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Taupo Fishery Area Regulations

Regulation changes for the 2017 - 2018 year in the Taupo region

The Taupo fishery is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and it is DOC who set the regulations that apply there.

For the season beginning July 1 2017 there have been many significant changes to the regulations which anglers must be aware of. Read a summary of the changes>>>


A summary of the regulations is provided below. The summary is for quick reference and is not meant to be taken as a complete statement of the law.

For more details:

Location of the Taupo fishery

The Taupo Fishery includes Lake Taupo and its catchment, the Waikato River down to Huka Falls, lakes Moawhango, Kuratau, Otamangakau and Rotoaira.

Note: Lake Rotoaira requires a separate licence as well as the Taupo licence.

Taupo licence

A special licence is required to fish in the Taupo region. A Fish & Game licence is not valid in the Taupo fishery area. Someone else can buy the licence for you but:
- It must be made out in your name
- You must sign it before use
- You must carry it with you when fishing

Purchase a Taupo licence now.

Felt soles prohibited

Felt soled waders or wading boots may not be used for fishing. Any sole of felted matted or woven fibrous material is prohibited.

Boat ramp permit

A current Lake Taupo boat ramp permit is required before using public launching ramps on the lake, but is not needed for lauching small craft from the beach. The permits are available for a day, a week or a year from fishing licence sellers. Regular checks are carried out at public boat ramps.

Minimum size for trout

With two exceptions (see Lake Kuratau and Waikato River) the minimum size for keeping trout on Lake Taupo is 35cm measured from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail. If a trout is less than the legal minimum length, you must release it immediately back into the water it came from, whether it is alive or dead.

Bag limit

In most waters, the daily bag limit is six trout. There are just a couple of places where there is no limit. Please refer to the alphabetic list of rivers and lakes that summarises the regulations for specific fishing waters. You must stop fishing once you have kept the daily bag limit

Taupo boat harbour wharf and jetty fishing

Fishing from the Taupo boat harbour wharf or Taupo boat harbour jetties is prohibited. However, this prohibiiton does not apply to other similar structures in the vicinity of Taupo township.

When you must stop fishing

Fishing is permitted between 5am and midnight during the open season. You must stop fishing at 12 midnight and cannot begin fishing until 5am. And you must stop fishing when you have kept the daily bag limit, even if you don't intend to keep any more fish.

Fishing methods

Number of rods and reels

You may:

  • Use only one rod and one reel at any time
  • Have other assembled rods with you.


You may flyfish in all waters of the Taupo region during the open season.

Flyfishing means fishing for sports fish with a fly rod and fly reel, fly line and either:

  • an artificial fly
    which includes any lure of feather, fur, wool, or other material used in the making of artificial flies. It does not include fly-spoons.
  • a natural fly
    which includes spiders and insects but excludes creeper and huhu grubs

Flies and lures

You may use artificial and natural flies in all Taupo waters.

You may use artificial lures in all waters except flyfishing only waters.  An artificial lure means any artificial lure which has a hook attached or incorporated, other than an artificial fly. Artificial lures include spoons, jigs, casting and trolling lures, and fly-spoons, but do not include jigs that have no hook attached.

You may use up to three flies or lures.

  • Each lure must have just one single-pointed or single-barbed hook.
  • Hooks must not have more than 14mm between the point and the shank.
  • Treble hooks are not permitted.
  • There is no weight restriction for artificial flies or lures.

Fly fishing only waters

In waters reserved for fly fishing only:

  • Only fly fishing gear can be used.
  • You may add lead weights (such as split shot) to your line to help its sinking.
  • You may use a strike indicator.
  • You may not use a spining rod or reel.
  • You must not attach weight to facilitate casting.
  • You must not use bubbles or floats to facilitate casting or to increase the buoyancy of the line.

Strike indicators

When you use a stike indicator, you can add only a dye or line floatant.

A strike indicator is any synthetic or natural yarn and its means of attachment to the line or cast used by the person fishing as an aid to detecting a strike. It does not include any other material or any other object attached to the line or cast, or any synthetic or natural yarn to which has been added any material or chemical (other than a colour dye or surfactant line flotant preparation).


Spinning is permitted from Lake Taupo's lakeshore provided you are 300 metres from any marked stream mouth or the Kuratau spit. It is also permitted in other lakes. Spinning is not permitted in many of the streams and rivers flowing into Lake Taupo. Please refer to the alphabetic list of rivers and lakes that summarises the regulations for specific fishing waters.

Bait fishing

Fishing with any form of bait except natural flies is prohibited. Fishing with koura, worms, creepers, huhu and fish roe are all prohibited.

Boat fishing

Fishing from a boat is permitted in many areas, but not within 300 metres of stream mouths marked with a white- and yellow-ringed post. Flyfishing from a securely anchored boat is permitted at some stream mouths; to see which ones, please refer to the alphabetic list of rivers and lakes that summarises the regulations for specific fishing waters.

A boat includes:

  • A ship, launch or other vessel
  • Any canoe, punt or raft
  • Any aircraft or hovercraft on the surface of the water
  • Float tubes and similar devices

Wire and lead lines

Wire and lead lines can be used anywhere in Lake Taupo where trolling is permitted. Similarly, downriggers or paravanes can be used where trolling is permitted.

Foul hooking

You must not foulhook or attempt to foulhook any trout.


You may not use:

  • a gaff
  • a spear or similar implement, or speargun
  • lures with more than one hook
  • a net, trap, wire netting or similar device (but you may use a landing net to land a trout caught by lawful means)
  • any fish-attracting electronic device
  • berley or groundbait
  • scent lures or light sticks



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