and Hare and Copper with or without bead heads. I have found this week, if using a bead head, orange or gold have worked quite well and size 14 isn’t a bad place to start. Well we are very nearly into 2023 so I hope your new year’s resolution is to get out there and catch more fish. At least that should be one of your essential requirements. The I Love Fly Fishing shop will be open throughout the holiday season so, as always, if you require anything, 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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