Lake Taupo is the Southern Hemispheres largest lake and a major tourist & holiday destination for many New Zealanders / Australians and International travellers alike. Trout fishing, boating, skiing, mountain walks, thermal pools, vibrant cafes / restaurant and a vast array of hotels / motels/ backpackers make the Lake Taupo region an exciting holiday destination in both winter and summer. Visit the Tongariro National Park or walk the Tongariro crossing know as one of the worlds best one day walks.
lake taupo and turangi new zealands holiday playground


"Far away Tongariro! Green-white thundering Athabasca river of New Zealand! I vowed would come again down across the Pacific to fish in the swift cold waters of this most beautiful and famous of trout streams. It is something to have striven. It is much to have kept your word!"

Zane Grey, 1927

Lake Taupo is a special place to fish, and every year enthusiastic anglers make at least one major fishing trip to test their skills on the migrating steelhead trout. Large numbers of these fish run the many rivers flowing into the lake with the Tongariro River at the southern end being the most famous. This river is known worldwide, having earned its reputation through the sheer numbers of large silver trout that test every angler. Many notable dignitaries have fished the Tongariro over the years, including Zane Grey, The Queen Mother and US President Jimmy Carter. During the season it's quite common to recognise film stars and business leaders working their way through a pool just like everyone else.

Pools have magic names such as The Duchess Pool, The Major Jones Pool, The Admiral Pool, Judges and so on; every pool steeped in history and stories of epic fights between angler and fish. Turangi is well serviced with motels and hotels, as well as restaurants, tackle shops and fishing guides, all catering to the needs of the visiting anglers who provide one of the major sources of income for this small town.

Even if you are not a river fisherman, you can still enjoy a fishing experience on the lake. There are many boat launching ramps all around Lake Taupo or you can employ the services of a fishing guide who will take you right to the hot spots.

If you only have limited time to fish, you would be wise to employ a guide at the beginning of your holiday so that the guide can familiarise you with local techniques and acquaint you with some places to try; it might save you a lot of heartache in the long run. Search for fishing guide.

Fishing opportunities around the Tongariro region are vast and exciting, with the chance of catching a huge fish very possible. It is for this reason that anglers all over the world dream of one day visiting the region to have that experience for themselves. If you live here in New Zealand, you might as well take advantage of this wonderful fishery right on your own doorstep.

This Southern Lake Taupo fishing information is by courtesy of Alan Simmons Flyfishing

FISHING THE TONGARIRO REGIONAlan Simmons guiding on Tongariro River. Turangi, Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Rainbow trout were introduced to this area about 100 years ago from California, USA. These were of steelhead (sea run rainbow trout) stock and to this day our rainbow trout still retain the magnificent fighting characteristics of their North American forebears. The life cycle of our Taupo rainbows has remained almost unchanged, as they treat Lake Taupo as a sea, maturing in the lake and running up the rivers only to breed.
It is for this reason we differentiate between Taupo / Tongariro steelhead fishing and traditional trout fishing for resident fish, which live out their whole lives feeding and spawning in one particular watershed.

The peak fishing months on the Tongariro and the rivers running into the lake are from early May through September with trout averaging 4.5 pounds in weight, although many trout are landed weighing 7 to 9 pounds with the occasional trophy fish exceeding 10 pounds.

BROWN TROUT. Brown trout can also be caught all year round. They are caught in the Tongariro, and in Lake Otamangakau, and many other rivers in the region. Again fish in excess of 11 pounds can be caught and in the late summer many huge fish are caught often between 10-18lb. Anglers can test thier luck against these monsters anywhere in the river as they are often seen in large numbers. Great fun on dry-fly during the warm summer evenings.

Fishing guide Alan Simmons with a large Tongariro River brown caught on a dry fly

October through May offers excellent nymph and dry fly fishing on nearby streams and lakes for both brown trout and River. Smelting around the lake edge seems to be at its best late November and December. The dry fly action begins about Xmas and builds to a high in February as the huge cicada hatches emerge. The stream and river mouths also provide excellent streamer fishing at night during this time but watch for the full moon.

Although the lake fishes well all year round the best months are October through May and is suitable to even the most inexperienced angler. Mainly River are taken either by deep trolling, shallow trolling with fly rods and streamer flies, jigging the deeper water or fly fishing from a boat.

Fishing guide Jamie Davies caught this great fish in the tongariro river EQUIPMENT.
For those anglers who wish to travel light and have not brought their own fishing tackle, waders and rods can be hired.

ROD & LINE. A nine to ten foot rod with #8 weight being the ideal for most Tongariro fishing and #6 weight for spring-summer.

UPSTREAM NYMPHING. WF floating line, and indicator. DOWNSTREAM WET FLY; Super fast sinking shooting head.

Australian angler Keith Wright displays a nice example of what you can expect to catch.WADERS. Extremely cold waters make full length neoprene waders a must. You can hire these while here. Some anglers choose to wear thier breathable waders but you will need thermals on underneath as the water is quite cold. During the spring - summer - autumn light weight breathable waders are the norm as temperatures can get as high as 30c+.

LEADER MATERIAL. For the steelhead fishing a straight 10' length of nylon of 10lb (4.5kg) to 6lb (2.8kg). Dry fly and small stream nymphing will require a tapered leader to 4lb (2kg). +

FLIES. For steelhead fishing most use small glo bug nymphs trailed 9" behind a heavy "bomb" fly. If wetfly fishing flies such as the red rabbit, red setter, green wolly bugger and the like. During the summer small nymphs such as hare and copper or the usual range of dry flies. The most effective fly in summer is the Simmons Attractor available at most sports shops.

MISCELLANEOUS. A wide brim, dark coloured hat and Polaroid sun-glasses are recommended for all but night fishing. Or a warm "beanie" type hat during the winter

STRIKE INDICATORS can only be made of yarn and are available everywhere.

WEATHER may become cold and wet. A suitable dull coloured rain coat should be carried.

LICENCES NEEDED FOR NEW ZEALAND. A sports fish and game licence covers all of the fishing districts in New Zealand other than the Taupo district. This areas requires a seperate licence. Fishing Licences are available at all fishing tackle outlets, most motels and lodges, and some petrol stations and dairies.

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