Turangi Fishing Report 6 May 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 it has been another great week in the central plateau around Lake Taupo. The weather has been stunning although I must admit I would like to see a bit of rain to accelerate the movement of the trout. All the rivers are low and clear and patience is required for success. 

This time of year is when the serious fly fisher should be targeting the small stream mouths, especially at night. The browns are still around but an increasing amount of rainbows are gathering around stream mouths putting on condition in preparation for their spawning runs. I believe an Autumn trout in Taupo is at its absolute peak when it comes to condition and fighting capabilities. The big Jack pictured (7lb), was one of these such species caught a couple of nights ago at one of Taupo’s small stream mouths and gave me one hell of a scrap in shallow water in fact I was almost spooled.

This is the beauty of night fishing. It is another experience altogether. Some fishers believe that there is nothing comparable to a trout rising to a dry fly. I would agree that this is a very pleasurable way to fish but the “hit” on a dark night also has its own adrenaline induced power.

The old saying “the drug is the tug” is so true.

We had 2 new moons in April, the second of these was April 30 and being the second in a calendar month is also known as a “Black Moon. This is not to be confused with a “Blue Moon” which is the second full moon in a month.

It is the new moons I target when I am fishing small stream mouths at night because I like to fish about 5 days either side of them to ensure I get a dark night. Strangely the last couple of nights I fished the same small stream mouth for 2 nights in a row in perfect calm conditions and I had no company. Both nights I had plenty of action after dark and the action was consistent throughout the night.

Some tips to consider when fishing Taupo at night

  1. Be prepared i.e. study your area in the day time, where are those nasty rocks?, what is the current doing?
  2. Be warm. Taupo cools down quickly at night.
  3. Have a good torch and a spare. I like to have one around my head and one in my wader pocket.
  4. DONT wade out too far. Over your knees is generally too deep.
  5. If the rip is crowded, don’t worry about it too much. There will be plenty of trout cruising around close but away from the rip.
  6. A spare set of clothes isn’t a bad idea to throw in your vehicle. Taking a tumble at night can and does happen.
  7. Don’t be in a hurry stripping your line. Brownies especially succumb to a slow retrieve.
  8. The fish shown were all caught on a big black woolly bugger. I have my own version that I have used for years and is available at the I Love Fly Fishing shop in Turangi.

Big Marabous also work well for me and lumo flies have their moments although using these lessens the chance of catching a brownie. I have found over the years that a rainbow is very happy to take a black woolly bugger like the brownie so I am covering my options. I have similar success with an olive green woolly bugger or a black/green combination.

I have just come off the Tongariro after guiding all day with some success although it was quite hard with the clear conditions.

There have been some good browns caught in the Waitahanui River this week and one of my customers had some good action up the Tauranga Taupo River.

I have had a number of people come into the shop lately getting outfitted for the upcoming winter runs. So if you are in the area come and see me and I will sort you out with great I Love Fly Fishing gear. Ring me 021667867 anytime, I will open.

Until next time,
Tight lines,

Brian Willson

NZPFGA member. Tongariro River Flow Tauranga-Taupo River Flow

Fat rainbow trout hen
Fat rainbow trout hen
Big rainbow trout
Big rainbow trout
Sunset over lake Taupo
Sunset over lake Taupo
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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