Turangi Fishing Report 9 December 2022

Looking upstream from the Major Jones Pool, Tongariro 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.

Hello fellow fly fishers.

I hope everyone is fit and well and prepared for the silly season which is almost upon us. The year has gone fast and the older I get, the faster the years seem to go so much fishing needs to be done in the upcoming years ahead. This week has basically been quite fine weather wise despite having many forecasts of bad weather. As I am writing it is raining, however, and this should get the fish moving as they have been a bit sluggish this week. The fish are there though and with a bit of patience a few fish will come to the net. My nymphs of choice this week have been small patterns like Copper John, Hare and Copper and Pheasant Tail and variants of these in size say 14. The Cleardrift Egg is still catching fish but is not as dominant as it has been a month or two ago.

A happy Aussie fisher. First ever Tongariro River trout.
Fishing the Boulder Pool, Tongariro River.

I have been quite busy guiding this week and have had to pull out all the tricks to try and get the trout to bite. Not always easy when the clients have limited technique and the trout are not being as receptive as I would like. Still, the seasoned angler will have their share of hook ups while the inexperienced angler may have to be a bit more patient. Positivity is the key. If you are prepared to go to the river to enjoy nature and generally take in the fresh air and not get too despondent, fish will come to your net as a bonus at unspecified times. Personally, I never come off a river at the end of the day despondent if I have had a hard day. This is what makes this sport so rewarding. Fly Fishing has great therapeutic qualities and is great not only for body but also for mind. The fish are a mixed bag at the moment with several recovering fish around but still some fresh run beauties turning up. A lot of the fish, while recovering, are well on the way and will give the fisherman a great scrap when hooked.

Lower Tongariro River.
Success at the Hydro Pool, Tongariro River.

I walked up to the Judge’s Pool the other day and caught some nice fish including the silver bullet (as in the photo) that put on a real aerial display as soon as it hit the Cleardrift Egg and then throughout the entire performance. There are a few of these bright silver bullets around at the moment and they are great fun on light gear. Another angler caught a spent fish down the tail of the pool at the time and was obviously a novice fisherman as he had no waders and didn’t venture too far into the water for obvious reasons. He was obviously pretty pleased with his catch and asked me if I would take a photo of him with it. He had dragged the fish up onto the bank into the sand and had no idea of how to hold the fish for a photo and then put it back in the water to hopefully survive. I thought he was going to keep the fish the way he turfed it up on the bank, but I had to give him a bit of a lesson on how to release a trout. So please, if you want to release your trout:

1/ Keep it in the water, preferably in the net.

2/ Make sure your hands are wet.

3/ Take a quick photo of the trout limiting the time it is out of the water to 10 seconds.

4/ Keep your fingers CLEAR OF THE GILLS!!

5/ Hold onto the fish until it takes off under its own steam.

Fish on at the Boulder Pool, Tongariro River.
The Mangamawhitiwhiti stream enters the Hydro Pool, Tongariro River.

While I was walking down the tail of the Judge’s Pool I spied a very large Brownie in the shallows. I’m not sure but he looked as though he gave me a wry smile and was thinking “you’re not going to catch me mate”. For those fishers that have not been down for a while, a lot of the riffles and runs have changed a bit lately after recent rains so a bit of study is required to find out where the new lies are now. Some of the go to runs have disappeared but there are now some very good new lies. Established pools like The Major Jones, Boulder Reach, Boulder and Judge’s are still pretty much the same. It is the lower river that has changed the most. I had the worst nightmare that a guide can experience the other day when a novice fisherman was hooked up and I was barking out orders of what to do and the fish was seesawing all over the place and was some distance from the rod. I managed to get below the fish in reasonably fast water and took my chance to net it only for the trout to hit the net and alas free itself and head off merrily down the river.  Always gutting when this happens and fortunately it doesn’t happen very often with me but the feeling when it does is always the same.



The I Love Fly Fishing shop in Turangi has been steady this week with people buying fishing Christmas presents for their partners (although I suspect sometimes for themselves). Remember, whatever your requirements, you can ring me anytime if outside normal trading hours and I will open up ( within reason of course 😀). 021667867.

Until next time.

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

all author posts
Join Waitlist We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Please leave your valid email address below.