Nymph fishing is the most common technique used to catch the spawning rainbows in the Lake Taupō tributaries. It is also very effective on some of the smaller lakes.



Basic tackle

Here is a check list of basic tackle you will need, and local tackle shops are great at getting you set up well to get you started. Be sure to visit them before you start fishing to get the latest advice.

Rod and line

If you had to choose one outfit to cover as many bases as possible for fly fishing the Taupō fishery, a 7 weight rod with a 7 weight forward floating line is going to be the best choice. With this, you will be able to exploit most fly fishing options open to you regardless of the season.

The ideal choice for fishing the Tongariro River would be an 8 weight rod and line, as it is a big turbulent river, and the heavier rod and line will handle these conditions well.


Waders are needed when fishing the Taupō region, particularly for the cooler months of the year. The preferred choice of locals is 5mm neoprene waders, although good breathable waders offer more versatility, being comfortable to wear in the hotter months.


When nymph fishing, most anglers will use an indicator to help identify when a fish has taken the fly. An indicator is usually made of wool or yarn which has been treated with silicon spray to make it waterproof. It is attached to the end of the fly line, or onto the leader itself, and floats on the surface until a fish or snag jerks it under, letting the angler know it is time to set the hook.


A key tip is to be sure you fish your nymphs right down near the bottom, and to do this the local trick is to fish several flies in tandem, with a big heavy fly tied on first. This fly ensures the nymphs sink down deep. This fly then has a short 30cm section of leader tied onto the bend of the hook, to which is attached a smaller, lighter fly, which will catch most of the fish. 

There are a huge variety of nymphs anglers can use to catch fish in Taupō's rivers, but a few favourites are all you need to get started. Some to make sure you have in your flybox are:

  • hare and copper
  • prince nymph
  • pheasant tail
  • white or green caddis
  • glo bug

If you have these lightly weighted patterns in sizes 12-16 you have the basics covered. For your heavy flies, use the same patterns in size 10, but heavily weighted with at least a 4mm tungsten bead.

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