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Taupo fishing regulations

Are you interested in recreational fishing in Taupo? Before you head out to Lake Taupo, you will need to arm yourself with the Taupo fishing regulations. While fishing rules may vary in different parts of the country, Taupo has its own set of fishing regulations. Knowing what these are will help you enjoy your fishing expeditions and avoid penalties or prosecution.

Where can you fish in Taupo?

The Taupo fishery district includes:

  • Lake Taupo
  • Lake Moawhango
  • Lake Otamangakau
  • Lake Taupo catchment area
  • the stretch of Waikato River to Huka Falls

Lake Rotoaira is not included in the Taupo fishery district. Lake Rotoaira being a privately owned lake, you will need a separate access permit to engage in fishing.

Trout Fishing Lake Otamangakau Taupo Tongariro - Libby O'Brien
Fishing at Lake Otamangakau

Getting a fishing license in Taupo

You will need a fishing license to engage in fishing in the Taupo region. Your New Zealand Fish and Game license cannot be used in the Taupo fishery district. You will need to get your fishing license before the fishing season commences. According to Taupo fishing regulations, fishing licenses have validity from 1st July to 30th June each year. This means that when you buy the licence, you can do trout fishing in Taupo District for twelve months, starting 1st July till 30th June.

These licenses are issued only for the Lake Taupo district and not for Fish & Game areas.
The Lake Taupo district encompasses Lake Taupo as well as the tributaries that flow into Lake Taupo that includes:

  • Lake Kuratau
  • Waikato River all the way to Huka Falls
  • Otamangakau
  • Moawhango

Fishing license fees

The prices mentioned below for fishing licenses in the Taupo district are inclusive of GST:

  • 24-hour license - $20.00 for an adult and $4.50 for a child
  • Week's license - $42.00 for an adult and $65 for a non-resident
  • Whole-season license - $99.00 for an adult and $90.00 for a senior. Non-residents need to pay $129.00 for a whole season license.
  • Family with up to 4 children - $149.00 per adult and $12.50 per child

"Family" means one person and their partner or spouse and the dependents of the person who periodically or ordinarily live with these persons. These dependents can be children or grandchildren of the persons buying the license. Senior refers to individuals aged 65 years or more as of 1st July. A non-resident is an individual who is not a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand. A partner refers to a de facto or civil union partner.

If you want to do fishing at Lake Rotoaira, you can purchase the access permit from any one of these locations:

You can buy the fishing licence online or through an agent. Some of the agents who sell Taupo fishing licence include:

  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty - Matamata Sportsworld, Rotorua: Outdoorsman Headquarters, Te Kuiti: Dalziels 100%
  • Taupo/Central North Island - Taumarunui i-SITE, Fly & Gun Shop, Taupo Visitor Centre, Taumarunui: Seriously Outdoors, Ohakune: Ruapehu i-SITE, Turangi: Creel Tackle House and Sporting Life Turangi among others.

Apart from these factors, there are a number of Taupo fishing regulations you need to keep in mind when you intend to fish in the Taupo district.

Taupo fishing regulations related to size, bag limit, and sale of fish

Minimum size limit

The size limit of the fish is prescribed for different fishing locations in Taupo. The size is measured from the snout tip to the tail fork. For the Taupo Fishing District, the minimum size is 35 cm. However, there is no size limit for fishing at Lake Moawhango and Waipakihi River upstream of the Rangipo dam.

The minimum size of the fish at Lake Kuratau is 30 cm, while the size is 35 cm at Lake Rotoaira.

Daily bag limit

On any day you must stop fishing once you have kept the daily bag limit of trout: 

  • Lake Kuratau and Moawhango and the Waipaki River upstream of the Rangipo Dam: no daily bag limit.
  • Lake Otamangakau, two trout per day regardless of species.
  • All other waters in the Taupō Fishing District, six trout per day regardless of species.

Taupo fishing regulations also include guidelines on fishing methods. You can only use one rod to fish at any time, while you can use three lures or flies on your line. You also need to use single-point hooks while you cannot attach more than one hook to flies or lures. The maximum hook size allowed is one that has a 14-millimeter gap between its shank and point. For jigging, trolling, and spinning, you can only use artificial lures, while baits are not allowed.

Areas surrounding landmark posts that are marked in black, white, and yellow rings are designated for fly-fishing. This means that you cannot jig or troll within 200 meters of these landmark posts. It is important not to use any electronic devices to attract fish.

Most Taupo Fishing District rivers are meant for fly fishing only except for Tongariro upstream from Waikato Falls and the upstream sections of Kuratau River, Waipakihi River, and the Hinemaiaia River. You can attach split-shot or weight to the line at these fly-fishing waters to allow the fly to sink. You cannot attach a weight or use a float to facilitate casting. As per Taupo fishing regulations, you are required to use a fly reel, fly rod, leader, flye line, an artificial fly or lure of fur, woold, feather, or other artificial lure materials.

Your boat must have canoes and float tubes and should be securely anchored when fishing in fly-fishing waters from a boat.

Spin fishing is allowed in areas other than fly-fishing designated areas in Taupo. You can also do spin fishing in lakes Kuratau, Otamangakau, Te Whaiau, and the upstream section of the Hinemaiaia River.

Sale of fish

Taupo fishing regulations clearly specify that selling or purchasing trout in Taupo is illegal. Only the Ngāti Tūwharetoa tribe members can take Koura and fish species that are natives of Lake Taupo.

Ensure you follow all of the Taupo fishing regulations, as not doing so can attract penalties. You can get a warning letter or may be asked to pay a fine on infringement offences that can range from $200 to $800.

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