Tongariro Fishing Gear

Planning Your Trip

For a successful and enjoyable trout fishing experience your Tongariro fishing gear & methods and fishing location should be chosen based on a combination of factors. Consider your angling ability, the method of fishing you have chosen, the time of year, weather conditions,  and the nature of experience you are seeking. Other sections of this site have information about online resources for locations & accessfly fishing reports or consider hiring a fly fishing guide.

Taupo Fishery Map

Taupo Fishery Map

If possible it is best to give yourself 4-5 days to fish the region as this allows you the opportunity to adjust to local conditions for greatest success, and to sample the diverse range of angling experiences on offer. For the walking angler there is fine fishing right in town, while a car or boat opens up many further opportunities within a one-hour drive from Riverstone Lodge & Backpackers.

Tongariro Fishing Gear & Methods

The standard method in winter is to use a 8-9 weight rod and fly line to fish a wet fly on a sinking line downstream, or cast one (usually heavily weighted) nymph and one unweighted, upstream with a floating line and 8-12ft leader. For the more experienced angler a 6-weight would be fine in most conditions.

During summer when the flow of the rivers are lower and insect life more prolific anglers using a 6-weight set-up will experience good caddis nymph, mayfly, cicada and green beetle dry fly fishing. From October 1st each year the ‘back country’ rivers open for angling, offering sensational fishing in beautiful surroundings.

In the winter either neoprene (thermal) or breathable waders are suitable, with the breathable version recommended for any longer walks. The breathable waders are also useful in summer though often the more practical option – particularly on ‘back country’ rivers where the terrain can lay waste to expensive waders – is a pair of short trousers over polypropylene (thermal) leggings, with a neoprene stocking boot and the usual wading boots. Wading boots with cleats are strongly recommended, although as you seldom walk far in neoprene waders, no cleats are often fine.

Fishing Tips: The Last 20ft

Apart from choosing the right location and ‘reading’ the water – which are predominantly gained from experience – the next most important factor in your success may be what happens with the last 10-20ft of your line & leader – the tip of the fly line, the nylon or fluorocarbon leader, the indicator (if any) and the fly (or flies). Here are some general guidelines of whats often worked for us:

  • Only a very small percentage of the water will hold fish, concentrate on the areas where there is food, shelter and oxygen for the least effort
  • Keep your fly selection small, a variety of weights and sizes is more important
  • Indictors must firstly float, secondly be visible and thirdly be a small and low visibility as possible
  • When nymphing use two flies, one weighted natural and one smaller fly 12-18 inches apart
  • Keep your flies on the bottom, if you are not catching add more weight
  • Use a leader of 8-12ft, don’t be afraid to keep your leader short for better line control if high water (faster flows) and windy weather conditions would make this more practical
  • Glo bugs are your go-to fly, but especially in clear water conditions use small natural flies
  • Big fluffy indicators at the end of your fly line are often the norm, especially in clear water conditions consider using smaller ‘sliding’ indicators part way down your leader
  • Use either a dry fly and a lightly weighted nymph 2-6ft behind that or two nymphs 12-18 inches apart, the top one weighted and the other unweighted with a ‘sliding’ indictor
  • Use a leader of 12-18ft, though don’t be afraid to keep your leader short for better line control if high water (faster flows) and windy weather conditions would make this more practical
  • If fishing in rivers with abrasive volcanic rock – in particular the pumice rock of some back country rivers – fluorocarbon on the tip of your leader will be more abrasion resistant than nylon

Essential Fishing Gear

  • Fly rod & reel (see above)
  • Waders (optional – see above)
  • Thermal gloves (winter)
  • Backpack or fishing vest
  • Pliers (removing hooks)
  • Dry fly floatant (summer)
  • Lead split shot (winter)
  • Scissors
  • Indicator material
  • Nylon & fluorocarbon
  • Trout flies (see above)
  • Quality sunglasses (spotting fish)
  • Hat (sun shade for spotting fish)
  • Fish net (optional)

Spin Fishing

Restrictions: All year but many areas are fly-fishing only – please refer to the regulations on the back of your fishing license

Spin fishing may be the best option for the inexperienced angler as it is much faster to learn to cast a reasonable distance than with a fly rod. Most spin fisher’s use a weighted lure cast from the shore which are retrieved after the lure has sunk to the desired depth. A black toby, fly and lead split shot or especially small Rapala lures are recommended. Lake Otamangakau is a scenic option with fish which average 5-6lb but with over 10lb possible.

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