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Fishing season: 1 September to 31 May (closed throughout February).
Despite its small size, Lake Otamangakau is known for two things, the incredible size of trophy trout and the increased number of trout in the wild fishery. Some trophy trout caught there were recorded as big as 4.5 kg, but even on a "slow" day, you can expect an average weight of 2-3 kg. Lake Otamangakau is a shallow hydro-lake formed in 1971, seated near the iconic volcanic range of the Tongariro National Park, just south of Turangi. The volcanic ranges and snow-capped peaks of Mount Tongariro and Mount Ruapehu seem so close you can reach out and touch them from your boat.
On a fateful day in 1983, a local Taupo fishing guide caught a record 8-kg trophy brown trout, cementing Lake Otamangakau as a wild trophy trout fishery, famous around the world. With the perfect storm of ideal conditions like current flow, cold water temperatures, and oxygen levels, trout thrive and return season after season to spawn here.
The fishing season begins from 1 October through to 31 May (closed throughout February). But some of the best fishing is in early Summer when there're plenty of cicadas for trout to feast on. If you're going to catch and release, your best chance is to fish on either side of peak summer when the waters are cooler for fish to the surface.
Because the lake is so shallow and with two boat access ramps, it makes it a premium spot to fish from a small pontoon boat, jigging or casting your fly in the most remote weed beds and banks. It's recommended to stay away from wading as the muddy holes and silt can sneak up on you.
At Lake Otamangakau, you can enjoy some of the best wild trout fishing in New Zealand and some of the best natural scenery the North Island has to offer.