Turangi Fishing Report 31 Mar 2022

Brian Willson, professional guide, 021667867, brings us his weekly fly fishing report from Turangi for the Central North Island lakes and rivers.

Hello fellow fly fishers.

Well a lot has happened since I last touched base with you so I’ll get right into it.

The last report I mentioned we had an overdue dumping of rain . We had 2 solid days of this and the rivers in the area either became flooded or had very good freshes.

The two best rivers to fish at this time were the Tongariro and the Hinemaiaia. They were both discoloured but fishable and were soon dropping.

I was guiding a Doctor for 3 days of this period and I had to work out a plan as there was a lot of wind around and forecast to get worse.

We fished the Tongariro first and as the wind strengthened, checked out the Hinemaiaia.

This was a master stroke as there was no wind here and better still, no one on the river.

The river was a bit high and dirty but very fishable as I figured a few rainbows would have entered the river with all the rain.

We started with the nymph and had some success but the situation was tailor made for the wet line, in particular Brian’s Black Bugger of which I had tied half a dozen or so up the night before. It wasn’t long before my client was hooked up on a big very well conditioned rainbow Jack which he played to perfection. I had a very happy client and he has booked 2 more sessions in the next couple of months. The Hinemaiaia often has a few early runners and I suspect a few more will enter the river next week as more rain is forecast.

In the last few days the rivers have all dropped back to fairly low levels and I checked out the Tongariro yesterday to see if the fish are still rising to lacemoth imitations. I was not disappointed as the rise is still going strong right throughout the day although perhaps not as prolific as it was a few weeks ago. I caught a few fish however and when the days are still around 27 degrees it would be fair to assume the dry fly is still going to be a good option for a while yet. I am using a single fly and size 16 when the conditions are low and clear.

If you have trouble seeing a fly of this size you might want to consider trying the following. Pick out a bubble in the foam line where you think your fly has landed. Follow that bubble. As the angle of light changes while your fly is drifting suddenly your fly will reappear at some point on the drift. Try it. It works for me if I am having trouble in certain conditions.

Today I checked out the Whanganui and Whakapapa Rivers and they are both in good order. I caught several very good fish including an 8lb rainbow (pictured), and 2 browns that weren’t much smaller. I found small nymphs like a hare and copper or pheasant tail with a gold bead head worked best. I got smoked by a big brown that spent at least 30 seconds stuck behind a rock. I managed to work him off it but I figured he had enough time to work the hook off and so it proved to be as a short time later after tearing off downstream, the line went slack and he was free. They’re clever those brownies, nobody will convince me otherwise.

Big brown trout

With the borders opening the Aussies will soon be here. I had some bookings confirmed the same day the government made the announcement. I suspect this will be a trickle at first and the bulk of the tourists won’t be back until later in the year.

My forecast for the weekend is more of the same. No real rain is forecast and the fishing should be great.

The Tongariro has a lot of fish in it and the browns will be there to be caught for a few months yet before the big runs of rainbows start in June/July.

I have had a number of anglers come in for a chat on the last few days and buy some very good gear at very good prices. I sell and personally use I Love Fly Fishing products and have done for some time and I provide my clients with the same equipment. If you want to be kitted out with affordable, excellent gear, come and see me at the I Love Fly Fishing store, 8 Wiremu St, Turangi and I will put you right.

Until next time,

Tight lines,

Brian Willson

NZPFGA member. Tongariro River Flow Tauranga-Taupo River Flow

Lovely Rainbow Trout
Lovely Rainbow Trout


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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