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Tauranga-Taupo River Trout Fishing

The Tauranga-Taupo is a very popular river, especially in the middle reaches but providing excellent fishing throughout its length, particularly during the winter spawning runs.

Lake Otamangakau  map

Lake Otamangakau topographic map

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Tauranga-Taupo photos

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Fish type Both brown and rainbow trout are present.
Situation The Tauranga-Taupo is a medium-sized river that flows swiftly over a gravel and rocky bed and feeds into the eastern side of Lake Taupo. It rises in Kaimanawa Forest Park, and flows north-west through native bush, exotic forest and them pastoral land before entering the lake.

Access map
Access map with topography

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

Check conditions

River level

View a graph of the current river level at the Environment Waikato website.

Recent rainfall

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

Weather forecast

View the MetService weather forecast for Taupo.

At the mouth


The Tauranga-Taupo mouth is very deep and can be dangerous for wading. There is good fishing off the spit especially at night. From an anchored boat or dinghy, you can cast over the deep lip with a fast sinking line. This area fishes well throughout the year but is especially productive in late autumn through winter as fish congregate near the mouth preparing to run upstream to spawn. Due to the depth of the water day time fishing is productive, and night fishing is less affected by moonlit conditions as the trout tend to lie very deep.


Take extreme care when wading this area and if you intend to fish in the dark, take the time during daylight to check it out.


Access is from Heuheu Parade (Te Rangiita) just south of the main road bridge. See the local access map.

Lower reaches


The lower reaches (from the SH1 bridge to the mouth) are prone to flooding and to changing course, but often keep fishing well when other waters are not fishable. After strong westerly winds, fish tend to move into the river and often lie in the pool just beyond the mouth. Another popular spot is the pool just below the main road bridge especially after heavy rain and as the river starts to clear.


Car parking areas, from where you can walk downstream, are available:

  • At Heuheu Parade, Te Rangiita just south of the main road bridge
  • Off SH1 between Orutua Avenue and Kiko Road.

See the local access map.

Middle reaches


This section of the river, which is above the SH1 bridge and up to the Cliff Pool, is the most popular and easy to fish. Wading is safe, the banks are mosly clear for casting and it's usually easy to cross (though the many underwater obstructions can snag sunk flies). The best months are between the end of March and the end of September after rain and as the river begins to clear. Most fish hide or lie deep in pools, though some may be spotted and fished to. Both nymph and lure (wetfly) fishing are productive. The Tauranga-Taupo has a large watershed and is much more prone to flooding than other rivers which are spring fed or have the regulatory effects of hydo dams. Consequently, the course of the river can change dramatically after heavy rain.


Car parking areas, from where you can walk upstream, are available:

  • At Heuheu Parade, Te Rangiita just south of the main road bridge
  • Off SH1 between Orutua Avenue and Kiko Road.

See the local access map.

Upper reaches


The upper reaches above the Cliff Pool and above the upper winter fishing limits are more rugged and challenging to fish though this is compensated by the beauty of the area. Anglers are likely to have large stretches of the river to themselves as well. While this area provides excellent winter fishing, it also fishes well throughout the year as it has a good resident fish population. There is sight-fishing when the river is clear (which is does very quickly after even heavy rain). As this section requires more effort to get to, the fishing pressure is not as heavy as in the more accesible sections. Fish numbers are high and anglers prepared to walk into this section can do very well.


See the local access map.



Fish can be caught right up the falls in the headwaters, with both resident trout and those recovering from spawning. Those fish that are in recovery mode respond well to both nymphs and wet flies as they try and put on condition again before returning to the lake, and since they are usually lacking in condition, they don't fight as vigorously as fresh run fish.


Access to the headwaters is from Kiko Road: turn off SH1 south of the main road bridge over the Tauranga-Taupo River. From the locked gate on Kiko Road you need to walk or mountain bike. See the local access map.

Fish numbers and size As the Tauranga-Taupo is the second largest tributary of Lake Taupo, it has very impressive spawing runs of large fish during the winter months. Due to its more challenging access there is also considerably less angler pressure on the water and so fish stocks are high.

For nymph fishing:

A 5 to 7 weight rod.
A floating line.
A weighted nymph with lighter nymphs tied below.
Leader 4-4.5 metres in length and 2.5-4 kg strength.
An indicator (to detect strikes)

For wetfly fishing:

A 6 or 7 weight rod.
A medium to fast sinking line.
A short tippet of 2-2.5 metres.


Recommended lures

Nymphs: Weighted Globugs, Bug Eyes and Hare and CopperHalfbacks and Pheasant Tail in size 10 to 14.

Dry flies: Daddy Long Legs and Coch-y-Bondu. Cicada patterns and Green Beetle in summer.

Wet flies/streamers:
Night time: Black Phantom, Craig's Night Time, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Scotch Poacher

Day time: Use flies such as Woolly Bugger, Red Setter, and Hamill's Killer or lighter coloured  flies such as Dollflly, Grey Ghost, Taupo Tigers, and Rabbit patterns down to size 6.

Tributaries Tributaries of the Tauranga-Taupo River include the Mangakowhitiwhiti Stream and the Okupata..
Regulations (1):
Applicable to Tauranga-Taupo River between it source and its junction with the Mangakowhitiwhiti Stream, including tributaries (commonly called the Rangers' Pool)
Region Taupo fishery area regulations
Season 1 Dec-31 May
Methods Fly fishing only
Anchored boat only
Bag limit 6
Size limit (cm) 35 cm minimum
Regulations (2):
Applicable to Tauranga-Taupo River lower reaches
Region Taupo fishery area regulations
Season All year
Methods Fly fishing only
Anchored boat only
Bag limit 3
Size limit (cm) 40cm minimum
Regulations (3):
Applicable to Tributaries of the Tauranga-Taupo River
Region Taupo fishery area regulations
Season Closed
Methods None
Bag limit 0
Size limit (cm) Not applicable


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