Taupo fly fishing guide and client with Tongariro steelheadWinter fly fishing in Taupo is predominantly steelhead/rainbow trout.

During the winter/spring runs when the runs are at there peak these fish are particularly susceptible to a fly know hear as a glow bug - per haps know by other names in other parts of the world.  This fly is basically an egg pattern as is normally fished as a dropper behind a heavier weighted nymph known as a bomb.

The steelheads originated from California's Russian river and were introduced to New Zealand around 100 years ago.  In the Taupo system and most of the country in fact these fish are completely wild.  In fact there are just a handful of lakes and dams that are stocked from fingerlings raised in a hatchery.

Tongariro fishing guides with clientsWhen the weather cools, the hormones and instincts of these fish change from being focused on feeding to being focused on breeding  and they find there way back to the confluence of the river they originally came from (normally) where they will generally accumulate during the fine days and then run the gauntlet of fishermen when the barometer drops (although the fishing tends to be best a day or two after rain).

Fishing for these fish averaging around 4lbs is both challenging and immensely rewarding.  These are powerful big trout and can take some time to land.  We would normally use 7 or 8 weight gear, and while casting the longer leaders and heavier flies requires some getting used to, during winter this is the best place to be fly fishing in New Zealand to get beginners into there first trout.  For experienced fishermen on the river you would generally expect to hook between 5 to 20 trout in a day averaging 4lbs.

There are also numerous browns in the river that are generally bigger and probably average around 6lbs.  The browns while constituting 15% of the biomass, account for only 2% of the catch.

Whilst averaging 4lbs there are plenty of trout up to around 6lbs and of course there are even bigger including the old 10lb + trophy.  Being bigger on average, there are plenty of monster browns well in excess of 10lbs which do relatively regularly get landed during the season - more so when the river is colored due to rain.