Tauranga Taupo River – Taupo Region

On The Fly NZ Rating:


The Tauranga-Taupo River is a 27 km long river flowing from its sources within the Kaimanawa Ranges to Lake Taupo 12 km northeast of Turangi. The river would be considered of medium size by most and is the second largest tributary to Lake Taupo.

The river holds good numbers of brown and rainbow trout all year round with particularly large numbers of rainbow trout during the winter months making it an extremely popular river for Taupo and Turangi based anglers. The average size for these rainbows during winter is around the 3-5lb mark.

It also boasts a good run of large brown trout, these browns usually begin their migration in the summer months around December and January and are found in large numbers up until about April. Some of these brown trout stay in the river as residents while the majority return to the lake to feed and recover from the spawning season.

Public Access Points

Access to the lower sections of the river and mouth can be found on Heuheu Parade, off the left of SH1 before the Tauranga-Taupo bridge.

The most popular access to the Tauranga-Taupo middle to upper fishing pools is from a car park off SH1 approximately 10km north of Turangi township. Once at this car park it is about a five minute walk until you get to the river. It is recommended however to continue walking and explore the water further up which often provides the best fishing. Directions to this car park turn off can be found on the map below. Take care when turning in and out at this busy turn off. Once the turn off is reached continue down until you reach the signed car park area.

Fly Fishing Methods

The Tauranga Taupo River is a river for anglers who enjoy most methods of fly fishing. It is recommended to use gear in the 3-7 weight range depending on method. The river can often run low and clear so it is often important to consider this when choosing tippet size and material.

Dry Fly

The Tauranga Taupo is well suited to dry fly and dry/dropper methods and fish are often sipping off the surface or chasing emergers below. Early summer lends itself to smaller dry flies. As the season progresses and cicadas begin to hatch, larger terrestrials also do very well.

Popular daytime dry flies include Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Blue Humpy and Cicadas.

Some nights in the summer months come with an evening rise, caddisflies are a great start at this time of night.

Indicator Nymphing

Indicator nymphing the Tauranga Taupo can produce all year round, especially in the winter months. If you do choose to use an indicator make sure it is as small as possible in a less intrusive colour such as white, this is particularly helpful to your chances in summer conditions. A two fly set-up is a good way to fish this water.

Flies worth trying are Hare n Coppers, Pheasant Tails and Caddis Nymphs. Glo bugs and other egg patterns are worth trying in winter.

Euro Nymphing

While not particularly known for its euro nymphing like some other rivers in the Taupo region, it can also be a productive method in the right pools and runs. The “TT” holds a number of runs particularly suited to this method whereas some of the slower pools suit other methods. Consider bringing a second setup so you can fish the water accordingly

Wet Fly

Wet Fly fishing can also be productive in some pools on the Tauranga Taupo River. Streamer flies such as Wooly Buggers, Red Setters and Black Rabbits can fish well. Using wee wets such as a march brown can also catch summer fish chasing emergers. It may also allow ‘purists’ to catch a fish when there is no hatch. 

DOC Regulations

The Taupo Region regulations can be found here from DOC.