Fly Fishing Information for the Lake Taupo Region


The Lake Taupo region is a little bit different from the rest of the country as fishing regulations are administered by DOC instead of Fish & Game NZ. Make sure you have a valid fishing licence and know the rules and regulations for the Lake Taupo district before fishing here. If you book on one of Chris Jolly Outdoors’ guided fly fishing packages, we will take care of obtaining the fishing licence for you and make sure that we abide all fishing regulations for the district.

Fly Fishing Seasons

November – February
November and December offers some great spring and early summer fishing. January to February are the warmest summer months with good dry fly fishing, with options galore around the region. Most of the fly fishers’ attention turns to the Wilderness Rivers and the superb dry fly fishing on offer. Clad in chest waders, you can nymph or wet fly fish till your heart’s content, and when your arm tires you can stand and enjoy the amazing scenery that surrounds you.

March & April
Dry fly begins to slow down especially towards April but catches will still occur if the afternoon conditions are right. Mostly you will get some great nymph fishing. Fish are in peak condition and some of the biggest fish of the season can be caught in the local rivers surrounding Lake Taupo.

The month of May is Autumn fishing at its best. Migratory runs start on the Lake Taupo tributaries. There are some very big trout caught as the temperatures drop but generally you will get very pleasant days.

June – October
Every winter prime rainbows averaging five pounds and often twice that size make their way up the rivers from where they came. This is the time when the trout are migrating for spawning. Spawning runs of large browns usually start at the end of March with rainbows following until the end of September. Fishing techniques require a heavier nymph or sinking line but you can expect some trout in excellent condition.

Closed Season
The Lake and some of the main rivers up to certain distances are open all year round. However there is a closed season for the upper reaches of the main tributaries of Lake Taupo from 1st June to 30th October. The Wilderness Rivers are closed for spawning from 1st July to 30th September.


Fishing Licence

Whether you are trout fishing in one of our rivers or lakes, from a boat or from the shore, you need to have a valid fishing licence with you at all times. The Great Lake Taupo fishing region covers Lake Taupo and the tributary rivers and lakes flowing into it.

If you book on one of Chris Jolly Outdoors’ guided fly fishing packages, we will take care of obtaining the fishing licence for you. If you want to pre-purchase one yourself, there are several adult and child fishing licence options valid for different lengths of time.

Fishing licence can be purchased from the Taupo and Turangi Visitor Information Centres, local licence agents or online from the Department of Conservation website.


Other Fishing Methods

Lake Fishing
The Lake provides the fly fishermen with plenty of opportunity. From December onwards, the smelt come into the shallows of the lake to spawn, and are followed by the trout which gorge themselves on this once a year delicacy. Casting to the swirl of the feeding trout, and having the reel scream, will provide you with an adrenalin rush that you’ll never forget.

River Mouths
For more sedate action, try your luck at the browns and rainbows as they line up at the river mouths, feeding and waiting for the spawning time to arrive. Night time is the most productive time for this type of fishing.

Over the years the stream mouths of the Western Bays have developed a reputation for providing some great action for the fly fishers. Access is by boat or helicopter. Often we use the boat as a floating motel to enable the anglers to keep close to the action.

Spin Fishing
Spin fishing is fishing with any artificial lure other than an artificial fly. The lure or spinner is usually designed to represent a small fish. Spinning has an important part to play in many fisheries around the country. Spinners are the most popular lure when trolling on lakes or on rivers.

The equipment used is different as the spinning lures are heavier than an artificial fly and are cast with a threadline rod and reel. Some anglers employ a combination of spin fishing and fly by using a bubble float where a fly is tied below the float and allowed to drift downstream.

When spin fishing or spinning, the lure the angler casts carries the weight which pulls the line out from the reel. Because it does not require a back cast, spinning is much better suited to fishing in very confined spaces where vegetation closes in on the banks of the river. It is also much less subject to the wind and is generally an easier technique to use and so often favoured by younger anglers.

Spin Fishing Regulations
There are many waters around New Zealand where spinning is not permitted. Several major rivers are designated fly fishing only and there is often a restriction on spin fishing where a river enters a major lake. In many regions only a single hook is legal so be careful to check the relevant regulations before using.

In the Taupo region spin fishing is not allowed in the rivers or within 300 meters of river mouths but is allowed along the lake edge. Spin fishing can be done in the Waikato River from the control gate bridge to Huka Falls and further downstream, including stream mouths entering the Waikato River.

The only exception in the Taupo region where you are allowed to spin fish is in the Tokaanu canal. Spin fishing is also permitted in lakes Te Whaiau, Otamangakau, Kuratau and in the Hinemaiaia River upstream of the lower dam. The closest backcountry river to spin fish is the Mohaka.


Contact Us

My wife and I just got into fishing and was wanting to learn more about the art of fly fishing. Our guide was very patient with us and made our learning easy, fun and enjoyable. We had a great time on the river and even caught a trout each!

Mark Goldberg

Being keen anglers from America, we wanted a guide who could take us to the best fishing spots and hidden gems that only a local guide could provide. We had an outstanding experience with Chris Jolly Outdoors on the Tongariro River. Highly recommend, especially if you don't know the area well.

Bert Newman

We flew in by chopper to the backcountry rivers to try our hands at trophy size Browns and Rainbows. These Aussies were definitely not disappointed! We would highly recommend Chris Jolly Outdoors for their professional and outstanding guiding experience.

Stacy Tapp