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It’s a well-known fact that winter is when the Taupo Fishery comes alive, but making the most of getting on the water in late summer and autumn can be just as productive – and just as exciting. The fishery is ridiculously versatile, and there are numerous options for anglers who want to explore its waterways ahead of the popular winter season - from sight fishing for monster browns in spring-fed creeks, to leisurely jigging for sparkling rainbows on Lake Taupo – it’s all right here.
As we start to come into autumn, trout are beginning to think about spawning, but with Lake Taupo still at an elevated temperature from the summer months, many fish are generally hanging about in the thermocline of the lake in amazing eating condition. This means jigging is a good option if you’re keen for a relaxing day on the boat. (Or the kayak, or the dinghy, or even on the paddleboard). Smelt-imitation flies are your best bet, and you’re able to have three flies on your line, so think about mixing your patterns up to see what works for the location you’re targeting. One of the best parts about jigging is it’s not dependent on light or temperature changes throughout the day, so there’s no need to get up early, and you can bring the whole family along – even those less experienced.
Late summer is the perfect time for targeting brown trout on most rivers around the fishery, with many able to be cast at by sight. The Waitahanui is the brown trout aficionados’ paradise, but you will generally need the patience of a saint and a decent knowledge of how to get your flies down deep quickly to do well here. While all styles of nymphing are popular, if the cicadas are chirping then the dry fly action is sure to keep the heart rate elevated until it’s too dark to see your line and indicator.
But don’t despair – the setting of the sun doesn’t mean the fun is over. There’s still plenty of action to be found night fishing many of the rips flowing into Lake Taupo over the coming months. While the bigger rivers on the eastern shores of Taupo Moana are most well-known for rip fishing, don’t be scared to venture to the smaller tributaries when the wind is right and the moon isn’t too bright. A floating line and a big dark fly that casts a decent shadow in the water should do the trick in the smaller streams, but mixing things up in the fly department can be surprisingly effective - don’t be scared to chuck on the oddest, most ugly fat fly you have in your box.
The Taupo Fishery is one of only a handful throughout the country that is open all-year-round, but some upper sections of tributaries are closed off to anglers as the spawning season kicks off. Most winter limits come into effect at the end of May or June, so autumn is a great time to get in and get your fly-fishing fix before the inevitable rush of anglers to the rivers when the winter runs start.
Depending on where you choose to fish, you may want to entertain the idea of going without waders and wet wading to make things even more comfortable. The only exception would be when you’re fishing river or stream mouths, where you’ll want to be standing where you can feel the colder water flowing out to the lake – which can be deceptively cold, even on the warmest of days. Just remember to take the bug spray if you’re only sporting shorts and wading boots.
There are numerous tackle shops in both Taupo and Turangi with experts instore who can put you onto the flies that are doing the damage on any given week, and they’ll also have tips on locations to head to. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for tips too – everyone has their very own ‘Spot X’ and you might pick up a few clues on where the fish are biting. Or better yet, for a guaranteed good time Taupo has some of the best fishing guides in the world. These local legends will take you to the best spots guaranteed and help you with your technique while you’re out there.
Guided Fly Fishing for Brown and Rainbow Trout in the stunning Lake Taupo Region. Chris Jolly Outdoors' specialist fly fishing guides have the local knowledge and expertise to ensure both novice and experienced angers have the trip of a lifetime.$890 - $1,710
Raft fishing trips can be made to suit every angler's specific needs. Experienced guides are available to help locate and net your first fat Taupo Rainbow Trout. The Tongariro River is world famous for its trout fishing.$700 - $750
Tongariro Lodge Guides are the most experienced guided fly fishing operator in Taupo for over 36 years now. Guides provide access to the best wilderness trout fishing in the world by 4WD, boat, raft and helicopter.$550 - $950
While surrounded by spectacular scenery, cast a dry fly over a big, wild trout in a crystal-clear stream at Poronui. Choose from easily accessible waters or take a helicopter flight into the mountains to uncover more private, idyllic fishing spots.$840 - $2,310
If you're not local to the Taupo region, it can be hard to know where to best fishing spots are. So, to help you on your way, we’ve compiled our top fishing spots.