The Essence of Winter Fly Fishing in New Zealand

Updated: Mar 30

Some good winter rains in Taupo inspired a group of us to head down to Turangi in search of some fresh run rainbow trout. We made the long driver from Auckland at 3am on Saturday arriving at 7:15am.


Upper Tongariro River
Upper Tongariro River with Pawel in the Boulder Pool

Just enough time was left for Pawel to cook us a great breakfast on my new diy cooker setup for my car. After breakfast we made our way to the boulder pool, crossing in the tail of the blue. I decided to quickly swing the side channel above the boulder.


It wasn’t long before a trout grabbed my pink beaded olive rabbit intruder and the line went tight. It was a great start to the morning and I was optimistic about how the day might turn out.


I arrived at the boulder with only Pawel swinging the tail with someone wetlining above. As they moved down I popped in above but none of us had much luck. Later Simon and Jason arrived and swung through as well without a touch. Lewis had a bit more success nymphing, hooking two fish and dropping one.


We moved upstream without much happening even though conditions seemed perfect. It was nice watching Simon casting his OPST micro skagit setup but that was the only action happening.


Simon spey casting his OPST micro skagit setup
Simon spey casting his OPST micro skagit setup

After a quick stop at the bridge pool café I changed over to my euro nymphing setup and we all headed down river. I split from the group and crossed in the tail of the lower bridge to fish some side channels of the braids. This proved fruitful. After dropping one fish, I finally landed my second fish for the day.


That was to be it for me for the day and the rest of the group did not pick up many fish either but they did get some in various places around the river. We spent the evening cooking sausages over the fire and chatting into the night before heading to bed.


Sunday dawned clear and frosty. Simon, Meinrad and Pawel decided to swing through the Hydro pool. It was a stunning morning and hopes were high. I jumped in above them and nymphed my way up the head. A change to a squirmy worm did the trick but a late strike had the fish hooked in the pectoral fin making for a tough fight in the current.


Johan hooked up in the hydro pool
Johan hooked up in the hydro pool

That was it for the hydro so a plan was made to seek out alternative water to find some fish and that’s what happened. Things can quickly turn around when you find water that is holding fish so it pays to think out of the box and look for places others don’t fish or don’t know.

My best fish for the trip from some hidden water
My best fish for the trip from some hidden water

I eventually caught up with Lewis who had some success earlier and we hit one of my lower river go to spots with quick rewards. The others also managed to get some good fish so we all ended the trip on a high note.


It’s trips like these that are the essence of winter fly fishing for me. Sometimes it’s tough and sometimes you find lots of fish but it’s always a great trip in a stunning place with good mates and good food.


If you enjoyed the read have a look at the video of the weekend below:






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