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Lake Otamangakau Trout Fishing

Lake Otamangakau provides challenging wilderness fishing and solitude, close to but quite different from Lake Taupo. It is managed as a trophy fishery with rainbow trout commonly exceeding 4.5kg.

Lake Otamangakau  map

Lake Otamangakau topographic map

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Fish type

Mostly rainbow (some to trophy sizes) but also many large brown trout.


Lake Otamangakau provides wilderness fishing on a lake to the south-west of Lake Taupo. It is set is high in moorland with Mount Tongariro in the background. It has a barren beauty and sense of isolation. The weather can be bleak and cold, or shimmeringly hot. Being very exposed, wind can be a problem at times. This lake was chosen as one of the venues for the 28th Worlds Fly Fishing Championship in 2008.

The lake is reached by following State Highway 47 from Turangi and has two boat ramps.


Access map
Access map with topography

LINZ topographic maps: 1:50,000 (260 series)

Check conditions

Lake level

View a graph of the current lake level at the Genesis Energy website.


View a graph of recent rainfall at Turangi at the Genesis Energy website.

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for:

- Tongariro National Park

- Taupo


Lake Otamangakau, created as a result of the Tongariro hydro power scheme, is a fine fishing water which can be very frustrating or hugely rewarding. The lake is know to locals as the Big O.

The fish in Lake Otamangakau are dependant on insects for food, and the best fishing coincides with increased insect activity over summer. In some years, large numbers of cicadas are blown onto the lakes in late January and early February stimulating some great dry fly fishing. As the lake is quite shallow, it is best fished during overcast conditions. Most fish are caught casting between the weedbeds.

Most angling involves fly fishing from a boat using a floating line and small nymphs, or stalking and casting to cruising brown trout around the lake edge. This lake is sometimes fished using a float tube as this allows a stealthy approach to the feeding fish. Whatever method used. don't expect the fishing to be easy however; most trophy fish are hard earned.

Fish numbers and size

Lake Otamangakau is managed as a trophy fishery with fit and strong rainbow trout commonly exceeding 4kg in weight. Large brown trout can also be caught.

Before the 2009 season DOC reported that there had been 3775 rainbow trout and 1165 brown trout through the Te Whaiau trap which was a little down on the 2008 record rainbow run but still about 6 times as high as the mid-90’s. The rainbows averaged 1.9kg and browns 2kg so fish sizes are seen to be smaller than in the past years.

Access Get to the lake by following State Highway 47 south from Turangi (approximately 15 minutes drive). See the Lake Otamangakau access map.
A 6 or 7 weight rod
A weight-forward or double taper floating line
A 6 metre leader with a 2.5 kg tippet
A spinning rod with 6lb line
Either a bubble float and suspended fly or dark bladed spinners.
Recommended lures

Dry fly: Cicada patterns, a Muddler Minnow fished dry

Nymph: A dark green or olive nymph such as a Stone Fly or Hares Ear that is almost black when wet.

Spinners: Bladed spinners such as Mepps or Veltic in dark colours.


Tributaries include the Te Whaiau Canal and the Wairehu Canal

Applicable to Lake Otamangakau
Region Taupo fishery area regulations
Season 1 Oct-31 May
Methods Fly, spinner.
Boat fishing is permitted
Bag limit 6
Size limit (cm) 35cm minimum


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