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Taupo Area - Lake Fishing Tackle Guide

General information on the tackle required for fishing in the lakes in the Taupo area

Lake Taupo:

Most fishing on Lake Taupo itself is done from boats. Either trolling lures on lead lines or from down-riggers, or Harling, which is trolling fly lines. But during summer there is good fishing to be had around the lake edges.

Jigging with light tackle is also popular and effective. (Lures and flies may only carry a single hook, and treble and double hooks are banned.)

During summer schools of baitfish, smelt, come into very shallow water to feed and breed.

Trout will follow these schools into the shallows feeding voraciously. This is the time to wander along the lake's beaches, wearing Polaroid's spotting trout and fishing to them. Waders are not required as the angler should not enter the water.

Gear can be anything from a five weight up to nine weight, but lighter gear is best. Use a 4 metre leader (12 feet) to a smelt imitation fly, Grey Ghost, Silicone Smelt, Muddler Minnow, Green Orbit, in size 10.

If the trout are feeding very strongly, a cast in the general direction and a slow jerky retrieve is usually all that is required.

If trout are observed on a feeding pattern, wait for the fish to pass then cast out. When you see the fish returning start a twitching retrieve across it's path.

An under utilised form of fishing on Lake Taupo is fishing a nymph, especially over rocky or stony bottom areas. Just about any nymph can do, caddis, hare & copper, and any gold bead. Cast out and slowly twitch retrieve. Also try a very small, 10 or less, Booby fly fished on a floating line.

Klodhopper foan fly

During summer, especially when there is a strong offshore wind blowing from behind the angler, try terrestrials, hoppers, crickets, cicadas & Madam X. In fact trying a big foam fly with a size 14 gold bead nymph tied off the bend can work all year round.

Spin fishing is allowed on Lake Taupo, but not within 300 metres of river and stream mouths. Using spinning gear can be a great way to introduce children to trout fishing, and when the wind is just too strong for fly-fishing, spinning can fill the gap.


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Lake Otamagakau:

This is the home of very big brown and rainbow trout, up to 8 kilo (18 pounds) have been caught, and over 10 kilo (20lb) fish have been found during Department of Conservation trapping.

This area is more easily fished from a boat, but shore fishing can be successful.

 dragon fly

This lake features huge hatches of Damsel flies, and to a lesser extent Dragon flies. So damsel imitations fished on as long a leader as the angler can handle, 9 metres (20 feet) or more are used. Cast out over the weed beds and allow a long time for the fly to sink. then twitch back through the weed.

Blood worms are ubundant, and if a blood worm fly is twitched slowly back it will be confirmed as a well proven fish taker.

Quasimodo nymph

Small snail flies work well especially when fished below a dry fly, or above a weighted nymph. My favourite is the Quasimodo fly (nearby), size 14 or 16. Make sure the Quasimodo you buy has a bent shaft. A Quasimodo on a straight shank hook is not a Quasimodo!

Terrestrials (land-based insects that get blown onto lakes or rivers) work very well, especially during the big Cicada hatches (Jan - March). Often a small, size 12 or 14, nymph fished under the terrestrial will take fish.

If you are not too purist, Booby flies fished on a fast sinking shooting head in the channels cutting through the weedbeds are also very effective, as are large Glo-bugs.

Line-weight choice is governed by the weather. This lake is a further 500 feet above Lake Taupo and very exposed so wind can be a very real problem.

But despite their size lake Otamangakau fish are very shy. So scaling down gear size can produce better results.

For more information about fishing in and around weedbeds in lakes like Otamangakau see this.

No matter what gear size you use your reel must have at least 150 metres of backing.

Reminder: Important - Felt soled boots and waders
are banned in New Zealand

Viva wet fly


Article written by Tony Bishop


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