Examples of large terrestrial patterns for dry-fly
Image: James Barnett | DOC


Dry fly fishing in summer is an increasingly popular way of fishing for trout in the rivers and lakes of Taupō.

The rivers of the Taupō region have traditionally been targeted by anglers over winter. However, a growing number are appreciating the excellent dry-fly fishing on offer during the summer months.

Around Christmas large brown trout will start to appear in rivers such as the Tongariro and Waitahanui. These fish soon develop a taste for terrestrial food, especially large protein packed cicadas.

Rather than return to the lake after spawning, a number of rainbow trout will remain in the river to take advantage of the rich insect life. By mid-summer many of these recovering rainbows can be in good condition and present a worthy target for the angler.

Basic tackle

It’s easy to get set up for dry-fly fishing as all you need is some basic gear. Local tackle shops will be very happy to give you all the advice you need and get you set up and ready to go.

If you are already familiar with winter nymph fishing, you may be surprised how simple it is to make the transition to dry-fly. On larger rivers you may even be able to use a 6 or 7 weight rod. The following is an ideal package to get you started:

Rod and line

The ideal choice for dry-fly fishing would be a 5-weight rod combined with a weight forward floating line. The weight forward line will offer the flexibility to handle windy conditions well.


Waders are not really needed when fishing the Taupō region in summer, unless you intend fishing the lakes at night. Most river temperatures allow for pleasant wet wading.


Most flies which work for trout around the world will work well here. Although patterns size 10-16 which have a bushy, 'buggy' profile are a good place to start. Parachute caddis and mayfly patterns work well on the fussier fish.

Local favourites include cicadas (large terrestrial patterns), stimulators, Royal Wulff and Adams, all of which you can find at local tackle shops. It's also recommended that you make room in your fly box for vinehopper imitations for use towards the end of summer.

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